Innovations in Resilience along the Water’s Edge

Magazine of the Urban Land Institute

With sea levels rising and catastrophic storms and flooding becoming more frequent and severe, waterfront cities need to reinvent themselves to protect land, buildings, infrastructure, and people. At the 2015 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, panelists discussed projects that tackle these challenges in ways that enhance public safety and also create value.

Cathy Simon, design principal with Perkins + Will, mentioned several promising models for green infrastructure at the water’s edge, including Brooklyn Bridge Park. “It’s an amazing park, but it’s also resilient,” she said. “It uses topography and an almost didactic design concept.” Salvaged pieces of granite form an amphitheater stepping up a hillside, providing protection from sea-level rise and storm surges on the East River. “It is resilient, but it’s also an amphitheater, which is about the pleasure of being in a place like this—of looking and being with other people, of engagement.”

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