Change Alley

information, opinion, conversation

What If New York City…..

with 3 comments

whatif.jpg

….. were hit by a Category 3 Hurricane?

In New York City, over eight million people live on land that has 578 miles of waterfront. By 2030, the population is expected to reach nine million. At the same time, global climate change has put New York City at an increased risk for a severe coastal storm. In recent years, storms have become more intense, occur more frequently, and continue farther north than they have historically. The city would face many challenges during and after such a storm; one of the most difficult is the possibility that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their homes.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management is sponsoring an open competition to generate solutions for post-disaster provisional housing. “What if New York City…” is a call for innovation and an opportunity for designers and policy-makers to collaborate on one of the biggest challenges facing densely settled urban areas after a disaster: how do we keep people safely and comfortably housed while reconstruction proceeds?

A jury of experts in the fields of architecture, design, urbanism, and government will choose ten entrants who will be awarded $10,000 each and technical support to develop their proposals into workable solutions. These solutions will provide support for New York’s most vulnerable communities and be a precedent for dense urban areas all over the world.
This design competition will rely on a fictional but realistic New York City neighbourhood devastated by a hypothetical Category 3 hurricane. How will residents resume their lives? How can they be provided safe, comfortable living space? How can this housing be quickly deployed and adapted to different site conditions? How can it be reused in subsequent emergencies, environmentally sustainable, and cost effective?

‘What If New York City ….’ Home Page

Such a shame that coastal cities in developing countries around the world, desperate to prepare themselves for the same risks as NYC, don’t have the same level of resources to run a competition like this. I suppose that once the winning solution has been implemented, the Americans will be happy to share …. at a price.

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Written by Pete Smith

October 4, 2007 at 9:15 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Yes, I don’t doubt there’ll be a price to pay. Some kind of bribery in the form of the needy country being “asked” to support US foreign policy. It’s not like the American government hasn’t done it before with its so-called benevolence.

    earthpal

    October 4, 2007 at 9:43 pm

  2. My kids like their pop up tent.

    I guess if it’s combined as a 2 in 1 design so that it serves as a instant inflatable for escape, then deflates to pop back up as tented accommodation, that might get me a prize. And every home can have one attached to their wall, next to the fire extinguisher, ready for this hurricane 3.

    Interesting idea this competition. Guess it has been motivated by the New Orleans (shame on the US name) disaster.

    matt

    October 5, 2007 at 8:10 am

  3. Open competitions are quite common for large and/or prestige architectural projects, like the Ground Zero site. This is at the opposite end of the architectural scale. What’s interesting for me is the complete acceptance of the probability of a major hurricane in NYC, and its links to climate change. It also highlights the problems of coping with such a disaster in high-density urban settings. The conventional trailer park solution gives an average density of 10 households per acre, compared with 200 households per acre in a typical Manhattan block. They just don’t have the space. The density of the New Orleans Superdome “solution” can only be guessed at.

    Pete Smith

    October 5, 2007 at 8:52 am


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