Background

Developed by: PennDesign/OLIN with HR&A Advisors, eDesign Dynamics, Level Infrastructure, Barretto Bay Strategies, McLaren Engineering Group, Philip Habib & Associates, Buro Happold

The Hunts Point peninsula is a single square mile of the South Bronx in New York City, and serves as the hub of the food supply for 22 million people in the Northeast U.S.,  housing its produce, fish, and meat markets. Its $5 billion annual economy provides over 20,000 jobs to the region. Directly adjacent to the industrial area is a vibrant residential community cut off from its waterfront by thousands of daily truck trips. Residents of Hunts Point are located in the poorest congressional district in the United States and have little access to fresh food from the wholesale markets, often exasperating health disparities.  

Although Hurricane Sandy’s arrival at low tide spared much of Hunts Point, the area is nonetheless vulnerable to flooding. Climate change and sea level rise are threat multipliers to a neighborhood already challenged by poverty, isolation, and environmental degradation.

Location: Hunts Point, Bronx, NYC

Award: $20 Million

Implemented By: NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, New York City Economic Development Corporation

Proposal

 The Hunts Point Lifelines proposal outlines four “Lifelines” that demonstrate a working waterfront that could be replicated in maritime industrial areas across the region.

Flood Protection “Levee Lab”: Flood protection that keeps a modernizing food hub dry is integrated with a waterfront greenway for residents to walk, bike, or jog.  A “Levee Lab” of flood protection interventions, designed ecologies, and applied material research creates a string of platforms over the water for recreation, which in turn improves public health, and brings awareness and access to the waterfront.

Livelihoods: New techniques for construction, maintenance, and research for the “Levee Lab” ensure the community can participate in building its protective infrastructure by providing jobs and training to residents.  

Maritime Emergency Supply Lines: New pier infrastructure on the site of a marine transfer station can build on emerging federal programs to create marine highways for delivering vital goods and supplies to East Coast waterfront communities when roads are impassable.

Cleanways: A tri-generation plant could create low-cost, low-carbon cooling and a micro-grid island in an emergency when the City’s main grid goes down. A series of strategies could be introduced to refocus the neighborhood around transit and connect residents to the waterfront greenway.

Progress on Implementation

The federal government awarded $20 million for a “Hunts Point Resiliency” pilot project, grown out of the Lifelines proposal. The City of New York has allocated an additional $25 million in funding. After a year-long community engagement process, two priority categories were identified for feasibility studies: flood risk reduction and resilient energy. The City decided to pursue a pilot project to provide resilient power for critical backup generation at food distribution centers. New York City also plans to seek additional funding for a flood risk reduction project, and for a longer-term resilient energy project.

Click here for the project website>>

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