NYC casts wide net for designers to bolster storm defenses

From left: A rendering of Bloomberg's proposed Seaport City and DXA Studio's Rockaways bungalows

From left: Rendering of Bloomberg’s proposed Seaport City and DXA Studio’s Rockaways bungalows

The Big Apple’s powers-that-be are searching far and wide for designers who can create effective solutions — from oyster beds that absorb storm surges to apartments that double as sea walls – to protect the city from the next storm.

“We don’t have all the good ideas, and I don’t care who does have them,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said recently, as the New York Daily News reported.

Bloomberg released bids searching for developers and designers last month, and responses were due Aug. 22.

Nearly twelve architecture contests are in motion and more than 117 teams from 15 countries have joined in. International designers such as Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels have teamed up with top-tier firms such as WXY Architecture and HR&A Advisors to pitch in for the effort to improve the area’s coastal protections.

“All the bells and whistles, they don’t always turn out to be the most practical solution,” Michelle Whetten, who directs the Gulf Coast operations for affordable housing outfit Enterprise Community Partners, told the Daily News.

And though the final proposals will be revealed in Feburary, it is uncertain what — if anything — will happen after that. Though the city was granted $60 billion in federal aid after Hurricane Sandy, the pile is continually being reduced as the funds are earmarked for other expenses. [NYDN]Julie Strickland

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