Henk Ovink with John Gendall, Samuel Carter, Scott Davis
Design and Politics Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities
Henk Ovink with John Gendall, Samuel Carter, Scott Davis
Design and Politics Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities
Design and Politics: Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities Contemporary spatial design faces a political paradox. To address emerging environmental challenges and the risk of climate-related disasters, it must transcend political boundaries to operate regionally, at the scale of “landscape urbanism.” But the regional scale does not exist as a formal governance structure and when regional authorities do exist, they are not politically sanctioned to make broad decisions about policies, projects, and investments. Meanwhile, the formal governance structures that have authority to act often lack the capacity to implement comprehensive approaches that enhance resilience over time, or the strategic partnerships to collaborate on the necessary scale. With this in mind, designers must engage both space and politics, proposing environmental strategies at the scale of the region connected with a series of localized interventions, while exploiting the tension between the two, constructing political coalitions that have the authority to see those interventions through. Thus in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region after the 2012 storm, states, counties, and municipalities grappled with the reality of sea-level rise and climate risk. The Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force sought an innovative approach and in June 2013 launched the Rebuild by Design competition, a collaborative process for driving resilience across the region. The Design and Politics studio, like Rebuild by Design, aimed to find ways of directing disaster-relief spending across political boundaries and identified layers of risks and vulnerabilities by designing spatial and political systems with significant regional impact.
Studio Instructors Henk Ovink with John Gendall, Samuel Carter, Scott Davis Teaching Assistant Anya Domlesky Students Chris Donohue, Daniel Feldman, Natalia Gaerlan, Amanda Huang, Trevor Johnson, Christine Min, Adam Novack, Tianhang Ren, Alison Tramba, Janice Tung, Grace Xu, Jean You Final Review Critics Philippa Brashear, Dan D’Oca, Rosetta Elkin, Brie Hensold, Jerold Kayden, Helen Lochhead, Chris Reed, Joyce Klein Rosenthal, Daniel Schrag, Jeremy Alain Siegel, Jamie Torres Springer, Gena Wirth, Ann Yoachim
The Question of Scale John Gendall
Design Operations Insuring Resilient Urbanism: Adapting the National Flood Insurance Program to Meet Long-Term Needs in Urban Environments Trevor Johnson, Alison Tramba
infra[INITIATIVES] Amanda Huang, Christine Min, Grace Xu
Green Infrastructure for Repetitive Floods in Jersey City Tianhang Ren
Agency of Research Economy Natalia Gaerlan, Amanda Huang, Jean You, Grace Xu Environment Chris Donohue, Daniel Feldman, Adam Novack
Infrastructure Natalia Gaerlan, Amanda Huang, Christine Min, Tianhang Ren, Grace Xu
Habitat as an Insurance to Drinking Water Adam Novack
After Sandy: Settling with the Sea Chris Donohue
PARKTECTION Daniel Feldman
Hybrid Utilities Janice Tung
Green Infrastructure Design Guidelines: City of Long Beach Natalia Gaerlan
Governance Daniel Feldman, Alison Tramba, Tianhang Ren Social Trevor Johnson, Janice Tung, Jean You
One Staten Island: [Fixed + Flexible] Response System Jean You
but intended for a multitude of stakeholders— government, businesses, NGOs, philanthropy, investors, scientists, professionals, and communities—through a process where ownership and complexity could increase every day. Rebuild by Design in that sense was more like a family undertaking than a typical project, with a family that stuck together, recognizing the differences, the complex relations, and the competing interests, but with a collective goal and mutual understanding. There is no other way to drive innovation and resilience, and increase capacity across all actors. No other way to raise awareness and foster understanding and the ability to collaborate. No other way to get to real innovation and solutions with local buy-in. No other way to connect the region and look toward the future. No other way than through design. With the Harvard Graduate School of Design studio Design and Politics: Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities, it was my plan to convince Harvard GSD students of the importance of a “design and politics” approach in light of the world’s growing risks and uncertainties. Design really can manage risks and uncertainties using a political approach. The students embarked on this journey in the Sandy-affected region to experience firsthand the real meaning of “design and politics.” —Henk Ovink
Planning and design in tandem with politics— has this connection ever been more important? Studies around the world agree that our future risks are increasing, in both impact and frequency. Climate change, water crises, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, extreme weather events, and natural and man-made environmental catastrophes, combined with economic, social, and international threats, presage an uncertain future. To make matters worse, these uncertainties are all interrelated—interdependent at the regional and mostly urban scale. Urbanization strengthens these interdependencies. And that is exactly where design comes in: where our future risks, vulnerabilities, and uncertainties aggregate on the regional scale, we can mitigate and adapt through a design-driven political approach. Design and politics are at the heart of the development of a more resilient future. In a society fragmented by differences in politics, culture, and expertise, collaboration and cross-sectoral, cross-governmental, and cross-political approaches are difficult, as they are not naturally embedded in decision-making and investment strategies. So how can this process of “design and politics” work? With Rebuild by Design, I imagined a place, a situation, a process, and a partnership where this collaborative force could emerge to confront—by design—the Hurricane Sandyaffected region’s future uncertainties. Not something owned by any one actor or group
Introduction: The Question of Scale
Harvard University Graduate School of Design, proposed new ways of building in the context of a region vulnerable to potentially calamitous climate events. Co-led by Rebuild by Design principal Henk Ovink; John Gendall, a design critic; Scott Davis, Senior Advisor in the Office of the HUD Secretary; and Samuel Carter, an Associate Director of Resilience at the Rockefeller Foundation, the studio was comprised of students from each of the School’s disciplines: urban planning, urban design, architecture, and landscape architecture. The studio did not begin where most design projects do: with a clearly defined site and program. To proceed in that way would be to risk missing important factors that might otherwise go overlooked (and thus unaddressed in the design). Instead students, through a process of mapping risks and vulnerabilities, were challenged to identify sites and programs as part of their research. Conceived in this way, one of the tasks of the studio was in fact to write the design brief. During the first half-semester, students carried out an extensive and collaborative research project, working across five themes: governance, environment, infrastructure, social, and economic. Each group produced a research report (elements of which are included in the first section of this book), and these served as the point of departure for subsequent design and planning proposals (presented in the latter part). Though each engages local conditions, when taken collectively they imagine—in the broadest sense of the term—a more resilient region, and the indispensable role of design and planning in getting there. —John Gendall
In the face of environmental challenges, crossborder interdependencies, and a shifting balance between urban and rural, the region has become a requisite scale for design practice and theory. To consider sites as discrete parcels of land would be to ignore the complexities that lie beyond given boundaries, so, to very productive ends, the region has taken on new agency as a design territory. The problem: it is politically impotent. Unlike a building lot or a municipal plan, the region has no intrinsic agents that can move designs from the computer screen to the job site. This conundrum becomes all the clearer (deleteriously so) when disasters strike. When Hurricane Sandy made landfall in 2012, it killed 117 people, displaced thousands more, crippled critical infrastructure, and caused over $65 billion in damages, but these blanket statistics tend to belie the starkly disparate patchwork of parcel-by-parcel experience during the storm and approaches to rebuilding afterward. Following the superstorm, the region was confronted with an unassailable reality: it would need not only to rebuild, but to rebuild in a way that would anticipate future climate volatility. In the face of what have become increasingly dire climate projections (storms that are more frequent, more intense, and come in on higher sea levels), to copy-and-paste what had been in place before would be a grossly irresponsible waste of resources that would put communities back in place, only to leave them again at risk. To most fully address these risks, various political units—states, counties, municipalities, townships, etc.—and the elected officials who oversee them would need to come together in common cause. This would mean that designs would need to consider both space (the architectural, urban, and landscape designs meant to render areas more resilient) and politics (the coalitions that would help to realize those projects). To take on this challenge, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched Rebuild by Design, an international design competition meant to design, fund, and implement strategies for rendering communities across the Sandy-affected region more resilient. After a call for proposals, HUD selected ten interdisciplinary teams—BIG, HR&A/ Cooper Robertson, Interboro, MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN, OMA, PennDesign/OLIN, Sasaki, SCAPE, WB unabridged, and WXY/West 8—that each developed research-intensive proposals for rebuilding communities more resiliently. In a process parallel to the competition, Design and Politics, an Urban Design and Planning Department option studio at the
Agency of Research Introduction:
Agency of Research
Henk Ovink John Gendall
Previous spread: Crews work in the Holland Tunnel so that traffic can resume, New York, NY, November 2012.
