We propose a protective system around Manhattan from West 54th street south to The Battery and up to East 40th street: 8 continuous miles of low-lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. US infrastructure traditionally has not been civic or accessible, but rather, it has been imposed on our cities at large scale with sometimes terrible consequences for the urban experience. How can we combine the mandate of large-scale protective infrastructure with meaningful community engagement? How can we manifest the requirements of a ‘Robert Moses’ hard infrastructure combined with the local community-driven sensitivity of Jane Jacobs? The multivalent ‘U’ consists of multiple but linked design opportunities; each on different scales of time, size and investment; each local neighborhood tailoring its own set of programs, functions, and opportunities. Small, relatively simple projects maintain the resiliency investment momentum post-Sandy, while setting in motion the longer-term solutions that will be necessary in the future.