Using garbage containers as a Manhattan storm barrier

The plan calls for placing garbage containers along the Manhattan shoreline to mitigate floodwaters. Credit: [CONTAINED]
The plan calls for placing garbage containers along the Manhattan shoreline to mitigate floodwaters. Credit: [CONTAINED]
Of all the proposed ways to protect New York City from the floodwaters another storm like Superstorm Sandy could bring, one stands out as perhaps the strangest: What if we surrounded Manhattan with shipping containers full of garbage to keep the water out?

The concept was devised by Arianna Aremlli, David Sepulveda and Ishaan Kumar, a team of New York architects who recently competed for the ONE Prize, an annual award for environmentally minded design and architecture.

This year’s contest focused on storm-proofing cities, and the team, having just lived through Sandy, decided to focus on Manhattan.

Their work, dubbed [CONTAINED], mixes flood safety with an economic vision for the future of the island’s shoreline. The team envisions a narrow canal around Manhattan, with a kind of miniature city of shipping containers on the other side. The bottom layer would act as a floating landfill, storing the island’s trash, and on top would be businesses, residences and places of industry – all of which could act as a buffer against storm surges.

“We wanted to kill two birds with one stone. The shoreline in Manhattan was built on industries, and throughout the years tourism took over the shoreline,” Sepulveda said. “So, it’s an economic issue, as well as an ecological issue, because of Hurricane Sandy. We wanted to tackle both.”

[CONTAINED] raises some potentially serious issues. For instance, isn’t depositing garbage into the river – even if it is kept safely within steel containers – an environmental disaster waiting to happen? The team acknowledges this, but believes that the city could mitigate the risk through careful monitoring, including sorting trash so nothing potentially toxic makes it into the water, and repurposing and recycling as much of the waste as possible. “We’re not proposing to surround New York with garbage. One layer is really all you need to storm-proof the city,” Kumar said. “There could also be a lot of either recycling, or taking the garbage and turning it into something else.”

There’s also the problem of aesthetics. Surrounding the city with giant metal boxes, some would argue, is simply ugly, and would destroy Manhattan’s view of the rivers. That’s a criticism the group welcomes. In their politically charged vision, [CONTAINED] would give waterfront access to the working-class people who populate their container villages. According to Armelli, the working person was pushed out when Manhattan’s waterfront abandoned industry in favor of high-rise apartment buildings.

“We love when people worry that it would ruin views of the shoreline. That’s the No. 1 response we want,” Armelli said.

“I, the working man who created this city, doesn’t have the benefit of those views, or of that residential status; it’s unfortunate. If they’re going to make the city work, then they should have the benefit. And you guys lost the views, and we’re sorry about that, but we have to protect the city at some point.”

Ultimately, [CONTAINED] is probably too radical a proposal to make it beyond the hypothetical stage, and its architects are fine with that. “Our agenda was to create a political buzz,” said Armelli.

For more stories like this, visit AnimalNewYork.com. 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.