WB unabridged with Yale ARCADIS
Bridgeport, Connecticut

Finalist Project

Resilient Bridgeport is a prototype for the region’s coastal cities that consists of a resilience framework and specific design proposals. It focuses on how to protect Bridgeport against climate change and flooding caused by storm surge and rainfall, while stimulating environmental restoration, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization.

The resilience framework is a set of integrated coastal, urban, and riparian design strategies and planning principles. It takes into account short-term and long-term trends, and provides a comprehensive approach to infrastructure planning and risk management. The design proposals are place-specific design solutions ranging from green streets in upland areas to wetland park buffers in coastal areas. Included, too, are places throughout the city that provide safety and services in times of storm and instruct people on how to transition to a way of living and thriving with water.

Each proposal demonstrates three key principles of the resilience framework. First: integrated lines of resilience are critical to inhabiting the coast, with site and district level measures complementing engineered solutions and natural buffers. Second: the city’s coastal and riparian edges are productive places of exchange, and the restoration of these zones can be the basis for a revived regional ecology and economy. Third: Bridgeport’s identity is founded upon the relationship of its people and industries to its watercourses, estuaries, and beaches. Reclaiming this identity and redefining what it means to live at the water’s edge are critical to the city’s safety and long-term prospects.

Bridgeport Resilience Framework: Resilient Bridgeport is a comprehensive and integrative plan and process for resilience.

Directly south of downtown, the South End is a place with both spectacular resources and extreme vulnerabilities. To protect the neighborhood, the University of Bridgeport, and historic Seaside Park, and to better connect these assets to downtown, the plan proposes to elevate Singer Street, build a waterfront berm in Seaside Park, and establish offshore breakwaters.

The South End Resilience Education and Community Center serves the neighborhood’s 12,600 residents with a wide range of community-driven programming, catalyzing the transformation of the neighborhood at a key gateway. The center provides uses ranging from workforce training and a fresh food co-op to a healthcare clinic, senior activities center, and child care. During severe weather, the center provides shelter capacity for 1,500 people, using self-sufficient utilities. Offering a model for resilient architectural strategies, the center also leverages the planned $150 million redevelopment of public housing at nearby Marina Village.

Diverse local and regional stakeholders have participated in developing this resilience framework for Bridgeport. Workshops with community partners, ongoing conversations with government officials, design charrettes with critical stakeholders, and a series of public open houses and educational activities with both youth and adults have been instrumental in shaping the design team’s work. Each event has been an opportunity to share water management strategies and principles for resilient design with the community, empowering citizens to engage in the conversation about their city’s future.

Download a PDF of the team’s final competition boards here.

View a PDF of the team’s full proposal here.



Action for Community Development (ABCD), Amtrak, the Bridgeport Area Youth Ministry (BAYM), Bridgeport Board of Education, Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC), Bridgeport Daycare, Child First, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), The Coastal YMCA, the Downtown Special Services District, Environmental Protection Agency, Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF), Hill Neighborhood House (NHN), the Housatonic Community College, Long Island Sound Futures, the Metis Association, Metro North, National Parks and Historic Preservation, Nature Conservancy, the University of Bridgeport, New Haven Home Recovery (NHHR), the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, State of Connecticut Historic Preservation and Museum Division, US Fish and Wildlife, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Department of Agriculture, US Department of Transportation, US Fish and Wildlife, The WorkPlace/Career Resources, the Yale Urban Design Workshop