MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN with Deltares; 75B; and Volker Infra Design

REGIONAL PROJECT: A DELTA OF RESILIENCY DISTRICTS

The team of MIT CAU + ZUS + Urbanisten proposes a grouping of resiliency districts at the edges of the flood zones of the metro area of NY-NJ. Each resiliency district will have its own layered approach that combines emergency infrastructure, evacuation capacity, ecological protection/absorption landscape infrastructure; as well as a development mix of light manufacturing/warehousing with residential. Every dollar of federal investment should help address a wide portfolio of risks – storm surge, rainwater events, and heat islands; and cover a spectrum of vulnerabilities – economic, social, and pollution.

Combining geo-referenced data on both risk and vulnerability spectra, we conclude that crucial investments are at river deltas, where rising seawater can penetrate inward and urban stormwater flows outward. Most importantly, the low-lying flood zones of these deltas contain, almost without exception, a disturbing combination of critical infrastructures, polluted land and compromised ecosystem services, and vulnerable neighborhoods. The densest juxtapositions can be found in the metropolitan area of NY-NJ. Roughly 2.5 million people live in the flood zone in New York City /Greater Jersey Area. Roughly 66% of the most vulnerable populations (2.5 Standard deviations from the mean) live 1/2 mile from the FEMA Flood Zone. About 29% of the most vulnerable populations (2.5 Standard deviations from the mean) live in the FEMA Flood Zones. 39 of the 52 liquid fuel storage terminals in the NY/NJ area are located within the flood plain and these contain 80% of the total area fuel. 75% of the net annual generation comes from 27 power stations that are in flood zones.

Across the metro area we have identified crucial flood zone landscapes whose performance and ecosystem dynamics have been lost over time due to development pressures. These landscapes are in the Meadowlands (NJ), the western edge of the Hudson river (NJ), parts of lower Manhattan (NY), and the creeks of Brooklyn/Bronx (NY).

One million new inhabitants are projected to join the metropolitan area over the next decade. While it makes sense from an energy and sustainability point of view to invite them to join the urban compact zones, locating them in the few remaining open low-lying areas without major upgrades to its design and performance is not an intelligent choice.

For the MIT team, Professors D’Hooghe, Alan Berger, Sarah Williams and James Wescoat have contributed to this report. For ZUS, Kristian Koreman, Elma van Boxel an for De Urbanisten Florian Boer and Dirk van Peijpe contributed. Graphic support comes from 75B, eco-engineering knowledge from Deltares and infra intelligence from Volker Infra Design.

View the team’s latest project updates on their finalist page.

Winning Proposal

New Meadowlands: Productive City + Regional Park

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN
The Meadowlands, New Jersey

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN with Deltares; 75B; and Volker Infra Design

The New Meadowlands project articulates an integrated vision for protecting, connecting, and growing this critical asset to both New Jersey and the metro­politan area of New York. Integrating transportation, ecology, and development, the project transforms the Meadowlands basin to address a wide spectrum of risks, while providing civic amenities and creating opportunities for new redevelopment.

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Design Process

Finalist Proposal

Other Proposals by MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN

Jersey City East to Hoboken

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN
New Jersey

Parts of this zone - with socially vulnerable neighborhoods and nearby residual pollution - have flooded substantially. We see design opportunities along Montgomery Street in Jersey City from the Armory (on the ridge) to City Hall, connecting vulnerable neighborhoods and empty lots. In addition, it might make sense to study a bridge connection from Lower Manhattan to the ridges of Jersey City, as a means of access or evacuation.

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Lower East Side

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN
New York

The Lower East Side's flooding vulnerability is caused by both an inadequate sewer system and occasional storm water surges. The team proposes a combined water collection basin that receives storm water and will store/absorb volumes of water during stress. Public emergency amenities, technologically advanced absorption capacity, and landscape infrastructural edges will be integrated into the current blocks and river edge parks.

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MAKING RESILIENT DISTRICTS

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN

The first opportunity concerns the continuation and elaboration of our regional study, in order to both enhance the connection between these flood zones, whilst simultaneously providing evacuation routes to the ridges and high points between them. We propose to upgrade, adapt, and transform the flood zones and their edges into an armature for our resiliency districts, concentrating and adding development in specific opportunity zones along these edges, while building out a robust ecological landscape infrastructure ...

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NEWTOWN CREEK: SUPERUSE DISTRICT

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN
New York

We propose to create a landscape infrastructural berm that will be high enough to give access to the second floor of existing or new structures and can connect major residential districts to the river. We envision a neighborhood with clean, light manufacturing at the ground level, connected via the street grid to I-495; while a second level of landscape adds an elevated public circulation system - a softer version of the green line allowing for ...

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