Hurricane Sandy may have caught America's Northeast coast off guard, but the next superstorm might not be so lucky. One of six architectural and design teams recently selected by the Rebuild by Design initiative to regenerate the region swamped by the 2012 storm, OMA received $230 million to implement their “Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge" proposal to rebuild the damaged areas of Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken. The ambitious proposal, which focuses on implementing resilient water management systems, reflects the Dutch team's vast experience combining water management with complex engineering methods.
The OMA proposal focuses on implementing resiliency through the integration of key infrastructural elements in order to protect the areas extended along the Jersey coast from future superstorms. Primarily, the objectives of the design will use a strategic comprehensive approach to “resist, delay, store and discharge” water on a long term basis as well as during and after short-term disaster emergencies.
The four-point urban water strategy implements a system of resistance based on hard infrastructure and soft landscape design. To delay damage, the proposal calls for a restructuring of policy guidelines and implementation of various urban infrastructure strategies to slow rainwater runoff. For storing needs, a circuit of interconnected green infrastructure will be used to store and manage excess rainwater. Finally, water discharge will be controlled by a system of water pumps and alternative drainage routes.
With years of experience in a water-centric Amsterdam, OMA uses the driving principle of water integration as a means of resistance, “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.”