In 2012, superstorm Sandy left a trail of destruction in New York and New Jersey. On Long Island (NY) alone, it led to 14 casualties and over 95.000 buildings destroyed or damaged. In response, President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiated Rebuild by Design.
Rebuild by Design was a design competition in three phases, for innovative and workable proposals to promote resilience in areas affected by Sandy, and to protect these areas from future floods. Out of 148 entries, one of the six winning teams was the Dutch-American consortium that included BoschSlabbers, H+N+S and Palmbout.
‘Living with the Bay’ aims for safe, clean and natural bays with good living environments along the Long Island coast. Here, waves are broken by natural means, and where necessary they are kept at bay by dikes and local storm barriers. The proposed coastal management, which utilises existing water and sediment flows, is more sustainable, and in the end less expensive. The region’s largely neglected rivers and streams gain importance in the future, for example for the purpose of water retention. Contact between land and water – the estuary’s main asset – is restored to its former glory.
– Designer/Partner Stijn Koole, BoschSlabbers
Long Island’s south coast is an elongated bay that does little to protect coastal residents from storms and rising waters. Leaving the bay as it is, is not an option. However, nor should it be completely shut off from the ocean. A middle way is best: a “buffered” bay to offer residents the most safety. The buffer is created with a string of mutually reinforcing interventions: dike rings as barriers, improved sediment management, restoration and expansion of marshlands and a comprehensive strategy for the creek system running from the hinterland into the bay.
Retain, store and drain. This Dutch approach is well applicable to the many creeks of Long Island. Mill River will serve as a pilot project. Here, a lock will block floods and waves. Derelict plots will serve as accessible riparian parks and increase space for the river. Streets on either side of the river store excess rainwater in wadis. The many fish ladders in the creek enhance ecological recovery in the area. Together, these measures increase resilience and adaptability and contribute to a region that is attractive and safe to live and recreate in.
– Designer Ian Officer, BoschSlabbers
Over 100 parties were involved in drawing up this plan, forming a coalition of academic institutes, NGOs, non-profits, resident groups, local and regional authorities and private companies. It included, among others, over 50 New York City restaurants, who will recycle their oyster shells to create natural reefs as part of our Living Breakwaters Project.
Title: Living with the Bay
Location: Southern Nassau County, Long Island, NY, USA
Size: ca. 25.000 ha
Client: Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force & U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Cooperation: Interboro Partners, Deltares, H+N+S Landschapsarchitecten, IMG Rebel, Palmbout Urban Landscapes, Apex, New Jersey Institute of Technology Infrastructure Planning Program, TU Delft, Project Projects, RFA Investments, Center for Urban Pedagogy, David Rusk
Type: water safety, regional planning
Prize/publication: shared winner Hurricane Sandy Design Competition
Image credits: BoschSlabbers
Project code: HB 14-05