Observer: Hurricane Sandy was the most devastating storm ever to hit New York, causing an estimated $32 billion in economic losses for the state and $19 billion in the city. And, as we know, storms of that magnitude have not stopped coming, and are only expected to worsen. Now, Lower Manhattan could be the first to test out an innovative system that is being proposed as a way to protect cities from rising sea levels and future storms. Called “Humanhattan 2050,” a visionary project by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) that’s on view in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the project not only proposes new infrastructure to safeguard the waterfront for the next hundred years, it will also make these spaces more accessible and enjoyable. It will hopefully serve as the first in a long line of projects that will not only protect our cities, but integrate those protection systems in a way that improves social use of public space.
Initially conceived as a proposal for the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s design competition Rebuild by Design, BIG’s project emerged as one of the six winners—including Interboro Partners and Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)—that were granted funding. In this iteration, the project was named “The BIG U,” and consists of a protective system that elevates and activates the low-lying coastline from Manhattan’s East 42nd Street, south to the Battery and up to West 57th Street. Continue reading here>>