Resilient Waterfront Landscapes of New York for Abitare

Resilient New York: Sea levels are rising and the American metropolis is one of the most at risk. Through works already in place and projects for the future, we look at how the landscape of the coast is changing as its interface with the water is softened and it returns to some extent to its origins, leaving room for marshes, perennial plants and a new and varied fauna. Abitare, January, 2019.

ONE THING IS OVERWHELMINGLY CLEAR FROM LISTENING TO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS advising New York City on planning and building for rising seas. Water will flow through the city. It always has, but there will be much more of it, overwhelming infrastructure systems. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy served as a warning, inundating low-lying areas along the 52 miles of waterfront. In the future, we would do better letting it flow, controlling it less, giving it gentler and a greater variety of ways to be absorbed by the city. Across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, the city is spending $20 billion on its OneNYC resiliency program. The future is all about wetlands, tidal landscapes, soft edges, and water retaining swales. This is true even where dense, booming condo developments install thousands of units of new housing on the shore. Water will roll up graded slopes to the foot of towers until it pushes back into the sea and be absorbed by parks, community gardens, parklets, tree plantings, and softened streetscapes.