The Barrier Islands are the most responsive stretch of the New Jersey shore, constantly shifting with the energy of sea and storm. Significant development has occurred in recent decades; yet, Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the vulnerability of development on the barrier islands. Although opportunities to attract people and commerce are present today in inland or bay landscapes, the current focus is the beach: the most vulnerable, rapidly changing area. To broaden the experience of the rich barrier island ecosystems and encourage safe sites for future development, the iconic language of the perpendicular beach pier extends into an ecotourism gradient that redefines the coast as the entire ecosystem between the beach and the N.J. Pinelands, leading to migration of development from the barrier island edge to stable inland areas and to growth of a more layered tourism economy. The site for this project includes Seaside Heights, Toms River, and Berkeley Township.
The Headlands are the most exposed stretch of the New Jersey shore, with open ocean views and direct wind and wave action. Today, the beach is shaped and protected for human use only, minimizing its function for the diverse ecology needed for a protective dune landscape and necessitating ongoing sand replenishment. The Boardwalk is an ever-present cultural icon – yet it does little for coastal ecology and remains vulnerable to storm surge. The Headlands design opportunity explores a more organic boardwalk form and topographic section that provides the infrastructure to capture sand and form dunes, creating protection while serving as habitat area for beach wildlife to attract visitors. The boardwalk-dune is coupled with improvement of inland lakes and green infrastructure to absorb surge and improve character. The site for this project is Asbury Park, N.J., chosen for its iconic boardwalk, coastal lakes, diverse population, cultural history and redevelopment energy.
The Inland Bay is the most complex region of the New Jersey shore, where a legacy of industrial uses, densely-populated maritime communities, and increasing integration into the New York City economy intersect with a rich estuarine environment. These multi-layered conditions have different vulnerabilities to storms and sea level rise, making New Jersey’s inland bay resistant to a singular form of intervention. Water culture in the Inland Bay is centered on the marina, for commercial fishing and recreation. Building on its recreational and commercial role, the marina will be joined with marsh functions to enhance coastal protection while providing new sources of value for adjacent ecosystems and communities. In combination with new marina functions, marsh landscapes will be designed to mitigate contamination. The site is the Natco Lake district, which is illustrative of a range of shore conditions and encompasses Union Beach, Keansburg, and the man-made lake between them.
Download the boards presented by Sasaki/Rutgers/Arup in 2013.