In 2007, New York City's Office of Emergency Management launched an international housing design competition, What if NYC?, calling for solutions that would address how to keep residents safe and sheltered after a natural disaster. The competition yielded ten inspired proposals, and now the OEM and Department of Design Construction have announced a Request for Expressions of Interest to make these designs a reality.
What if New York City was hit by a Category 3 hurricane? The purpose of the competition was to answer this question by envisioning Interim Housing Units (IHU) to provide resettlement options in high density areas. In the event of a catastrophe, New York sees these potential IHUs as "a critical bridge between emergency shelter and permanent housing," and a part of a larger Disaster Housing Plan that is under development.
When compared to Hurricane Katrina's devastation in New Orleans, New York has 3.1 million units of housing with 930,000 of those units within Hurricane Evacuation Zones, about three times as many units as were destroyed or damaged by Katrina. While FEMA has made strides to develop rapidly deployable modular housing systems in the Gulf Coast (accommodating approximately 10 households per acre, instead of say, 200) these systems are not appropriate for urban environments.
Therefore, as a result of the What if NYC? competition, the OEM and DDC are inviting Expressions of Interest for development, manufacture, and implementation of these post-disaster interim housing solutions. This is intended to determine whether there is significant market interest, and will hopefully later lead to competitive bidding opportunities through a series of RFPs (Request for Proposal).
Of the ten entries, which were revised in June 2008, two have been selected as benchmarks (but should not discourage submitters from proposing alternative approaches).
Container Living Apparatus (CLA):
Community Interim Residence (CPR):
With a nationwide gap in disaster preparedness, we are glad to see the rumblings of action taking place. It is noteworthy that the scope of implementation of these solutions are not intended for just New York, but with other high-density urban areas in the country in mind as well. Submissions are due August 7!