Will Sandy Finally Convince New York to Re-Design Its Waterfront?

On Avenue C and 14th. Instagram User megetz: “The water came up to my knees when I joined my neighbors on the front stoop.”

Maybe Sandy, the colossal hurricane that has barreled across the East Coast this week, will finally get the message across:  ”We are all from New Orleans Now.”

Thanks to climate change, America’s coastal cities, and particularly , have become increasingly vulnerable to nature’s wrath. Over two years ago, MOMA asked five architects to come up with a redesign of lower Manhattan that would prevent damage in the event of major flooding. Barry Bergdoll, the Curator of the “” exhibit, put it to the architects this way: “Your mission is to come up with images that are so compelling they can’t be forgotten and so realistic that they can’t be dismissed.”

Unfortunately, they were. As the many images from traditional news sources and social media users reveal, Sandy’s damage has been extensive – and perhaps, in many ways, preventable.

It often takes tragedy to instigate change. Let’s hope that Sandy will finally get the conversation of New York’s vulnerable urban landscape on to the table.

More images of Sandy’s damage, as well as plans from MOMA’s “Rising Currents” Exhibit, after the break…

Twitter User: @c_heller “Another photo out of Breezy Point. The damage is stupefying. (Frank Franklin II, AP) http://twitpic.com/b8sg51″
Twitter User @kristengwynne “This photo of FDR drive under water is the best I got so far pic.twitter.com/cvfrAM2M”
Instagram User @time “Water pours into a parking garage on Avenue C in Manhattan @michaelchristopherbrown #photography #photojournalism #documentary #hipstamatic #mobilephotography #streetphotography #iphoneonly #hurricanesandy #sandy #manhattan #storm #parkinggarage”
Instagram User @time “time #sandbags line the waterfront of downtown #jerseycity #newjersey with the unfinished Freedom Tower towering over lower #manhattan across the roiling #hudson #river”
Flickr User MTAPhotos “Floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy enter the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (former Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel). Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the tunnel closed at 2 p.m. on Monday, October 29, 2012.”
Potential sites that MOMA’s “Rising Currents” Exhibit isolated for re-design. These zones have been heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
A potential plan, exhibited two years ago at MOMA, that would help to alleviate storm damage in New York.
Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Will Sandy Finally Convince New York to Re-Design Its Waterfront?" 30 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 15 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=288455>


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    You mentioned the main problem in need of a solution at the beginning of the article;
    “Thanks to climate change, America’s coastal cities, and particularly New York, have become increasingly vulnerable to nature’s wrath.”

    Until the US stops listening to climate denial and makes serious changes, you can build all the defences you want, they won’t stop everything (particularly when crop yields are starting to drop).

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    Exactly. NYC, like many coastal metro-areas, runs on an infrastructure that is 100 plus years old and maxed out regarding its capacity and MTBF. Takes the adage “out of sight, out of mind” to a new level. ‘Best look down before considering a build-up, nature just gave you a wake up call.

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    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    Right Treip! Architectural ideology seems to want to turn a blind eye to the reality. Density definitely plays a vital role in not only the level of devastation but presents a daily problem for many who live in such cities…Especially the poor. But don’t worry we’ll all blame global warming instead.

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