WXY/WEST 8 is framing the benefits of a shared approach to coastal protection. Studying systematic and large-scale issues— market failures in the assessment of risk, provision of insurance, and ecological impact, as well as the disproportionate representation of low-income populations in high-vulnerability areas—allows a fuller understanding of the region and nation. This approach leads to investigations of the outermost conditions of the Northeastern American Coastline (its barrier islands, inlets, shorelines and riparian estuaries) and examines a series of prototype transects that run from the shoreline to hinterland, from nature to culture. A multi-layered perspective, where systems of ecology, insurance, and social welfare interact, creates tangible strategies that can withstand the worst impacts of rising waters and storm surges.
The Rebuild by Design process provides opportunity for reflection on how our current choices affect future risk. The design opportunities investigated are an amalgamation of sites with a multitude of design challenges and constraints. With the proper analysis, financial and social awareness, and design input, the focus is on how to rebuild responsibly in the face of future environmental conditions. This approach addresses regional and local scales simultaneously.
The research process acknowledges and highlights the conflicting desires that emerge whenever large geographies and populations are considered simultaneously. This large scale view elucidates a range of opportunities embracing both the status quo and the novel. Any method to shape this landscape involves risk, but both gains and losses can provide benefits. Risks and rewards can be evaluated through computational models that gauge and measure the multidimensional data needed to design higher levels of safety and preparedness into the future.
This transect methodology illustrates the multiple waterfronts found in the region by extending inland from the urban coastline to various networks of rivers, streams, canals and infrastructure. This multi-tier geography is a complex ecological terrain that includes the hydrologic, geologic, transportation, utility, communication, and social systems that define communities.
Each of the design opportunities are best practice geographies to implement our team’s Framework for Shared Coastal Benefits. These design opportunities represent networks of projects that are already connected to engaged communities. We propose to apply our multi-layered defense system, which includes regional and local physical protections, a new insurance paradigm and social/communication strategies in each of these high risk and high opportunity locations.
View the team’s latest project updates on their finalist page.