Remember BIG U, the giant, storm-resilient green strip proposed by the Bjarke Ingels Group to protect Manhattan from future super storms? The ambitious design was one of the winners of last year’s Rebuild by Design competition organized by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and took home $335 million towards implementation. Now, the city has begun taking steps (albeit baby ones) towards constructing the first phase of the project.
Although the entire framework of the BIG U design has yet to be approved, implementation of the first phase of the project, which includes building a 10-mile earthen berm ribbon around Lower Manhattan is now in its very, very early stages. The 10-to 20-f00t-tall berm would be the foundation for an integrated flood protection system that would, although disguised as a peaceful green park along the river, act as a strong shield against future floods and stormwater. According to the architects, the budget for the first phase is approximately $1.2 billion.
However, anyone looking to stroll along this sturdy green berm will most likely have to wait a few years. Although the city is planning on using the berm design, and the funds for the build have already been awarded, the city still needs an official approval from HUD to go forward. According to Curbed, surveying of the proposed site has already begun, but the land and water surveying could take up to a year to complete, followed by the typical permit acquisition process and environmental review. Early estimates are calling for a berm inauguration some time in 2019.