Unlike most studios, Design and Politics started without a prescribed site or any specified program. To define these starting points—to write the brief, in essence—the studio embarked on a comprehensive, half-semester-long research process. Because resilience demands functioning relationships among interdependent systems, imposing a limited scope on the studio’s inquiry from the beginning would have been to risk missing critical findings. Working in interdisciplinary teams, students first located the challenges, then set upon the work of addressing them. Carried out this way, research was no curricular flourish. It had real agency. Throughout the research phase, the studio compiled a taxonomy of vulnerabilities, which became integrated into maps in an iterative way. With input from outside experts, including Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment Dan Schrag, Loeb Fellow Helen Lochhead, and a long roster of Rebuild by Design team members, students confronted a full array of themes, ranging from the environmental science of sea-level rise to the role of community groups following climate disasters. The first half culminated with critical site visits across the region. Students met with elected officials, community members, stakeholders, and other experts, gaining valuable firsthand insights. Much of this research work was carried out through the medium of analytic mappings. As part of this process, students defined the geographic frame (what, after all, is a region?), identified prevailing systems within that frame, and charted the relationships among those systems. At the end, what emerged was an atlas that made visual the underlying systems throughout the region that are vulnerable to climate risk. The points where multiple systems converged into nodes of particular vulnerability would become, in the semester’s second half, sites where design could be employed to greatest effect.
Above: Top-ten industries by revenue-GDP per capita. The regional map depicts the GDP per capita for each metropolitan region. The charts show the top-ten industries per state. Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (GDP) and U.S. Census (top industries).
Even though Sandy had massive economic impact (and caused much hardship on macroand micro-economic scales), this analysis suggests that the economy was fairly resilient at a regional scale, experiencing a downturn for only a few days following the storm. By assessing principal business and industry structures at local levels, the findings help locate vulnerabilities and identify opportunities to strengthen economic resilience during and after storms.
Previous spread: Gas lines form after power has been disrupted in many areas due to Hurricane Sandy, Jersey City, NJ, November 2012.
Unemployment rate after Sandy, by county.
Sandy revealed widespread economic vulnerabilities throughout the region. Not only did official unemployment figures rise after the storm, but it also highlighted a particularly vulnerable cohort窶馬onsalaried, contract, or hourly workers who were not eligible for the type of aid to which full-time employees have access. The storm also showed small businesses to be highly vulnerable. Most had to close for one to two weeks, contributing to a considerable loss to both the businesses themselves and the local economic base that supports communities. Because of legal hurdles, 25 percent of business loan applications were closed without completion.
Above: A catalog of the regionâ€™s coastal typologies reveals gradients of vulnerability in the event of tidal surge.
Categorizing coastal typologies according to the sectional relationship between land and water creates a regional catalog of physical and environmental vulnerabilities at the initial point of contact between settlement and the sea. This catalog provides a key for contextualizing case studies of coastal breach through storm surge as observed during Hurricane Sandy and for examining potential future scenarios, including the inevitability of sea-level rise and the possibility of a dramatically changing coastline.
Previous spread: Contractors survey Barnegat Bay and this home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Mantoloking, NJ, May 2013.
Above: Mapping the environment: history of hurricane paths, flood-prone coastlines, and inland waterways.
Next spread: Ellis Island, which houses the Immigration Museum and hospital, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy, January 2013.
Mapping the major physical characteristics of the region defines the lens through which an environmental analysis takes shape. Rigid urban infrastructure conflicts with the naturally shifting ecologies of the region.
Map_POWER 15 scale 1: 1,500,000
Points of Power Systematic Hiearchy of Power Failures
The map reveals a high concentration of power plants in areas of close proximity to the FEMA surge zone. Indicated are points composing the hierarchy of generating stations (primary energy sources), generating step-up transformer stations, substations stepdown centers, and distribution points of varying capacity. They include primary nuclear power plants, coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, wind generators and petroleum. Geographical location near the shore, as well as their critical role in the hierarchy of power transmissions demonstrate vulnerable scenarios that have cascading ramifications on networks that are dependent on power. Of the primary power plants in the region, several were shutdown due to grid disruptions (power and communication), mechanical, or were shutdown due to emergency preparation. While structurally robust, the locations of these plants in areas of rising seas and high storm surge raises questions not only their low lying location but as well as mitigation and preparedness concerning these critical points.
R SY S T E M
O N SY S T
R SY S T E M
TR AN S
WATER R EC YC L
M STE SY IT
1:1,500,000 MUNICATIO COM NS YS M TE
Mapping energy infrastructure.
EM YST GS IN
scale 1: 1,500,000
Points of Power Infrastructure
The map reveals a high concentration of power plants in areas of close proximity to the FEMA surge zone. Indicated are points composing the hierarchy of generating stations (primary energy sources), generating step-up transformer stations, substations stepdown centers, and distribution points of varying capacity. They include primary plants, coal, natural gas, Power plantsnuclear tend topower be concentrated in hydroelectric, wind generators and areas within or close to the FEMA surge zone. petroleum. Geographical location near Diverse in type, generating the they shore,range as wellfrom as their critical role in stations (primary energy sources), generatthe hierarchy of power transmissions demonstratestations, vulnerablestep-down scenarios ing step-up transformer that have cascading ramifications on substations, and distribution points of varying networks that are dependent on power.
capacity, and they include nuclear power plants and facilities using coal, natural Of the primary power gas, plantshydroelecin tricity, wind generators, and petroleum. Near the region, several were shutdown due to grid disruptions and the waterfront, these facilities are (power vulnerable communication), mechanical, or to disaster scenarios that have cascading ramifications.were shutdown due to emergency preparation. While structurally robust, Of the primary powerofplants in theinregion, the locations these plants areas several were of shut down Sandy rising seasduring and high storm due surge raises questions not only their low to grid disruptions, mechanical problems, orlying location but asAlthough well as mitigation and emergency preparations. structurally concerning these critical robust, thesepreparedness plantsâ€™ location in areas of rising points. seas and high storm surge raises questions about their vulnerability.
R SY S T E M
TR AN S
M STE SY IT MUNICATIO COM NS YS
Systematic Hiearchy of Power Failures
[ failure ] [ path of malfunction ] [ primary ] [ secondary ] [ recovery ]
| cascading failure hiearchy [ types of outage ]
I. BLACKOUT_total power loss to an area
II. BROWNOUT_drop in voltage lead to poor performance III.TRANSIENT FAULT_temporary and automatic restore
[ location of failure ]
+ power stations [ source ] +
electricity grid [ city network ]
extra high voltage [ 265 - 275 kV ) +
short circuit [ connection disruption or malfunction ] + +
high voltage ( 110kV + )
overloading electricity mains ( locational issues )
COMMUNICATION FAILURES | cascading failure hiearchy “There will always be disasters that are damaging to any form of communications.It’s best not to rely on any one service,” Brian Fontes, chief executive with National Emergency Number Association
[ communication types ] radio
[ network types ]
television broadcast + radio broadcast
[ distribution points ] cell tower backup facility
fiber optic cables + undersea telephone cables + microwave transmission links + vicinity radio transreceiver
[ time + delay ]
| which mode of transportation will you take?
without alert +
[ transit surface ]
road + railway + airport +
[ vehicle types ] bus automobile bicycle motorcycle
+ + + +
subway + interstate +
[ ownership ]
domestic + internatonal + [ passenger volume ]
1 + 1-4
Dependencies: energy, communication, and transportation.
VULNERABILITIES + ANATOMIES
I. POWER II. COMMUNICATION III. TRANSIT PATHS
INFRASTRUCTURE . type o n e
Power, Communication and Transit
coal plant nuclear plant hydro-electric plant medium sized power plant industrial power plant factory
| wide-area coordination
[ bootstrap restoration ] black start
power station transmission
[ substation on distribution grid ]
city power plant industrial customers solar farm wind farm [ independent back-up generator ] university hospitals
[ sources ]
Disruption in a component of a system will affect more than one infrastructural category. In example, power infrastructure is related to fueling the Because each infrastructure type is interdepenoperation for transportation, water dent with others, in one can have coolingdisruptions services, telecommunication, far-reachingand consequences the many more. throughout These relationships areglobal unidirectional, in Energy which the link is national and economy. infradependent on powers more than one link. structure, for example, transportation,
water cooling, telecommunications, many Network of interdependencyand articulates other services. Not a simple linearcharacterized relationship, a complex relationship in networks multiple include connections among infrastructure varied connecinfrastructures such as feedback tions between systems, such as feedback and feedforward paths, branching and feed-forward paths, branching topologies, topologies, and input and output ďż˝low and input and outputIsolating flow. Isolating the infrasystem. the infrastructure structure from understandinga a froman anenvironment, environment, understanding singular or behavior or allocating a single singular behavior, allocating a single-source source point of failure is impossible point of failure is impossible with such interconin the interconnected infrastructure. nected infrastructure. Rather, it is important to Rather, it is important to understand the view the network manner. networkininaaholistic holistic manner.
bike share + (citibike / hubway) shared shuttle +
design+politics christine min, ryan ren, grace xu, amanda huang, natalia gaerlan
[ generators on transmission grid ]
One infrastructure can directly and indirectly affect other infrastructures. This leads to large geographic regions that can send ripples throughout the national and global economy.
