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'Big U' concept could keep public safe during Hurricane Sandy-style storms

Courtesy: Big/Big U

Courtesy: Big/Big U

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 3:17 PM - Hurricane Sandy was one of the deadliest and costliest storms in U.S. history, racking up nearly $70 billion dollars in damages and killing 286 people in seven countries. Now, a concept by the Big Team in New York City may, if implemented, help protect the public against the next big superstorm.

The 'Big U' project involves implementing  'discreet' flood-proof zones around Manhattan spanning from West 57th Street down to The Battery and south to East 42nd Street.

The U-shaped concept would provide 16 straight kilometres of flood protection in areas the creators call "incredibly dense, vibrant and vulnerable."

RELATED: Re-visiting Hurricane Sandy

It also presents the opportunity for additional greenspace within the community along three separate but contiguous flood-protection zones.

"Each [zone] presents unique opportunities for integrated social and community planning. The compartments work in concert to protect and enhance the city, but each compartment’s proposal is designed to stand on its own," Big says on its website.


The concept was developed for the Rebuild by Design initiative which was founded in response to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

The program aims to inspire "innovative community- and policy-based solutions to protect U.S. cities that are most vulnerable to increasingly intense weather events and future uncertainties."

Established by the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, the program aims to rally the world's top designers and policymakers to create environmentally-friendly storm management methods.

BIG U: A Day in the Life from Rebuild by Design on Vimeo.

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