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12/1/20, 6pm - 7:30pm

Got ghosts? Call the Ghostbusters.
Got floods? Call the Dutch.

Hurricane Sandy exposed just how vulnerable New York City’s 520 miles of coastline are. And revealed how woefully unprepared we were when the superstorm hit.

On December 1, The New Amsterdam History Center brings together architects, designers and planners from three Dutch companies and a like-minded American firm to discuss their innovative projects to mitigate future severe flooding threats to our shores. They are part of a massive effort to make the city more resilient to future flooding.

For more than 400 years the Dutch have been our good friends. In 2020, the Dutch/American friendship continues unabated. As our climate conditions change radically, the Dutch offer expertise gained from 1,000 years of holding back the sea. They know they need to plan or perish. They know we need to innovate or be inundated.

This innovative thinking comes none too soon. By 2080 the waters around New York City are predicted to rise by five to nine feet. Prior to Sandy, talk still revolved around sandbags and quick fixes.

In this NAHC event, four front-line experts discuss innovations tailored to New York’s topography and culture. They bring worldwide experience negotiating with national and local governments and responding to cultural traditions, both old and new. The projects include:

•raising almost an entire island several feet and creating buffers that are not just pretty hills (Governors Island)

•installing living breakwaters that help restore shorelines and habitat (Staten Island)

•envisioning The Big U, or Dryline, coastal defenses and a ribbon of buffers to protect vulnerable business and residential neighborhoods (East 42nd Street to Lower Manhattan to West 57th Street)

The hallmark of each of these projects: Protections that double as parks, enhancing public life for everyone in New York City.

Target audience for this event is:

•Anyone who lives on an island, any island, anywhere in the world

•Any student of landscaping, architecture, urban planning, design, ecology

•Anyone interested in saving the planet in big or small ways

The New Amsterdam History Center is a 15-year-old nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage exploration of the Dutch history of New Amsterdam as it laid the foundational character for today’s New York City, with special reference to its ethnic, racial, and religious diversity, urban landscapes, economic vitality and global legacy.

In the words of historian Colin Woodard, the Dutch influence is “largely the reason New York is New York.”

Our panelists:

Matthijs Bouw, Founder, One Architecture and Urbanism, Practice Professor UPenn’s Weitzman School
Project: The Big U, a 12 km (7.5 miles) protective ribbon of defenses camouflaged as public parks and pavilions that serve as ‘social infrastructure’, and follow-up projects
East 42nd Street to Lower Manhattan to West 57th Street
Status: Ongoing

Edgar J. Westerhof, National Director for Flood and Risk Management, Arcadis
Project: Advisors on New York City’s community resilience and climate perspectives, Manhattan’s urban coastal future, including the Big U and East Side Coastal Resilience
Status: Ongoing

Daniel Vasini, Architect and Urban Designer, West 8
Project: Governors Island. Landscape elevated far above sea level, recreational hills that manage and retain stormwater

Pippa Brashear, Principal, Scape Landscape Architecture.
Project: Staten Island. Living Breakwaters. In-water infrastructure designed to reduce wave damage and erosion and create aquatic habitat
Construction scheduled for 2021

Organized by
The New Amsterdam History Center
12/1/20, 6pm - 7:30pm
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