Yo r k
State County City Village Hamlet
New Je rs ey
County City Village
Regional municipalities by type
1:1,500,000 Sources: State of New York GIS Clearinghouse; New Jersey Geographic Information Network; Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection; University of
Above: Mapping jurisdictional boundaries.
The tradition of the town Governance meeting in New England poses risks in regional planning
The tradition of municipal governments The tradition of municipal governments holding significant authority runs deep holding significant authority runs deep throughout the Sandy-affected region. throughout the Sandy-affected region. Decentralization of power manifests Decentralization of power manifests differently in each state, resulting in differently in each state, resulting in a variety of municipality types and a a variety of municipality types and a similarly diverse range of government similarly diverse range of government forms that oversee them. In New Jersey, forms that oversee them. In New Jersey, the entire state is incorporated into the entire state is incorporated into 565 municipalities (the most in the 565 municipalities (the most in the Any regional strategy must broker cooperation country) that represent five different country) that represent five different within a patchwork of local governments. The types and 12 forms of government; each types and 12 forms of government; each governments carries equal standing with the state.tradition of municipal carries equal standing with holding the state. New York and Rhode Island introduce significant authority deepIsland throughout New York runs and Rhode introduce greater depth: cities and towns (which greater depth: cities and towns (which the Sandy-affected region. Decentralization represent more than two forms of representdifferently more than two formsstate, of in each government) are reflected equally inof power manifests government) are reflected equally in Rh R resulting in a variety of municipality types and od ho state law, but may contain state law, but may contain villages and/ de villages and/ e State or hamlets that are subordinate to the a similarly diverse range of government forms State or hamlets that are subordinate to the Con town. Villages in New York have their Villages in New York the havestate their is that overseetown. them. In New Jersey, ne c own governments, but hamlets in New governments, but hamlets in New State incorporatedown into 565 municipalities (the most County County York and villages in Rhode Island are York and villages in Rhode Island are in the country) that stem from 12 different forms unincorporated and generally represent unincorporated and generally represent Planning City with each carrying equal standspecial-status planning districts. of government, City special-status planning districts. Region Village Finally, Connecticut carries a similaring with the Finally, state. New York and Rhode Island Village Connecticut carries a similar Town Town structure of subordinate governments structure of subordinate governments Town introduce greater depth: cities and Village Village within its towns, though all but one of within itsvillages towns, though allhamlets but one of towns may contain and/or City its cities have consolidated with their its cities have consolidated with their Borough that are subordinate to the town. Villages in parent towns (and the towns have reparent towns (and the towns have reNew York have their own governments, while incorporated to adopt city-like forms incorporated to adopt city-like forms Village of government). In sum, governancehamlets in New York and villages in Rhode of government). In sum, governance forms within states vary as much as Island are unincorporated forms within states vary as much as and generally reprethey do across states. Municipalitiesâ€™ they do across states. Municipalitiesâ€™ sent special-status planning districts. Finally, desire for autonomy represents a desire for autonomy represents a Connecticutvulnerability carries a similar structure of suborvulnerability in planning and disaster in planning and disaster management, as it is difficult to ensure dinate governments within towns, to though management, as itits is difficult ensureall that best practices make their way tobut one of its that best have practices make their way cities consolidated withtotheir Towns (1147) Towns (1147) high-risk locations. high-risk locations. parent towns (and the towns have reincorpond la Is
nd la Is
Cities (123) Villages (3) Subordinate jurisdictions (inconsistent presence) Counties (NJ, NY, RI) / Planning Regions (CT)
Boroughs rated to (254) adopt city-like forms of government). In sum, governance forms within states Townships (240) can vary as much as they do across states. Cities (123) Municipalitiesâ€™ desire for autonomy, however, represents a potential vulnerability in planning Villages (3) and disaster management, as it can be difficult Subordinate jurisdictions (inconsistent presence) to ensure that best practices make their way Counties (NJ, NY, RI) / Planning Regions (CT) to high-risk locations.
s;Rhode Pomona Village website;New FEMA; interview Stephen Marks,Pomona Hoboken, NJ website; FEMA; interview with Stephen Marks, Hoboken, NJ Island; Wikipedia; Jersey Leaguewith of Municipalities; Village
Previous spread: FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino speaks at a briefing with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, center, with local officials and FEMA officials at a shelter in Susan Wagner high school, Staten Island, NY, November 2012.
The tradition of the town meeting in New England poses risks in regional planning
Regional relief projects by sponsoring agency 1:1,500,000 Sources: Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board for Hurricane Sandy Funding; FEMA
Sandy Relief Act Project sites: agencies funding relief projects have concentrated presences in a few key locations.
Sandy Relief Act Project Sites
Tracing the operational applications of funds from each agency and organization reveals areas of for Rebuilding activity can be accounted concentrated rebuilding activity, as by tracing the allocation of funds, revealing well as areas that perhaps have been patterns of concentrated activity, under-serviced.rebuilding Funding from many as well as those areas focuses that remain underserviced. agencies on recovery of public facilities, thus revealing strong Many agencies focus funding on athe recovthe geographic ery of publicassociation facilities, between highlighting the close presence of funding and the location of association large-scale between funding activity and largeinfrastructure in the region. scale infrastructure. Given their pervasiveness, Household-level projects are less household-level projects more elusive to mappable, givenare their pervasiveness throughout the region. The clear locate. The clear overlap of agencies in some overlap of agenciesredundancies in some locations on locations indicates potential and the map reveals potential redundancies, suggests that the Relief Actâ€™s structure reduces and suggests that the Relief Actâ€™s the tendencystructure for agencies collaborate reducestothe tendency forsuffiagencies sufficiently collaborate and ciently to ensure an to appropriate distribution of an appropriate distribution of funds acrossensure the region. funds across the region.
Agencies funding relief projects have concentrated presences in a few key locations
ROADS & BRIDGES
Flow of funds to specific projects from federal agencies through the Sandy Relief Acts Sources: Disaster Relief Appropriations Act 2013; Sandy Recovery Improvement Act 2013*
The Sandy Relief Act distributed $60 billion in federal funding across a range of projects. The diagram shows the funding pathway, from agencies to recipients.
