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International

Danish design will make Manhattan prettier and safer

Bjarke Ingels strikes big with plan to safeguard downtown New York


The areas marked in fluorescent green are the ones BIG's new flood gates will seek to protect (photo: big.dk)

June 9, 2014
15:59

by Nanna G Vansteelant


The Danish design consortium Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won a contest launched by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD/US) to find ways to reduce the risk of flooding in Lower Manhattan following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, reports Ingeniøren. 

The hurricane killed 48 people, left millions without power and even brought the New York Stock Exchange to a halt. HUD/US's response was to launch the contest and declare its intention to invest billions of kroner into protecting New York and other coastal cities at risk from flooding.

BIG and Dutch firm One Architecture have been jointly awarded just under two billion kroner to develop a proposal they have called ‘The Big U’, which will protect just over 16 sqkm of low-lying areas in New York using a folding system of storm walls and, at the same time, develop social and environmental facilities tailor-made for the surrounding community.

READ MORE: Flood defences to help create greener city

“The coast of Lower Manhattan won’t only be secured, but will also be more inviting and accessible for the people of the city,” Bjarke Ingels, the leader of BIG, said at the press-conference announcing the result of the contest.

The plans include raised paths and salt-tolerant trees and bushes.

COWI subsidiary also successful
Meanwhile, another Danish firm, COWI subsidiary Ocean and Coastal Consultants, has together with SCAPE Team/Landscape Architecture been awarded 330 million kroner to implement their proposal, ‘Living Breakwaters’.

Their man-made ‘reef-streets’ will reduce wave action and erosion and also develop habitats for finfish, shellfish and lobsters, according to the Foreign Ministry. 



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