Flood Protection With Design in Mind

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The BIG Bjarke Ingels Group is proposing floodgates that provide green space The BIG Bjarke Ingels Group is proposing floodgates that provide green space (Rebuild by Design Project/flickr)

New York is no longer New Amsterdam, but now it's looking to its European sister city for advice on flood protection.

Faced with the task of rebuilding after Sandy, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan collaborated with Henk Ovink, a Dutch expert in spatial planning and water repairs. The two created the Rebuild by Design project, a competition to create initiatives that will better prepare the eastern seaboard for disasters like Sandy.

The project has produced ideas such as floodgates that double as public art. The finalists worked with vulnerable communities to create protective solutions that also provide social benefits.

"You have to start with the people, and the problems the people face," Ovink said.

Daniel Kidd is on one of ten teams in the final round. His group focused on protecting Lower Manhattan.

"It is always going to be protective and social on some level," Kidd said. "It's something you can use, something that 364 days out of the year, it's just a nice place to be. And then that one time where you have that risk of a 100-year flood or 500-year flood, it saves the city."


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