The Sandy Relief Act(s)
$161M=SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Low-interest financing for the repair and rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property for homeowners, renters, and businesses
Immediate relief and recovery needs
$23.6B=TRANSPORTATION & HUD**
roads, bridges, tunnels, Federal Aviation Administration; Amtrak, NY + NJ public transportation infrastructure, community and housing needs, hospitals, small businesses, rental assistance, community development projects
Disaster Loan Program for the repair and rebuilding property of homeowners, renters, and businesses. Additional grants to small businesses, and repairs to various federal buildings
$725M=LABOR, HEALTH, & EDUCATION*
Health services, damaged health, child care, Head Start facilities, and Social Security Administration buildings and equipment
$1.1B=INTERIOR & ENVIRONMENT*
Wetland restoration and state grants for water and wastewater treatment infrastructure and environmental mediation
$3.9B=ENERGY & WATER*
Help Army Corps to restore beaches, navigation channels, other damaged infrastructure and improvements to flood control efforts
Restore navigation channels, beaches, and other damaged infrastructure
$513M=COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND SCIENCE*
Improve severe weather forecasts and warnings, assess the impacts of Hurricane Sandy on coastal communities, and support local recovery efforts
Operational losses to Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Coast Guard, and FEMA
$100M=DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Repairs to social services facilities, repairs to Head Start centers, replacement of equipment and resource losses
$235M=DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS
Repairs and reconstruction at the Manhattan VA hospital and other VA medical facilities
$88M=DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE*
Repairs to bases, arsenals, ammunition plants, and clean-up for various military equipment and facilities
Repairs on affected Army National Guard buildings and structures
$6M=DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Replenishing stocks at food banks and soup kitchens
$14M=FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION Repair or replace navigation systems, control towers, and power systems
Repair Amtrak infrastructure that sustained hurricane damage
$5.4B=TRANSPORTATION & TRANSIT AUTHORITY
New York's MTA, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, New Jersey Transit, and the City of New York DOT Ferries
$287M=DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
Repair national parks, lands and facilities under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior
Emergency conservation and restoration efforts, as well as flood prevention and watershed repairs
On January 29, 2013, more than a year after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, public law 113-2 was enacted, which contained the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 and the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013.* These acts authorized appropriations for $60 billion dollars to be used by disaster relief agencies On Januaryto29, 2013, more than a year after attend to the aftermath of Hurricane Hurricane Sandy Sandy. hit the East Coast, Congress
enacted Public Law 113-2, which included the The Appropriations Acts have been well-received Disaster Relief Act of 2013 and because they mandated thatAct agencies the Sandy Recovery Improvement of 2013. and governments respond to the These acts pressing authorized appropriations forfaced, $60 needs that populations billion to be and used bycontinued disaster to relief have face,agencies. since the The nature their execution The actsstorm. mandated that of agencies and represents challenge, however, governments responda to the pressing needs due to the fact that the allocation of that residents faced due to the storm. Carryresources must negotiate interests ing them out, though, represents a challenge, across institutions, governments, because funds must accommodate and individual communities.interests In addition,governments, the types of projects across institutions, and that commucan be completed the funds, and nities. In addition, the typeswith of eligible projects, the amounts of funds available for and the amount of funding available, are the different types of projects, are inflexible. Diagramming the path of inflexible. Diagramming thefunds path offrom agencies to funds recipients illustrates between recipientsthis andcomplexity agencies reinforces this complexity and the many and the many steps associated with moving associated with movingtocapital capital fromsteps the federal government local from the Federal Government to local projects. The geographies of resource allocaprojects. Finally, the geographies of tion bring new understanding of bringing the politically resource allocation are to light new understanding of the fragmented arealities that govern thepolitically region, as fragmented thatcollaborations. govern the well as the potential forrealities possible region, as well as the potential for possible collaborations.
$50 (60) billion in relief funding has been designed across a wide range of projects
Above: Social capital (defined by high educational attainment, high population density, low rate of non-sales-related vacancy, and high concentrations of community-based organizations).
Because they tend to strengthen social cohesion, small, local institutions, such as the Rockaway Beach Surf Club in the Rockaways, help communities respond more resiliently to stresses like those introduced by Sandy. Examining successful case studies and adapting those principles to other locations could lead to an aggregate regional impact. The analysis requires a standardized way to assess social capital, the measure of a populationâ€™s capacity to cope with external challenges. Drawing on lessons learned from the Rockaways, this study isolated four categories: level of educational attainment (percentage of population with a bachelorâ€™s degree or above), population density (people per square mile), percentage of housing vacancies not associated with real estate transactions (in an attempt to discern level of community investment), and concentration of community support institutions. This analysis finds that denser, more urban areas of the region exhibit the highest levels of social capital. In these places, the density of resources and institutions implies a greater pool of resources from which to draw in a disaster. In less densely settled areas, the concentration of resources is less and the ability of the communities to bounce back might be hampered. This analysis suggests that while some aspects of urban living make a population more vulnerable to disasters such as Sandy, other aspects offer resilience-building capacities.
Previous spread: Sand piles high from cleanup after Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway, NY, November 2012.
46 Above: The Rockaways: anatomy of social resilience.
In the Far Rockaways, Sandyâ€™s impacts were exacerbated by the lack of resources necessary for residents to rebound from such a large-scale shock. The area is home to a large concentration of public housingâ€”more than half of the public housing stock in Queens. There is also a high concentration of group homes for the elderly. Power outages left most people without heat and lights, and those inhabiting midrise public housing towers became trapped in upper stories without food or water. Census data reveals these demographic patterns, showing a concentration of elderly population and low median household income in the easternmost end of the peninsula. Similarly, this area also exhibits high concentrations of poverty and unemployment. Farther to the west along the peninsula, in the Mid-Rockaways, between Arverne and Fort Tilden, these indicators are slightly less concentrated, reflecting the preponderance of single-family homes and the higher earnings of these households. Although Sandy hit these areas with comparable force, the access to greater resources enabled these communities to respond more quickly and effectively. Breezy Point, in the westernmost area of the Rockaways, was also significantly affected, both by the storm surge that flooded nearly every house and by a large fire that destroyed more than 100 houses. This community is home to a large number of older, primarily retired, middle-class residents. Many others were employed as first responders in the New York City police and fire departments. While the devastation they witnessed was considerable, their ability to access capital and other resources shortened the time it took for rebuilding.
Henk Ovink John Gendall
Following spread: Local residents use a charging station set up by New York Police Department in an area impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway, NY, November 2012.
For the semesterâ€™s second half, the studio focused on designing strategies to address the vulnerabilities identified in the research phase. Owing to the emphasis on transdisciplinarity and the diverse expertise of the students, projects ranged widely in site, scale, technique, and discipline, from regional landscape designs to site-specific planning guidelines. Regardless of project size, the designs, done individually or in groups, were meant to have potential for regional impact, through either replicability or scale. Because students spent a half semester fully engaged in research, the projects should not be interpreted as finished design work but as the thoughtfully considered foundation of a design project. Though each project was executed as work unto itself, transdisciplinarity was so embedded in the studioâ€™s framing that all projects resonated on some level with at least a few others. There was no common point of departure in the shared research, yet collaboration was deliberately facilitated throughout the design process, generating a mosaic of ideas. Rather than making projects destined only for a computer screen or pin-up wall, students were charged with conceiving design proposals that would consider the political mechanisms necessary to move those designs toward implementation. In this way, the studio treated the pragmatic concerns of realizing a project as a productive and generative complement to design, not an antagonizing constraint. In the pages that follow, students both present designs and propose the means to render them politically operative.
Insuring Resilient Urbanism:
Trevor Johnson Alison Tramba
Adapting the National Flood Insurance Program to Meet Long-Term Needs in Urban Environments The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has sparked considerable debate in Hurricane Sandyâ€™s wake. Introduced in 1968 as an alternative to repeated government bailouts in floodprone areas, NFIP is designed to financially protect residents and small business owners whose properties are at risk of damage in the event of catastrophic flooding. The unprecedented payouts along the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 put NFIP into significant debt, from which it has not recovered. Post-Sandy estimates put the current level of debt at over $25 billion. This level of debt is partially attributable to clauses in the original legislation that allowed structures built prior to the institution of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in an area to enter the program at subsidized rates that did not reflect the actual risk factors encountered by these structures. Further, the accuracy of the FIRMs, which determine how much a household or business pays in premiums based on their proximity to flood-prone waterways, are criticized as being chronically out-of-date and backward- rather than forward-looking. As a result, the maps sometimes prove inaccurate when flooding occurs, leaving some households without adequate insurance for repairs, especially as most homeownersâ€™ policies do not cover flood damage. These structural insufficiencies have created sizeable and ongoing government subsidization of risk, which in turn has incited political controversy. In 2012 the passage of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act sought to gradually increase premium rates for households currently insured under subsidized rates, so that by 2017 nearly all at-risk households would pay actuarial rates. Following Sandy, however, grassroots organizations in New Jersey and elsewhere were created
with the goal of keeping flood insurance affordable for coastal residents. This and other opposition to the changes created by Biggert-Waters led in 2014 to the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which rolled back BiggertWaters and provided for a series of minor changes to NFIP, most directed at maintaining affordability for homeowners. These opposing positions help highlight practical challenges that the program faces. First, NFIP is not currently financially sustainable. Second, its standards are not suited to dense urban environments where flooding often occurs. Finally, NFIPâ€™s structure enables people to live in flood-prone areas without a full understanding of related risks. This project provides a series of recommendations for improving NFIP, all stemming from an objective to ultimately return flood insurance to the private market, but with a robust structure behind it that empowers municipalities and individuals to effectively manage risk over the long term. Proposed policies and actions respond to NFIPâ€™s three main challenges and serve to make the program financially viable, increase the relevance of its design requirements to urban environments, and mitigate long-term risk in flood-prone communities. The federal government, municipalities/states, and individuals must all play roles in the process. For example, the plan for NFIP to adopt actuarial rates for all properties must be linked to assistance programs, such as tax credits and educational campaigns, that support residents who otherwise cannot afford or are illequipped to make adaptive changes to their properties The set of proposals identified has been explored in three Jersey City neighborhoods to understand the relative impacts of proposed actions on varying typologies and income groups. This case study offers an example of how revisions to NFIP may affect similar urban coastal environments in the mid- to long term.
54 Top: Timeline of flood risk reduction programs in the Netherlands, mapping infrastructure responses against policy and insurance responses in the United States.
