Competition: What if New York City Were Hit by a Hurricane?

Good questions all; that is why the The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is sponsoring a design competition to enhance the City's ability to provisionally house residents after a major coastal storm. This design competition will rely on a fictional but realistic New York City neighborhood devastated by a hypothetical Category 3 hurricane. How will residents resume their lives? How can they be provided safe, comfortable living space? How can this housing be quickly deployed and adapted to different site conditions? How can it be reused in subsequent emergencies, environmentally sustainable, and cost effective?

Because of the city’s high population density and the desire to resettle as many residents as possible in their former neighborhoods, a new paradigm is sought to supplement existing temporary housing programs. Such existing programs typically rely on the deployment of single-household manufactured homes or trailers. Successful proposals will provide living spaces at a density level significantly higher than what is now conventionally provided in temporary structures.

from the introduction by Joseph Bruno, OEM Commissioner:

In New York City, over eight million people live on land that has 578 miles of waterfront. By 2030, the population is expected to reach nine million. At the same time, global climate change has put New York City at an increased risk for a severe coastal storm. In recent years, storms have become more intense, occur more frequently, and continue farther north than they have historically. The city would face many challenges during and after such a storm; one of the most difficult is the possibility that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their homes.

With financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and in consultation with Architecture for Humanity-New York, the New York City Office of Emergency Management is sponsoring an open competition to generate solutions for post-disaster provisional housing. "What if New York City..." is a call for innovation and an opportunity for designers and policy-makers to collaborate on one of the biggest challenges facing densely settled urban areas after a disaster: how do we keep people safely and comfortably housed while reconstruction proceeds?

A jury of experts in the fields of architecture, design, urbanism, and government will choose ten entrants who will be awarded $10,000 each and technical support to develop their proposals into workable solutions. These solutions will provide support for New York's most vulnerable communities and be a precedent for dense urban areas all over the world.

September 27, 2007 Competition announced, website launched.
October 15, 2007 Registration opens.
November 23, 2007 Registration closes and Submission Period begins.
December 14, 2007 Submissions due at 5 PM EST (22:00 GMT).::What if New York City...