After Hurricane Sandy devastated New York in 2012, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan initiated a competition for solutions to improve resiliency in vulnerable areas. The result was Rebuild by Design. Architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group proposed one of the winning concepts, Big U—eight continuous miles of integrated coastal protection surrounding southern Manhattan, including a raised berm to act as a buffer for flood-prone areas. The $335 million project will be more than just a giant wall to protect the city from storm surges; it will also enhance surrounding neighborhoods with high-water barriers doubling as seating, raised cycle paths, and skateboard ramps. Officially named the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, the first 2.2-mile stretch is scheduled to break ground in 2017.
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