New York City has been defined by its 520 miles of coastline or the ‘Sixth Borough’. Originally used for industry, the City has been in the process of revitalizing its waterfront and transforming it from industrial uses into more recreational and residential uses and recently completed a new waterfront plan. At the same time, the city is coming to terms with recovering from the impacts of the superstorm and its unprecedented storm surge, while planning for a rising sea level. What are the conflicting priorities and challenges facing the city and how are they being addressed in real time by the multitude of city leaders, urban planners, design professionals and design organizations? This panel will look at what is happening in New York City and emerging approaches to increase community resilience on the coast.
Moderated by Joyce Klein Rosenthal, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Co-coordinator of the Advanced Studies Program in Risk and Resilience.
Abby Suckle, FAIA LEED AP, practiced architecture with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer, Sert Jackson Associates, and SITE after graduating from Harvard GSD. She has continued that collaboration as a consultant on several buildings, including Harvard’s CGIS. At Abby Suckle Architect, her work ranges from residential to institutional, including the Harvard Club of New York and the Boardman Residence, which won multiple awards. As President of the nonprofit cultureNOW, she designed and distributed 650,000 cultural and historical maps of New York. She currently leads the “Museum Without Walls” project to create an acoustiguide to the environment. Smartphone apps developed as part of this project won a prize at the NYC Big Apps 2.0 and the AIA National 2012 Collaborative Achievement Award. She has curated two exhibitions: Mapping the Cityscape in 2011 in New York and From Maps to Apps at the BSA Space. Her articles have appeared in the Architects’ Newspaper; her book “By Their Own Design,” published with the Whitney Library of Design, was based on a student lecture series she coordinated at the GSD. Ms. Suckle is the recipient of the 2009 AIA New York State Fellows Award and the 2012 AIA New York State Presidents Award.
Thaddeus Pawlowski, Associate Urban Designer for the Office of the Chief Urban Designer of the City of New York, Department of City Planning, will share his experience working as an advisor on long term planning to the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. He currently works on large scale neighborhood and infrastructure projects including the redevelopment of Penn Station area and Hudson Yards, and has previously worked at the Office of Emergency Management where he developed a design competition for post disaster urban housing, “What if NYC…”. He earned a Master in Architecture and certificate in Urban Design from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from University of Pittsburgh.
Walter Meyer (MLAUD ’03) is a Founding Principal of Local Office Landscape Architecturein Brooklyn, New York. He founded the firm Local Office in 2006 with GSD classmate Jennifer Bolstad (’98, MLA ’02). Operating between infrastructure, urbanism, and territory, the firm has garnered accolades from across the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, public policy, science and art. The partners have been engaged as speakers and visiting critics at Columbia University, Penn, MIT, Parsons New School, and Pratt Institute.
The firm’s recent built work includes the Parque del Litoral, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The 2-mile-long urban beach park is the largest in the country. The park restructured the post-industrial shore into a dune forest that protects the city from sea surges, while phytoremediation wetlands protect the sea from the city’s pollution. The design was endorsed by the Caribbean Tsunami Institute for coastal resiliency, and the project won an honor award from the AIA Puerto Rico, as well as a Cimex award for sustainable infrastructure.
After Hurricane Sandy the firm partners started ‘Power Rockaways Resilience,’ a non-profit dedicated to fundraising and delivery of solar generators to volunteer centers throughout the coastal Rockaway peninsula in Queens, NY. Currently, Local Office is advising the National Parks Service, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Army Corps of Engineers on coastal resiliency in the New York Bight.
Eddie Bautista is the Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), a network of community-based organizations advocating for the empowerment and just treatment of environmentally overburdened neighborhoods. Previously, Eddie served as Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs – where he spearheaded efforts to pass several landmark laws, including NYC’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan – and Director of Community Planning for NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, where he organized coalitions blocking the siting of polluting infrastructure in overburdened communities, while revising public waste and energy policies. An award winning urban planner and community organizer, he has been interviewed by local and national media outlets. Several books feature Eddie’s work, including The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, by Roberta Brandes Gratz (2010); Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, by Julie Sze (2006), and We Won’t Move: Community Planning in “The Real Estate Capital of the World” by Tom Angotti (2008). Eddie is also a Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development. (To learn more about NYC-EJA, visit www.NYC-EJA.org.)
Sponsored by the Risk and Resilience track in the Advanced Studies Program, the Office of Alumni Relations at the Harvard GSD, the Urban Planning and Design Department, and the Harvard Club of New York City.
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