With a focus on high-density urban environments, OMA's driving principal is one of integration. The tools of defense should be seen as intrinsic to the urban environment, and serve as a scaffold to enable activity-much in the same way that the dam is the genesis of the city of Amsterdam. This will necessitate an approach that is both holistic and dynamic; one that acknowledges the complexity of systems at play; and one that works with, rather than against, the natural flow.
Approach: Achieving effective resiliency through a risk-based approach
The Sandy affected region is a long coastline with many assets at risk. A comprehensive solution is beyond our means, so we will need to prioritize, build smart, and recognize where best to focus our resources for greatest impact. Integrated into our built environments, over time our investments in protection should also empower our communities and our economy, allowing us to grow into resiliency. Our approach is framed by a desire to understand and quantify flood risk. In doing so, we are better placed to identify those opportunities that present the greatest impact, the best value, and the highest potential (our areas of focus). Our matrix of opportunities charts our focus areas, at different geographic scales, against the spectrum of solutions represented by our team's expertise. The resulting opportunities are a selection of case studies that showcase how our approach might be used to transform our region.
Planning Principles: Making Smart Decision on Where to Grow Resiliently
To support the future growth of the region, in a flood risk constrained environment, deciding where to grow will be critical. This will mean focusing new growth in those areas that can be optimally defended, and conversely, limiting exposure in those areas that cannot―citadel cities versus amphibious villages. Remaining safe, but also enjoying the shore.
Communication Systems: Communicating a Common Understanding of Resiliency
Challenges are posed to communications before, during, and after a flood event. In anticipating flood, and building resiliency, it is essential for all stakeholders to share a common understanding of the risks and their implications. Although efforts continue to be made at outreach and capacity building, more can be done to make information accessible―a flood risk 101. A profusion of information must be negotiated in navigating a flood event. Consolidating, and filtering, this information can better serve users-whether government decision makers, first responders, community groups, or private citizens―a Bloomberg, or ESPN, for flood. In the event of a disruption or failure, what alternative systems of communication are at our disposal? How can we build resiliency in our communications?
Infrastructure Catalyst: Growing to a more Resilient City
JFK International Airport is a vital node in the regions infrastructure. As part of Jamaica Bay, it is also highly vulnerable to flood risk. Although the airport is capable of 'taking care if its own problems', there is an opportunity to leverage this asset to promote the common flood defense of the Jamaica Bay area. That means integrating the airport into a larger tiered defense system, and using the airport as a catalyst for growth; growth that will help fuel, and fund, the transformation of the area, and position Jamaica Bay as a future economic for New York City.
Comprehensive Strategy: Building Community-Wide Resiliency
Hoboken exemplifies the conditions desired for a comprehensive flood defense strategy. It is susceptible to both flash flood and storm surge, but its single water shed, single jurisdiction, and combination of high impact factors (high density, value, influence, and potential) lend themselves to creating a multi-faceted solution that both defends the entirety of the city, and enables commercial, civic, and recreational amenities to take shape.