An intricate mix of water-based and land-based resiliency measures will be needed to protect America’s economic core, to develop new housing along Brooklyn’s coastline, and to further grow the tourism infrastructure in the Upper New York Bay (Lower Manhattan, Governor’s island, Liberty Park). It would be a missed opportunity to not consider these dramatic changes in the Upper Bay from a comprehensive perspective, trying to link now disparate parts into one strong vision.
The Red Hook community of Brooklyn suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. As noted in SIRR, most of Red Hook is within the second-most hazardous FEMA flood zone, and it is bordered by the most dangerous category, which indicates that the water near Red Hook may rise to waves above three feet in the event of a flood. Significant investments are needed in Red Hook to buffer against flooding and storm surge, regulate and retrofit existing buildings, harden and diversify critical Infrastructure, and revitalize commerce.
Planning for growth in Red Hook through a Resilient Community District strategy would deeply engage local stakeholders to find the right balance of diverse land uses. The RCD would prioritize creating spectacular public waterfront parks, which become the organizing element for substantial new affordable housing and a variety of other housing choices, enhanced transit connections to job centers of Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, continued working waterfront industry that leverages Red Hook’s irreplaceable maritime infrastructure, and spurring food service and other small creative industry to support hospitality, tourism and other new uses on Governors Island and elsewhere in the burgeoning destination that is the New York Harbor District.