The East Side Coastal Resiliency project (ESCR) originates from the Rebuild by Design competition (RBD), in which New York City was awarded $335 million in HUD Community Development Block Grants - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to implement the first phase of the Big U concept. Building on the public outreach led during the RBD competition, the ESCR project team has continued to engage the East Side communities in a series of workshops designed to demystify the flood protection options under consideration and generate excitement about the open space and access improvements associated with this unique project. Nine rounds of public design workshops and nearly 50 stakeholder meetings have been conducted over three years’ time, helping to drive the development of the project forward.
The ESCR compartment will protect a 2.4 mile section of coastline along the East River, running from 25th Street in the East Village to Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. Flood protection elements are envisioned as thoughtfully designed landscape features that heighten the quality of life, enrich urban experiences, and dramatically integrate existing conditions and proposed access improvements along the waterfront (including streetscape realignments and pedestrian bridge reconstruction). As the first major publicly integrated flood protection project in New York City, the design process itself has become an exercise in how these projects are executed in the city.
Mattjis Bouw/One Architecture is the lead urban planner and resiliency specialist for the series of component projects stemming from the original “Big U” concept. On ESCR, One is additionally serving in a role of urban designer and integrator between engineering and design disciplines, with a focus on the detailed physical design of flood protection elements (walls, gates, berms) and the necessary redesign of affected urban fabric (street and access reconfigurations).