Henk Ovink: A Dutch Resiliency Perspective

On Earth Day, 4.22.14, AIANY and the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR) hosted Henk Ovink, former Acting Director-General of Spatial Planning and Water Affairs for the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and current senior advisor to U.S. Housing and Urban Design Secretary Shaun Donovan, Hon. AIANY. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Ovink emerged as a central figure in shaping the future of the entire region affected by the storm by leading the HUD Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Taskforce. As a nation, the Netherlands has formally addressed issues of flood prevention and protection for more than 900 years. Through Water Boards, a system of regional water authorities introduced in the 13th century, formerly separated communities have worked together to address regionalized environmental issues associated with water management. Today, nearly 300 Water Boards actively continue their ancestors’ work by crafting collaborative strategies for water management and extreme weather adaptation throughout the Netherlands. While “resilient” design strategies have become increasingly significant in the wake of Sandy, Ovink has leveraged his experience to introduce a new era of holistic and collaborative responses to extreme water events intensified by climate change. Continue reading “Henk Ovink: A Dutch Resiliency Perspective”

New York City’s Waterfront: Three Case Studies in Contemporary Resilient Design

New York has always been a city that celebrates its waterfront. But, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers, particularly those who reside along the city’s 520 miles of coastline, have become acutely aware of the impacts of rising water levels and storm surges. According to the most recent FEMA maps, more than 400,000 New Yorkers currently live within the 100-year floodplain. Furthermore, the Bloomberg Administration’s 2013 Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) projects that by 2050 an additional 400,000 New Yorkers will live within flood-susceptible areas. Sandy’s toll, 43 lives lost and $19.5 billion in damages according to the SIRR, is a morbid reminder of the outcome of such events. In post-Sandy New York, waterfront development presents a distinct opportunity to illustrate effective resilient design techniques that elegantly respond to the challenges the city will face in the future. Continue reading “New York City’s Waterfront: Three Case Studies in Contemporary Resilient Design”