The unprecedented weather phenomenon of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was a sober indicator that the inevitable effects of rising sea levels resulting from global warming foreshadowed a precarious future for coastal urban neighborhoods in New York City. While many planners and designers saw the need to set higher goals for achieving sustainability and resiliency in the physical design of our cities, we also now understood that for certain neighborhoods it would not be enough to incorporate planning and design techniques for resilience with the hope of withstanding the effects of future storms. After Sandy, we recognized that these particularly vulnerable areas must also be adapted to confront head-on the immediate effects of future storms so that they can continue to function in a state of emergency. Our goal was to provide a network of interventions that would allow mitigation of damage along with the creation of safe exit corridors and the means with which to evacuate a neighborhood.
The neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn in New York City is an active shipping port and semi-isolated neighborhood, devoid of subway service. The neighborhood, before and after the storm, has experienced significant changes mainly caused by the migration of young working people and the presence of new commercial businesses, notably an Ikea along the waterfront. The neighborhood was devastated by flooding from the storm.
Recognizing the youth demographics, deficient mass transit service and popular bicycle use, the RRA proposes a planned network of interconnected dedicated pathways for retreating and evacuating from future storms. Each pathway is designed to have its own character reflecting its use, each designed with a unique profile and architectural identity. Due to the trade imbalance, we know that of every 100 containers that crossed from Asia to North America, 60 return empty. The shipping container is proposed for reuse as a street kiosk providing public amenities including bicycle garages but also repair shops, cafe kiosks, interpretative centers, newsstands, flower stands, etc. These street additions might serve as locks to allow for safe corridors for evacuation in the event of future storm surges. The flexible, cost-effective design provides urban infrastructure elements that enrich public life while becoming storm mitigation devices when flood emergency arise. The larger elements of the plan that are located further inland serve as meeting points, recharging stations and bicycle depots.
1. Drybox USA Shipping Container
2. Dirtt Millwork
3. Urban Racks Bicycle Parking Systems
4. Illy Prefab Coffee Bar
5. Bendheim Laminated Glass