Bottom: Increase in flood insurance policies in effect by state, October 2012â€“ October 2013, highlighting reaction to Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast of the United States.
Following page, bottom: Anatomy of the National Flood Insurance Program, including public- and private-sector actors and sub-programs designed to promote risk reduction.
Insuring Resilient Urbanism
56 Jersey City Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and development patterns. Much of the city is at significant risk of severe flooding, as Sandy proved.
Following page: Intended outcomes of revised flood mitigation measures for urban settings such as Jersey City; current policies are inappropriate in such settings.
Amanda Huang Christine Min Grace Xu
infra[INITIATIVES] is a methodological compilation of disaster-relief strategies that aid in disaster recovery, rebuilding, and urban development. Rebuilding is not only a response to disasters but an opportunity to introduce improved systems that will mitigate potential risks identified from patterns of failure. In responding to widespread power loss after Hurricane Sandy, some regions with archaic physical infrastructure and lack of funds recovered power in ways that did not address the point of failure. In other words, some of these facilities are operating in very poor condition, creating a time bomb that awaits the next storm. If a disaster-struck region rebuilds in the same manner without addressing issues of archaic and unstable resources, the city may experience the same problems in the next disaster. Infrastructure is highly dispersive and never functions as an isolated system. Furthermore, the interdependencies among networks determine the regionâ€™s performance, operations, and contemporary flows. The economy is a segregated multilevel system in which miscommunication can complicate interactions among policies, businesses, and relief operations. New economies emerge as a response to disasters. For example, pooled resources from individuals can transform disaster relief. The provision of additional resources and protection for small businesses allocated at local, regional, and national levels would aid in building resiliency for future disasters. Multifamily and public housing construction is a method to ease post-disaster rental shortages and provide disaster shelters. A scalar approach that addresses policies, business models, and relief aid should be reevaluated and restructured simultaneously. The basic means of rebuilding are providing redundant sys-
tems and redistributing the singular network. Smart grids can serve as a platform to address both vulnerabilities and preventive practice. By utilizing smart-grid intervention, the project restructures the relationships among governance, society, environment, economics, and infrastructure. To address Hurricane Sandyâ€“related failures, we are implementing multiscale strategies that reflect the urban condition. The methodology of our project was found in curating parallel research on infrastructural smart solutions and site-specific elements. The connection between resiliency and sustainability mobilizes us to find time-sensitive interventions. These assist in adapting to and mitigating change. The proto-sites for infra[INITIATIVES] are smart-grid pilot sites. These are Astoria, Queens, in New York City; New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. In Astoria one finds heavy commuter traffic, low rates of car ownership, diverse local and small businesses, and low-income residents. The stakeholders for the proto-site were both local residents and small business owners. Installing smart meters in residences and businesses can reduce energy consumption, defer peak-level costs, and avoid brownouts. By connecting the transmission grid with renewable energy generators such as solar panels and wind turbines, infra[INITIATIVES] is designed to provide revenue, a multilevel power distribution and generation network, and empowerment of local residents and business owners in terms of power use and generation. New Brunswick is home to Rutgers University and various medical institutions that conduct research with public-private investments. Healthy eating initiatives and local food programs are in the process of becoming deployed through partnerships with Rutgers and medical institutions. The frequent flooding of the Raritan River during full moon and high tides impedes traffic on the bridge and adjacent parks. infra[INITIATIVES] sees in flooding an opportunity to introduce a system that simultaneously provides flood protection, water retention and purification tanks, and tidal energy generation. Hydroponic farming supplements local food growth; both local businesses and students will operate this business.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, is dependent on the gaming industry as an economic base. Unsustainable tourism, rising tides, and high wind speed has rendered it vulnerable to natural disasters. By creating redundant energy generation/storage in casinos, we are hoping to redevelop Atlantic Avenue. Installing wave turbines and extending the boardwalk to the east, and combining a wind turbine with an iconic Ferris wheel, the project awards sustainable tourism with â€œenergy coupons.â€? Overall, we saw that rebuilding is necessary not only for disaster recovery but for building resiliency in the long term. infra[INITIATIVES] is a prototype that can be adapted and retrofitted to any city.
Amanda Huang, Christine Min, Grace Xu Top: Diagram of methodology. By utilizing the smart-grid intervention, our project restructures the relationships between governance, social, environmental, economics, and infrastructure.
Bottom: After-effects of the three sites of interventions, from top, Astoria, Queens, NY; New Brunswick, NJ; and Atlantic City, NJ.
62 Top: Compounded impact assessment of intervention in social, infrastructure, governance, environmental, and economic.
Above: Index of infrastructural smart solutions, evaluated through impacts on social, infrastructure, governance, environmental, and economic.
Following page: Exploded axonometric drawing of layers of intervention in Astoria, Queens.
Green Infrastructure for Repetitive Floods in Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey, is a low-lying area prone to repeated flooding, and, like its neighbor Hoboken, was hard hit during Hurricane Sandy. Identify the Issue: Vulnerability to Floods Nationally, New Jersey ranks second among states in terms of repetitive losses from floods, and Jersey City ranks fourteenth among towns in the state on this same measure—even higher than Hoboken, according to FEMA records. The city was built on marshland, and flooding has troubled residents for at least fifty years, due to the dated sewage system and low elevation (some areas are below sea level). Most of the floods in Jersey City are caused by local storm water instead of sea water surging. The Current Situation: Fast Urbanization and Development New Jersey has been one of the most rapidly urbanizing states in the nation for the last half-century. Developing at a rate of over 15,000 acres per year, the Garden State is on track to becoming the “concrete state,” as it is likely to be the first state to reach buildout, sometime near the middle of the century. Hudson County, which includes Jersey City, ranks first in the number of residential housing permits issued in the state; so much development adds to the expansion of impervious surfaces. Jersey City is seventh among the top 20 best-performing US cities of the decade in terms of home value increase. Flooding could be a big concern for people moving in, jeopardizing the promising real estate future of Jersey City. Many new developments are located in or adjacent to flood-prone areas.
The project design is concentrated around this financial issue. Two strategies are presented as an improvement on the New York program: Strategy 1. Grants for Future Development Although green infrastructure would be integrated into basic design/planning as a requirement for future development, the program provides grants over nine years to the developer who meets the requirements and is willing to install recommended green/gray infrastructure.
What Is at Risk? Jersey City’s fast-growing population will overtake that of Newark in 2035, making it the largest city in New Jersey. Among the most repeatedly flooded cities, Jersey City has the largest population and the highest population density. The Hudson County area has relatively higher social vulnerability to environmental hazards within both the state and the nation. The analysis shows that the downtown area is most vulnerable. If the outdated sewer system is not easy to replace, the addition of green infrastructure offers one way to reduce losses. To assess what can be done to the existing urban fabric, buildings downtown are categorized by different standards. Green infrastructure typologies are also analyzed (with benefit rate, cost rate, and feasibility rate) as a guide for government and citizens’ future investment. The most important part is how to integrate green infrastructure elements financially into private property. Learning from New York City’s lesson of tax abatement for green roofs, we find that: 1. The abatement’s current value, $4.50/square foot, is too low to appeal to private building owners. The green roof is much pricier than other green infrastructures, with pricing that could reach $25 per square foot. 2. Although nonprofits and affordable housing managers are leaders in green building, they are not able to benefit from this program because they do not pay property taxes.
Green Infrastructure for Repetitive Floods in Jersey City
Strategy 2. Tax Credits for Retrofitting Instead of property tax abatement whose benefit accrues to the property owners only, the proposed tax credit program allows for credit transfer, which would enable nonprofit organizations and other building owners (for instance, affordable housing owners) who do not pay property taxes to benefit from the incentive. A transferable tax credit would guarantee income to a third-party investor who finances part of a project. Changing rates of tax credits accelerate the pace of installation and also promote certain kinds of infrastructure for certain buildings. Differentiating the starting time of each level of tax credit is a way of easing the potential financial pressure and controlling prioritization. To encourage building more projects, the tax credit rate of level 2 would increase by 20 percent if the same applicant finished any project in level 1, with the same process extending to level 3. The project would be phased to control which green infrastructure are applied where, and at what speed, given varying priorities and financial incentives. This ideal scenario provides a base policy structure for the current situation, though local government practices will undoubtedly reflect the particular financial reality. In other words, this proposal stays on a conceptual level as academic research. With a wide range of building typologies, the downtown areas mirrors other parts of New York. The next step is to test out these new financial systems in the real neighborhoods of Jersey City, to contextualize the ideology within a grounded practice.
