Big ideas and long term strategies were discussed. Most poignant and relevant to our efforts to ORLI and the 3C Competition the topic of community planning and resilience was brought up multiple times. Deborah Gans of Pratt Institute offered a question to the Shelter Panel posing if the scale of the individual home was enough to deal with flooding, a general consensus was in this case looking at the scale of the neighborhood block could not be ruled our in mitigation. Political and property boundaries do not conform to the natural topography and patterns, especially brought out by Hurricane Sandy.
In the Waste and Water segment, the importance of urban porosity was discussed at length emphasizing, a natural solution including bio-swales, water filtration and retention were far more cost effective and effective than ‘grey’ engineered solutions. These ideas must be though of for the smart rebuilding and future development of coastal communities.
In the Parks and Recreation segment, strategies about both vegetation and social impacts and possibilities were presented. Street trees and the damage to them were spoken about. Ideas about replanting street trees in smarter patterns where they can grow better as a group were discussed.
The Shelter group brought up the problem of raising structures and entire neighborhoods and the impact that will have on New York City. NYCHA properties were talked about in detail concerning their future and potential of rebuilding those properties to resist flooding and smartly devise a site plan to mitigate future flooding. Another great topic brought up was about Multi family housing currently not included in any FEMA guideline. Also the point that ADA regulations are practically incompatible with FEMA requirements will force a discussion a possible policy changes. Finally points about zoning for Zone A should be increased to encourage more density enticing resilient redevelopment of the effected areas. Also the idea that Zone A could be turned into a special zoning district to help encourage the proper changes was floated.
Overall its was a very informative and packed event. Many great ideas were shared and discussed. Any solutions to be proposed and undertaken by the city have to be holistic and include all the topics highlighted at the Symposium. This poses a great challenge of communication for both architects, engineers, city agencies and politicians. It is our hope that the 3C Competition can break some of these barriers and provide comprehensive solutions for communities that need them desperately.
-Alex Alaimo, co-chair