Rebuild By Design, launched in the wake of Sandy to discover and implement resilience measures, has initiated wide-ranging projects worth almost a billion dollars across the Northeast. These include the ‘Meadowlands’ led by MIT that would cultivate natural buffers as flood defenses in New Jersey, while the grandest scale project would protect Manhattan with a re-designed waterfront including water-based social spaces, waterproofed buildings and additional bridges.
Rebuild by Design looked to the Netherlands for inspiration, which has always faced the threat of water damage and has been at the forefront of developing solutions.
Dutch architect Koen Olthuis has pioneered an approach of building on the water itself, creating floating structures on a foundation of foam and concrete, using ‘scarless’ techniques that don’t damage the environment. His designs are in development from a hotel off Norway to a community in the Maldives, and the concept of building islands has become popular around the world.