Habitat as an Insurance to Drinking Water
Issue at Hand Looking forward, as increased risks are felt in existing areas of inhabitation due to climate-related pressures, such as sea level rise and superstorms, urban frontage along the western edge of Ocean County, New Jersey, will retreat, further concentrating urban growth. Regional Urbanization Trends Over the past decade, Ocean County has experienced the most dramatic increase in population, both per capita and also by percentage, of all New Jersey counties. Additionally, as Ocean County has urbanized over the past twenty years, a majority of its growth has been concentrated in one area. Barnegat Bayâ€™s Hydrology The importance of watershed services will only increase as water quality becomes a critical issue around the globe. Their financial value becomes particularly apparent when the costs of protecting an ecosystem for improved water quality are compared with investments in new or improved infrastructure, such as purification plants and flood control structures. In many cases, it is cheaper and more efficient to invest in ecosystem management and protection. Innovative market-based mechanisms for watershed services include self-organized private payments, public payments or incentives, and trading schemes. Barnegat Bayâ€™s Current Conditions Seven hundred drainage pipes carry storm-water discharges directly to the bay and its tributaries, bringing pollution from
Buy-In of Stakeholders The soils developed from the Cohansey formation are very porous, with a high proportion of coarse particles that make them less able to retain water and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassiumâ€”â€œfoodâ€? usually needed for plant growth. Thus even though the Pinelands may receive the same amount of rainfall as land along the Delaware River or in northern New Jersey, the water moves so rapidly through the sandy soil that little moisture and few nutrients are kept; the soil acts more like a sieve than a sponge. Recapturing and Swapping By regulating future development, we can provide incentives and exert pressure to encourage development to occur in areas where it can be least impactful. Current State of the Watershed As several critical infrastructure systems such as wastewater treatment and drinking water purification are currently in decline, future development must be calibrated to not increase pressure on already strained systems.
Previous spread: Staten Island residents at Town Hall meeting sponsored by Borough President James Molinaro, held at New Dorp High School, November 2012.
streets and suburbs. Since 2003, 4,443 outfalls have been mapped in the watershed as environmental workers check for illicit connections to sewers. The maritime industry adds to this infrastructure load, as sixty marinas offer pump-out services for emptying boat waste systems. There are economic pressures associated with the changing realities along the waterfront, resulting in 900 lost fishing jobs since 1985.
Habitat as an Insurance to Drinking Water
74 Top: The esturaries in the region. As seen through the bathemetry, Barnegat Bay is one of the deepest, providing the most valuable habitat.
Bottom, left to right: Urban runoff to Barnegat Inlet: runoff from urban areas will travel the whole length of the estuary before being discharged; Estuary edge to surge line: Interstitial space between estuary and urban areas is prone to surge and intense wave action allocating virtually no buffer space for
natural communities in a storm event; Existing aquatic vegetation: a majority of sea grass vegetation is in areas between the estuary edge and open ocean waters. This is potentially attributed to the disturbance, and 70-percent coastline modification along the inside shoreline.
Adam Novack Potential opportunities for mitigating risks surrounding existing well heads. Left to right from top: Ocean County Wetland Protection Area (WHPA) Map; three separate sewer and water treat-
ment; three separate sewer and water treatment systems present within the watershed; drinking water wells; runoff direction; separated infrastructure and treatment areas; well areas that have
potential for contamination; insertion of green filtration system to connect hard and soft infrastructure; insertion of green infrastructure (wetlands, etc.). Source: Ocean County Planning Board.
Habitat as an Insurance to Drinking Water
76 Top: Actions to regulate future development to least impaction areas. From left to right: Areas affected by sea level rise and storms; post-urban edge once retreated due to coastal threats, retreat at edge of highest risk.
Bottom: The red denotes urban land cover. From left to right: 1986, 1995, 2002, 2007. ÂŠ 2014 NOAA/Urban Land Mapping and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Adam Novack Top: Based on previous trends of urbanization, if the rate of development continues, it could have potentially irreversible consequences.
Bottom, left to right: Existing site conditions; superstorms; future highly dense urban conditions.
Following spread: The flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011 was bad, but as this marker indicates, Hurricane Sandy was much worse. Massapequa, NY, November 2012.
After Sandy: Settling with the Sea
A studio-wide analysis of the Hurricane Sandy–impacted region revealed gradients of risk and vulnerability in extreme weather events—a risk largely dictated by the proximity of urban and suburban communities to the tidal storm surge. In many ways, Sandy acts as a projective mapping of future coastal conditions, where record tidal surge simulates high tide after decades of expected sea-level rise exacerbate the vulnerabilities of living within proximity to the sea. As this relationship between land and sea continues to fluctuate, and extreme weather becomes increasingly frequent in a changing global climate, the issue of protecting the coast—its populations, its economies, and its natural environments, or at least those still partially intact— becomes a progressively critical issue. In this context, After Sandy: Settling with the Sea takes on a thorough investigation of the relationship between land and sea, specifically engaging the processes at work in forming the coast, both natural and imposed. In an initial study of the affected region, characterized by a range in geomorphology and the sectional relationship between land and sea, the barrier islands stand out as being critically vulnerable in conditions of tidal surge and rising waters; the future of this particular coastal typology is uncertain at best. While many models suggest that most of the region’s barrier islands will disappear entirely after just a few meters of expected sea-level rise, the culture and economy of the region as a whole depends on these unique stretches of land along the coast, prompting a reconsideration of the ways in which we inhabit these vital resources. A catalog of the region’s geomorphology reveals a critical conflict between dynamic coastal ecologies and rigid models of urbanization within a shared terrain. Urbanization within
and adjacent to coastal habitats not only degrades shoreline ecologies but situates people in an environment of extreme risk, turning a natural phenomenon into a disaster, devastating communities, economies, and cultures for years to come. In contrast, an extreme event like Hurricane Sandy illuminates the ability of natural systems to respond, recover, and adapt to changing environmental conditions. However, it also reveals collisions of urbanization and critical habitat, where unyielding infrastructures impede ecological processes, reducing the resilience of natural systems and urban infrastructures alike. A landscape-driven investigation of the region seeks to augment the robustness of coastal infrastructures and ecologies as a regional model of protecting established ecosystems, economies, and cultures within an inevitably vulnerable physical geography. Coupled with long-term planning of sustained occupation within a shrinking footprint, the three-part proposal employs a community-based approach to living with the sea. The project acknowledges a lack of critical infrastructure necessary to protect current and future inhabitants, but employs ecological models of diffusing the energies affecting wave-dominated coasts and considers new models for sustaining coastal communities over time. The investigation of the region calls into question not only the built and physical models by which we occupy the coast but also the methods used to plan coastal communities. In a physical geography characterized by a shifting ground, where sand, water, and wind act as dynamic and interrelated systems, our planning and analysis of the region is through largely static and generalized tools and drawings. Not only do static drawings fall short of revealing the dynamism of the ground but they physically divorce our models of development from the grounds on which they are inserted. This project seeks to set these tools aside temporarily, revisiting geospatial analysis as a means of developing a dialogue between active processes and static infrastructures, while taking a closer look at how the processes at work activate the natural ecologies of the region. Executed over a varied timeline and across the entire region as a means of cataloging processes of disturbance and recovery, the analysis
provides clues for how land and water interact, offering ways forward in the reconsideration of planning models in vulnerable physical geographies throughout the region. The project offers suggestions for how future communities might embrace an augmented ecological context; develop models of communal occupation for tourists, locals, and ecologies as a way of sustaining the dependent regional culture and economy; and bolster ecological infrastructures to restore ecological integrity to the barrier islands.
A closer investigation of the processes at work reveal a striking contrast between a fluctuating ground and static models of urbanization along the coast.
84 Top: A three-part approach to resiliency of the barrier islandsâ€”Breach, Diffuse, and Consolidateâ€”seeks to establish an ecological model to living along the coast, and with a rising tide.
Bottom: A consideration of the fluctuating sectional relationship between land and water suggests a model of settlement drastically different from the models currently in place along New Jerseyâ€™s coast and similar coasts throughout the region.
Opposite page: Long-term planning for occupying a shrinking landmass demands a consolidated footprint. Clustered villages of commercial and residential settlement sustain local economies and cultures over a significantly longer time line than current static models.
