April 11, 2021
Fight or Flight? Rethinking the Urban Footprint
DfRR Program Series on Managed Retreat
Illya Azaroff, FAIA, and Gretchen Bank, Associate AIA, Co-chairs
“Fight or Flight? Rethinking the Urban Footprint” is a six-part series that will address how the urgency of climate change requires design professionals to rethink the built environment. Rising seas, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires are among the environmental stressors that will continue to affect communities throughout the United States and the world. We are now confronted with the urgent need of creating relocation strategies for individual households, communities, and cities.
As architects, planners, landscape architects, and related professionals, it is our ethical responsibility to integrate thinking about relocation into our practices. The extreme complexity of the economic, social, and environmental impacts associated with climate migration and relocation will be a large part of this conversation, along with equity and environmental justice. We recognize that it is incumbent upon us to find appropriate pathways forward as swiftly as possible, and to continue these conversations.
- Session One – Fight or Flight? Communicating Science, Risk, and Urgency – December 14, 2020
- Session Two – Fight or Flight? Overcoming the Crisis of Climate Grief – January 21, 2021
- Session Three – Fight or Flight? Pathways from Around the World – March 16, 2021
- Session Four – Fight or Flight? Navigating Roadmaps to Success – April 1, 2021
- Session Five – Fight or Flight? Stemming the Tide – June 4, 2021
- Session Six – Fight or Flight? Climate Justice and Equity – June 11, 2021
In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Illya Azaroff, as AIANYS Disaster Coordinator, convened the cross-sector AIANY-NYS Unified Crisis Task Force within days of New York’s COVID-19 response shutdown. The Task Force provided immediate needs response coordination to the City, State, and AIA membership. Those responses included identifying more than 1,000 buildings suitable for hospital and emergency expansion with the New York State Department of State (DOS) and AIA members; PPE production and delivery statewide; liaisons to healthcare architects and engineers with the Department of Health (DOH); working with restaurants on outdoor dining solutions, and coordinating with ASHRAE’s National Task Force on building advisories. The Unified Task Force is currently sharing best practices nationally.
October 30, 2019
On the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, AIANY’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) would like to highlight the Post-Sandy Initiative publication released a few short months after the storm affected the region in such significant, paradigm-shifting ways.
The initiative brought together stakeholders from across the AEC industry, city agencies, federal agency representatives, and community leadership to create a robust set of recommendations aimed at advancing the city and the region toward a resilient future—as relevant today as in 2012.
We have made much progress in the past seven years, yet much remains to be done to accomplish the collective goals set out in the report.
The document remains a cornerstone of the idea of building resilient capacity—for New York City and its enormous metro area, as well as for other cities around the United States and the world that are struggling to gain traction against the effects of climate change
We invite you to read the report and its Executive Summary as one way to understand how we might create a blueprint for better design planning, mitigation, and adaptation as we move forward in this era of rapid climate change.
November 10, 2017
“We are all here in pursuit of a viable future.”
This was the sobering introduction, offered by Spritzer School of Architecture Professor Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, to “Everything Water 4.0: The Role of Water in Shaping Our Future,” at the Center for Architecture. The day-long symposium was the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee’s fourth and final event in its series devoted to exploring the connections between civilization and the liquid humans can’t live with too much of, yet can’t live without.
Held just weeks before the fifth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy flooding New York City, closing its subways and hospitals and killing more than 50 citizens—and in the midst of a particularly brutal hurricane season—“Everything Water” sought to provoke action. “We know [climate change] is happening,” Brown said. “But we’re not talking about it.”
The day’s panels of architects, nonprofit directors, lobbyists, and scientists did just that, arguing that while it may be too late to mitigate the worst of climate change’s many threats to the viability of our future, we can, and must, adapt to them.
Panelists noted small-scale, rapid responses available to communities faced with chronic storms, like a push to build concrete shelters in Bangladesh discussed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Robert Olshanksy, FAICP, that, in the face of systemic infrastructure challenges, will at least reduce the death toll from cyclone storm surges. David Waggonner II, FAIA, of Waggonner & Ball and Concordia’s Steven Bingler detailed larger municipal efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans, including the Unified New Orleans Plan, which enshrines power sharing, constant prototyping, and heterogeneous knowledges into a city-wide strategy, and the construction of the floating New Harmony High school on a barge in Plaquemines Parish. When it comes to the existential threat of flooding and subsidence, Binger said, “We can’t levy our way out it.”
Carter Craft, Senior Economic Officer at the Consulate General of The Netherlands, offered a long list of what he called “worries,” including his belief that New York City is currently faced with “a cultural inability to look at infrastructure.” On a panel devoted to “Security and Risk,” Princeton’s Michael Oppenheimer noted that New York has designated much of the post-Sandy money for simple repairs, not long-term planning for what will happen when the rivers rise again. “The incentives in the system are perverse,” responded The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman. Alan Rubin of Blank Rome Government Relations agreed, saying, “The science is there. Social injustices will be dealt with. The issue is political will.”
How to summon it? Margaret Klein Salamon’s Climate Mobilization project recommends examining how Americans rallied together during WWII for strategies. Dutch firm Dura Vermeer’s Hein Versteegen discussed the Room for the River program, in which the government bought flooded lands from farmers and “brought it back to nature,” creating recreational areas in river bypasses. “Our disasters became our trade,” he said. Closer to home, the American Littoral Society’s Pim Van Hemmen offered “nature-based solutions” to coastal erosion in New Jersey and Long Island, including whelk shell oyster reefs and helping local communities restore their own beach dune systems.
Two panelists discussed more ambitious ideas: Grimshaw’s Andrew Whalley, AIA, explored plans for an entirely self-sufficient pavilion in the Dubai Expo 2020 which harnesses reverse osmosis, robot cleaners, and “trees” that passively and actively generate water and electricity. Salamon talked about Los Angeles’s goal to become a zero-emission city, saying with approval that it “strains the power of the possible.”
Most agreed on a few elements to reduce that strain: existing residents in threatened areas must take part in defining the risks of both staying and leaving, and how and where they should live. Design solutions should integrate multiple community concerns, not just replace existing structures, and should be promoted in ways that overcome built-in distrust of government and emphasize amenities.
Each of these elements is key to the kinds of proposals put forth by the international design competition Rebuild by Design, praised by the event’s keynote speaker Henk Ovink, the Netherlands’ Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. Begun in Sandy’s wake, Rebuild by Design has expanded to 100 cities where Ovink hopes to replicate the collaborative spirit, he says, “without the disaster of Sandy.”
Avoiding disasters might be the best-case scenario, many panelists agreed. At the end of the day, Brown noted that at least the symposium “gave us, all the town criers, more to cry about.”
October 30, 2017
On the evening of October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Its size, strength, and timing with high tide created an unprecedented natural disaster for our city and region. By the time the storm surge receded, 43 New Yorkers had lost their lives, 2 million people were without power, and $19 billion in damage had been done.
As we approach the fifth anniversary this weekend, we know many of you will be thinking of this milestone and the state of resilience planning in New York. MAS has compiled below a list of events related to the Sandy anniversary—commemorations, conversations, and opportunities to come together with friends and neighbors.
And if you were not able to join us for the MAS Summit for New York City earlier this month, we invite you to watch our sessions on resilience.
For More on This Click HERE.
Fri, 6/11/21, 9:00am
Fri, 6/4/21, 9:00am
Thu, 4/1/21, 6:00pm
Tue, 3/16/21, 6:00pm
Mon, 2/22/21, 4:00pm