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Hunts Point | Lifelines from Rebuild by Design on Vimeo.

An initiative of President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Task Force, the yearlong national Rebuild by Design Competition challenged designers from around the world to offer research-based solutions that would boost the coastal resiliency of the Sandy-affected region. The University of Pennsylvania School of Design teamed up with landscape architecture firm OLIN to focus research on Hunts Point, a major food hub in the Bronx that supports over 25,000 jobs, generates $5 billion in annual direct economic activity, and feeds over 22 million people in the tri-state area.

Related: Rebuild By Design Competition Winners Announced – $1 Billion Awarded to Protect East Coast From Future Storms

Despite Hunts Point’s critical position in the regional food chain, the community is vulnerable to severe flood events and is located in one of the poorest U.S. Congressional Districts. To revitalize the neighborhood while bolstering its defenses against storms, the multidisciplinary team created a model called “WORKING WATERFRONT + WORKING COMMUNITY + WORKING ECOLOGY.” The proposal is split into four categories: the Flood Protection Levee Lab that connects the food hub to the waterfront and installs flood protection infrastructure; Livelihoods, which creates jobs by training the community to build their own storm-protection infrastructure; the Maritime Emergency Supply Lines that improved preparedness in storm events; and Cleanways, a strategy to move the neighborhood towards off-grid clean energy.

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