Ocean County, New Jersey, is a complex ecosystem composed of barrier islands, ocean, bay, beach, rivers, pine forest, road and rail infrastructure, and urban occupation, all within the same watershed. This condition, where political territory is aligned with pressures of the physical world, gives Ocean County a political incentive to take into account the environmental threats that the entire region faces but cannot commit to acting on collectively because of political fragmentation. The effects that sea level rise and climate events are having on Barnegat Bay’s ecosystem and structure are exposing the social and economic vulnerability of Ocean County’s main economic motor, tourism. The lessons learned with Hurricane Sandy and the permanent threat of sea-level rise make it urgent to address the county’s vulnerabilities. Providing safe environments for citizens requires rethinking how the natural conditions of the county are addressed. Activating the local economy through political decisions prompts consideration of strategic ways to build a public realm capable of responding to the threat of sea-level rise using infrastructure as a preventive rather than merely a responsive measure. Projections of sea-level rise on both the barrier islands and the internal shore of the bay point to the potential for lost land, infrastructure, and homes, making this a physical and spatial phenomenon, and therefore a social and economic one. What might happen if instead of investing in micro-strategies of protection that mask the risk at multiple scales, a political decision were taken to put in place a long-term vision that accepts the threat of sea-level rise and uses it as a catalyst of economic renewal, urban development, and environmental regeneration and preservation? Ocean County could become a model of public, private, and communal development.
Previous spread: Aerial views of flood and fire damage in the Breezy Point neighborhood as a result of Hurricane Sandy, November 2012.
PARKTECTION presents a framework for how the process could be led, the components it should have, the stakeholders that should be involved, the time it would take, and the benefits it could offer to the county in particular and the region at large.â€¨Through an active process of vulnerability and opportunity analysis, PARKTECTION becomes the platform on which a concrete discussion on the future of the county and bay could be based. The elements necessary to understand the needs and possibilities can then be laid out in a technocratic, democratic, and open-ended way. It sets the bases from which public, private, and community interests can come together to jumpstart the local economy, activate the public realm, recover lost critical environments, regulate land use, and create common ground both physically and intellectually.
90 Top: Effects of sea-level rise and the new frontline in terms of broken social clusters, lost homes, and vulnerable infrastructure.
Bottom: Example of the process of retreat and reoccupation of the barrier islands.
Opposite page: General plan of PARKTECTION including traditional development opportunity spaces and Community Private-Public Development spaces.
Hurricane Sandy has exposed some of the most salient vulnerabilities within existing infrastructural systems. As one of the most critical—and vulnerable—pieces of infrastructure, wastewater treatment plants play an indispensable role within the urban landscape. During Hurricane Sandy, 11 billion gallons of raw (untreated) and partially treated sewage spewed into waterways from Washington, DC, to Connecticut, exposing the vulnerabilities of the region’s wastewater treatment systems. Caused by a combination of storm surge and power loss, eighteen of the twenty largest spills discharged into New York’s and New Jersey’s waterways, prompting severe public health and environmental concerns. New York’s and New Jersey’s wastewater treatment systems accounted for 93 percent of the 11 billion gallons, resulting in more than $100 million in damages. When the facilities are fully functional, sewage enters the system. Though filtration and physiochemical processes, solid waste, toxic substances, and bacteria are removed. Sludge and effluent are by-products in this process. Typically, sludge is exported for agriculture and landfill operations, whereas effluent is discharged into the ocean or bay. When this process is compromised, raw sewage bypasses the system and flows directly into the waterways. In this case, approximately one-third—or 3.45 billion gallons—of the Sandy overflow was untreated. According to experts, the risk of spills of this capacity or larger is imminent as a result of climate change. Therefore there is an urgent need to refocus our efforts on building resiliency into wastewater treatment facilities, almost all of which are located within the 500-year flood level and adjacent to bodies of water.
Investments in disaster resilience measures for wastewater infrastructure are currently being considered. Thus far, New Jersey has planned to allocate $1 billion for recovery and repair of damaged facilities and another $1.7 billion for building resilience into the system. It is critical to ensure that this money is well spent on reducing risk and not squandered on the failed approaches of the past. In New Jersey, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (PVSC) was one of the hardest hit. PVSC is the fifth-largest treatment plant in the United States, servicing 48 municipalities over five counties. The facility sits on Newark Bay, overlooking Jersey City. Hurricane Sandy pushed a wall of water over the bay, engulfing the entire 152-acre plant in four feet of water. As much as 840 million gallons of untreated sewage and 3 billion gallons of partially treated sewage poured into Newark Bay. Sandy inundation swamped motors and underground tunnels, and shorted out electrical equipment, forcing sewage to back up. To the 1.4 million people PVSC serves, this was a serious problem: residents in Jersey City had to refrain from flushing their toilets for one week. It took more than one month after the storm for the plant to be fully functional. The indeterminate futures of these facilities in the face of dynamic climates and coastal hazards therefore call for an urgent reconsideration and protection of critical facilities as important public landscapes. Operating within an industrial landscape requires a functional infrastructural intervention. Hybrid Utilities aims to reimagine coastal protection infrastructure as a hybridized unit, augmenting coastal protection systems with renewable oceanic power technologies. Functioning as a protective system around the wastewater facility, the infrastructure frames the plant, shielding the low-lying critical facility against storm surge, sea-level rise, and storm water. The hybridized flood barrier stretches 10,000 feet and is 9 to 13 feet tall. Each structure will provide approximately 150 kilowatt-hours (kwh) of renewable energy harvested through oceanic waves and tides. At approximately 48,000 kwh per day, 15 units will be sufficient for the plant to be fully operational. The separate but coordinated components work as a system to protect and
enhance the critical facility. Each unit forms a basic building block that creates a complete coastal energy protection system, which could be modified with consideration of local specificities and needs. Hybrid Utilities expands on the imaginations and potentials of dualistic coastal protection infrastructure. Indirectly providing social and environmental benefits to the community, the fortified facility operates as a self-sustaining entity, turning vulnerability into opportunity.
Following page: Index and strategic coupling of oceanic power technologies (left) and coastal protection infrastructures (right); based on capacity, configuration, and morphology.
96 01 | tidal breakwater
02 | oscillating wave levee planting
03 | wetland bouy
oscillating water column sluice gates
flexible steel cable floating wetland
polyethylene terep matrix
spray foam plugs
polyethylene terep matrix
core: rock fill 200 - 300 kg
tidal energy harvester
03 | wetland bouy
capture chamber planting
oscillating water column breakwaters
oscillating water column
tidal energy harvester
02 | oscillating wave levee
polyethylene terephthalate matrix polyethylene terephthalate matrix
tide barrage turbines
flexible steel cable
flexible steel cable
anchor spray foam plugs
spray foam plugs core: rock fill 200 - 300 kg
polyethylene terephthalate matrix
tide barrage turbines
core: rock fill 200 - 300 kg
polyethylene terephthalate matrix
tidal energy harvester
oscillating water column
tidal energy harvester
Structural configurations of hybridized tide barrage oceanic power technologies and coastal turbines protection units.
core: rock fill 200 - 300 kg
flexible tether ex. grade
Janice Tung Top: Aerial perspective showing coastal barrier system deployed on site.
Bottom, left: Diagram of operations. Hybrid utilities reorients the functional relationship between the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission and publics (governance, social, and the economy).
Bottom, right: Speculative View of hybrid utilities on a regional scale: continuous coastal barrier or archipelagos of critical infrastructure?
Green Infrastructure Design Guidelines: City of Long Beach
An effective flood-protection plan incorporates several strategies, including barrier walls, wetland buffers, and drainage enhancements. Should one system fail, additional methods of defense can either protect the community or reduce the level of impact. When combined with other strategies, green infrastructure can effectively manage storm water by providing additional outlets for water, and, if flooding occurs, water can recede faster, allowing communities to begin recovery sooner. This project is a set of green infrastructure design guidelines for the township of Long Beach in Ocean County, New Jersey. It is planned to be part of a larger disaster risk-reduction strategy currently set by the township, understanding that this system alone cannot protect Long Beach from storm surge and sea-level rise. Although the guidelines focus on green infrastructure for the street network, they recognize that an integrative approach with additional measures—such as rain gardens, rain barrels, and open spaces—is optimal to reduce water load on the system overall. The surface of Long Beach is 85 percent impervious, causing the majority of storm water to flow to outlets along the bay. When the tide rises, flex valves are unable to open and release storm water into the bay, causing water to pool and flood in “hot spots” along the coast. Key infrastructure (a water filtration plant, an electrical substation, and a hospital) and many lower-income residents (70–80 percent are low- to moderate income, and 76.8 percent are renters) are present in these hot spots, leaving the community especially vulnerable in the event of a flood. The proposed phasing plan aims to reduce flooding as much as possible in Phase I. By implementing green infrastructure
Previous spread: Jacob Riis Park in the New York City borough of Queens is being used as a temporary dumping ground for garbage from Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway, NY, November 2012.
