"The Big U" - Managing Flooding in Manhattan

This solution addresses Stormwater, Flooding, and Sea Level Rise in New York City for Communities, Residents, Businesses

  • 001 hud by big original

Problem Description

The floodplain behind lower Manhattan's coastline is home to approximately 220,000 people. This area contains some of the largest central business districts in the country, which cumulatively are at the core of an economy with a $500 billion annual GDP, and influences economic activity throughout the world. More than 52 million visitors annually come to New York City to see such sites as the 9/11 memorial, The Battery, and Wall Street, or to take the ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The area also contains 35,000 affordable housing units, many of which have been hit hard by Sandy. Over 95,000 low-income, elderly, and disabled residents live there, predominantly along the East River.

Building Blocks

Story

The Big U is a protective system around Manhattan, driven by the needs and concerns of its communities. It protects 10 continuous miles of low-lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. It would not only shield the city against floods and stormwater; but also provide social and environmental benefits to the community.

Infrastructure in the United States has not traditionally been designed with public interaction in mind;
rather, it has been imposed from without on our cities on a large scale, sometimes with terrible consequences for the urban experience. The Big U instead combines large-scale protective infrastructure with a commitment to
meaningful community engagement -- to not make mere walls, but to create lasting social infrastructure.

Photos

  • 001 hud by big original
  • 049 hud by big original
  • 013 hud by big original

Resources

Organisations Involved

Contributed By

Solution Stage

One of the 7 stages of an innovation. Learn more
STAGE SPECIALIST SKILLS REQUIRED EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES RISK LEVEL AND HANDLING FINANCE REQUIRED KINDS OF EVIDENCE GENERATED GOAL
Making the case4
Business development and evaluation
  • Market sizing, development and testing
  • Business case analysis
  • Identifying cashable savings
  • Prepare to adapt approach, based on evaluation results and user feedback
MEDIUM
  • Grant funding or funding out of investment
MEDIUM
A stronger case with cost and benefit projections developed through practical trials and experiments, involving potential users
Clarity about what warrants implementation and funding

Key Details

Activity