Ten proposed designs for improving the tri-state region's resiliency post-Superstorm Sandy were released on Thursday night, giving residents a glimpse at what New York City's communities most vulnerable to extreme weather could look like.
Responding to a call for "innovative planning and design" that would promote resiliency in Sandy's aftermath, more than 140 submissions were whittled down to 10 designs that incorporated local stakeholders and government entities who would were ravaged by the storm in 2012.
"There’s no question: Superstorm Sandy made clear just how vulnerable we are when it comes to climate change," Mayor Bill de Blasio said upon release of the designs. "The risks are real – and growing – and it’s vital that we continue to innovate toward a stronger and more resilient New York."
One proposal called the Big U is described as a "protective system around Manhattan" that wraps from West 57th Street down to Battery Park and back up to East 42nd Street.
The Coast Guard Battery Building at the island's southernmost end would turn into a maritime museum or educational site that would feature a "reverse aquarium" that serves as both a flood barrier and an observation space.
Another design would install barriers called breakwaters along Staten Island's South Shore that — instead of just serving as sea walls — would also serve as habitats for local sea life.
Each stretch of breakwaters would also come with an educational hub that could also house local businesses and services.
The conceptualizations were borne out of a Rebuild by Design, a joint venture from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development launched last summer.
"Climate change is presenting unprecedented threats to communities across the country," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a statement, calling the contest "a model for how we can use public-private partnerships to spur innovation, protect our communities from the effects of climate change, and inspire action in cities across the world."