along three main boulevards that run parallel to grade lines, the capacity to hold and infiltrate storm water would be increased, and the volume of water that currently rushes toward the bay would be reduced. Hot spots with critical infrastructure and low-income residents are also scheduled to have green infrastructure installed during Phase I. Phase II focuses on replacing gray infrastructure arterial channels and addressing remaining hot spots. Phase III aims at implementing green infrastructure for the entire road network in Long Beach. The street network is divided into four typologies. The guidelines propose a nondiscriminatory design for each typology, allowing detailed design work that caters to each city block to be incorporated during the construction document phase. The programming includes vegetated swales, infiltration planters, and permeable pavement. Many of the streets in Long Beach are one-way yet very wide, allowing room for large vegetated swales. Three districts in Long Beach, in contrast, have very narrow streets. To maintain much-needed street parking, permeable paving with water storage tanks beneath is proposed, allowing the street to retain parking space while achieving permeability and increasing water capacity. The proposed plant list is derived from plant material found on nearby Fire Island. These plants are native to the region and can withstand salty conditions, flooding, and drought. New pavement should increase permeability and reduce urban heat-island effect. If green infrastructure were installed throughout Long Beach, surface permeability would increase by 10 percent. Permeability of roads would change from zero to 38 percent. The complete system is estimated to hold roughly 39 million cubic feet of rain. Long Beach has a 5 percent chance of experiencing a 1-inch rain event each month. The complete green infrastructure system proposed would hold 66 percent of a 1-inch-rainfall storm event. In addition to flood management, the green infrastructure program includes circulation improvements. Bike lanes are part
Green Infrastructure Design Guidelines
of each typology, ranging from shared to divided bike lanes, depending on the space available and speed of traffic. Promoting a bike-friendly community would reduce road congestion, alleviate parking issues, and allow the addition of bike taxi services for tourists. The landscape improvements would also increase property values, establish a new image for Long Beach, and boost community pride.
Following page: Hot spot locations with key infrastructure and vulnerable populations.
Green Infrastructure Design Guidelines
Above: Phase map aimed at reducing risks and vulnerabilities in Phase I, replacing gray infrastructure arterial channels in Phase II, and installing green infrastructure throughout the city in Phase III.
Following page: Green infrastructure for each typology.
One Staten Island: [Fixed + Flexible] Response System
After Hurricane Sandy, the affected cities and communities experienced a range of response and recovery approaches, with disparate rates of home return and rebuilding. One commonality in the ability of communities to mobilize and facilitate successful post-disaster recoveries was the extent of social ties in the damaged area. Thus this project aims to examine “social capital” as a significant factor in research, planning, and design of disaster-prone sites. Staten Island is an interesting case study: although considered socially cohesive, many of its social networks were insufficiently equipped to mobilize after Sandy, slowing the borough’s ability to respond, recover, and rebuild, and leaving it heavily dependent on outside grassroots organizations and volunteer groups. This project analyzes the underlying reasons for this dynamic and proposes an intervention that will enhance Staten Island’s ability to respond to climate events by building on the assets and social character of the place itself. Social capital accrues by developing networks of individuals, families, communities, institutions, natural environments, and built environments. On Staten Island, strong networks abound, but they often are clustered and lacking in many of the resources that would allow them to mount a coordinated response effort. These social clusters tend to be set in place by the invisible and visible boundaries of demographics, governance, economics, infrastructure, environment, and community culture. For example, the demographics of the various geographic regions of the island are quite distinct. The north shore, compared to the east, west, and south shores, is ethnically more diverse, with a lower average income range. Some boundaries are reinforced by approaches to governance. For the purposes
of city planning, the island is divided into three community boards, while the residents of Staten Island associate themÂselves with neighborhood divisions. Additionally, there are physÂical barriers caused by Staten Islandâ€™s Blue Belt, stormwater management systems, transportation infrastructure, and commercial development. For the suburban island, the public transportation system is also a major issue; the Staten Island Railway, in particular, not only physically bisects the urban fabric but is underutilized given its inefficiency. There is also a need for mobility options such as more pedestrian-friendly access and bicycle networks. Because of its relative geographic remoteness, it can be all the more difficult to organize outside help, as was the case after Sandy. Outside grassroots organizations were first to respond, but because there was a lack of communication and organization on Staten Island, the influx of volunteers were uncertain as to where to go. One successful approach was a system of pop-up resiliency and response hubs generated by volunteers, relief organizations, and the residents themselves. These hubs ranged from tents to abandoned stores, empty lots of destroyed homes, trailers, and open spaces such as parks. This project set out to build on those successful operations, creating ways of connecting neighbors from across various communities to carry out rebuilding efforts once volunteers go home and relief assistance scales back. The research and analysis revealed a need for a strong, cohesive network across Staten Island to act as a base and structure to coordinate outside groups in an event such as Sandy. This proposal would provide a process for coordinating collective action and building on the social capital of Staten Island to increase community resilience and create a more efficient network to help the most people. The project hybridizes a fixed and flexible system, giving the borough a robust, rigid backbone from which to coordinate different types of responses to different types of risks. The link between a built environment that supports everyday social networks and a physical place plays a crucial role in mobilization. Transportation system improvements would allow the network to be physically connected and embedded in everyday activity
One Staten Island
and the urban fabric of the island. The community would then designate sites along the transportation spine to develop as flexible resilience nodes. These sites would have long-term alternative uses based on community needs, but they would have the flexibility to become centers for emergency response. Carrying out this community-based process before a disaster strikes could help train communities in collective decisionmaking processes for the future.
Following page, top: Studies of the social character of Staten Island.
Following page, bottom: Map of community center locations and pop-up response hubs, time line of recovery.
One Staten Island
110 Top: Future pop-up resiliency hubs.
Bottom: Future resiliency network.
Following page: Map and axonometric drawing of the fixed and flexible system.
Henk Ovink is the Principal of Rebuild by Design, a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the former Director General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs in the Netherlands. John Gendall is a New Yorkâ€“based architecture and design critic, and a visiting instructor at the Harvard GSD.
Samuel Carter is an Associate Director for Resilience at the Rockefeller Foundation. Scott Davis is a Senior Advisor to the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Design and Politics Instructors Henk Ovink with John Gendall, Samuel Carter, Scott Davis Report Editors Anya Domlesky, John Gendall Report Design Anya Domlesky A Harvard University Graduate School of Design Publication Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design Mohsen Mostafavi Assistant Dean for Communications Benjamin Prosky Editor in Chief Jennifer Sigler Senior Editor Melissa Vaughn Associate Editor Leah Whitman-Salkin Publications Coordinator Meghan Sandberg Series design by Laura Grey and Zak Jensen
Acknowledgments For generous feedback at mid-review and/or final review, we thank Rahul Mehrotra, Daniel Schrag, James Wescoat, Matthew Wilson, Philippa Brashear, Gonzalo Cruz, Dan D’Oca, Rosetta Elkin, Brie Hensold, Jerold Kayden, Helen Lochhead, Chris Reed, Joyce Klein Rosenthal, Jeremy Alain Siegel, Jamie Torres Springer, Gena Wirth, and Ann Yoachim. Thank you also to Jarrett Ley at the Municipal Art Society. Cover: Seaside Heights Amusement Park, NJ, November 2012. Image Credits All photographs courtesy of FEMA/ photographed by: Patsy Lynch, cover; Jocelyn Augustino, pp. 12–13, 16–17, 34–35, 42–43, 50–51; Liz Roll, pp. 28–29; Eliud Echevarria, pp. 70–71; Howard Greenblatt, pp. 78–79; Andrea Booker, pp. 86–87; Mary Simms, pp. 98–99. The editors have attempted to acknowledge all sources of images used and apologize for any errors or omissions.
ISBN 978-1-934510-43-8 Copyright © 2015, President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Harvard University Graduate School of Design 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 02138 email@example.com gsd.harvard.edu
Studio Report Spring 2014
Harvard GSD Department of Urban Planning and Design
Students Chris Donohue, Daniel Feldman, Natalia Gaerlan, Amanda Huang, Trevor Johnson, Christine Min, Adam Novack, Tianhang Ren, Alison Tramba, Janice Tung, Grace Xu, Jean You Teaching Team Henk Ovink with John Gendall, Samuel Carter, Scott Davis, Anya Domlesky
Design and Politics: Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities, Studio Report, Spring 2014, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructo...
Published on Apr 6, 2015
Design and Politics: Managing Risks and Vulnerabilities, Studio Report, Spring 2014, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructo...