• Hunts Point LIfelines, Bronx, New York

  • Current Economic Activities by LIFELINES Studio

  • Levee and South Bronx Greenway along the East River, Rendering by LIFELINES Studio

  • Risk Assessment of the Bronx with Sea Level Rise Predictions, by LIFELINES Studio


The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design/PennPraxis, in partnership with OLIN, led one of the 6 winning entries in the Rebuild by Design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2013-2014). Rebuild by Design was a multi-stage international competition to develop contextual, scalable solutions to rebuild, protect and improve cities and towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.  The aim of the competition, and the projects that grew out of it, was to demonstrate the power of design to respond to the mammoth challenge of climate resilience transformation in the northeast and the US. The PennDesign / OLIN team was also recognized in 2014 by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 4 “global resiliency innovators” for its comprehensive, culture-shifting, resilience proposal for Hunts Point in the South Bronx.

The HUNTS POINT LIFELINES project was a design collaboration between landscape architects and urban designers (PennDesign and OLIN), hydrologists and green infrastructure engineers (eDesign Dynamics/Drexel University and Phillip Habib & Associates), marine engineers (McLaren Engineering Group), infrastructure engineers (Level Infrastructure and Buro Happold), economists (HR&A Advisors), the environmentally pioneering community of Hunts Point (The Point Community Development Corporation, Barretto Bay Strategies, Sustainable South Bronx and other organizations), and the major businesses and labor unions of Hunts Point.  

Implementation of LIFELINES would protect New York City’s Food Distribution Center (FDC), a major economic hub with 25,000 jobs and $5 billion in annual economic activity that feeds 22 million people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The major fish, meat and produce markets of Hunts Point are also the livelihoods of people in the poorest U.S. Congressional District. 

The LIFELINES design takes a comprehensive approach to resilience, integrating flood protection with green infrastructure, new public landscapes, mobility infrastructure, green jobs and a Levee Lab that advances applied materials science and regulatory approaches to adaptation of working waterfronts. LIFELINES builds on assets and opportunities of regional importance, and a coalition of national leaders in community environmental action, business and labor, to create a working model of social, economic and physical resilience.

Measures to modernize the fish, meat and produce markets and to create clean, fail-safe power via tri-gen technology for refrigeration complement the public works. LIFELINES also builds on emerging federal programs to create marine highways and improve preparedness by creating a logistics base for a maritime emergency supply chain that serves the entire East Coast when roads are impassable. The emergency infrastructure expands intermodal transport by serving commercial fishing delivery to the fish market every day. The project demonstrates a formula for WORKING WATERFRONT + WORKING COMMUNITY + WORKING ECOLOGY that applies in maritime industrial areas across the region.

HUD awarded the project $20 million for the next stage of HUNTS POINT LIFELINES development in June 2014, and the City of New York committed $25 million more in funding for phase 1 in December 2014. The Kresge Foundation awarded The Point CDC in the South Bronx $200,000 in November 2014 for community planning to advance LIFELINES and resilience planning efforts integrated with its implementation.