Human Centered Resilience: Managed Retreat 2100

School of Architecture | Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment •
Students | Nana Acheapong, Braley Bullard, Britt Byrd, Shweta Iyer, Matt Ladd, Delaney Morris •
Faculty | Courtney Knapp, Gita Nandan, Ron Shiffman •

This project offers an experiential take on the topic of air pollution. The first part of the design is a personal air filter This Spring 2021 SES Capstone project presents a framework and an interactive tool toward net-zero combined sewer overflow into the Gowanus Canal, in support of Gowanus Canal Conservancy (GCC). Spatial and tabular data analysis show stormwater and sewer impacts of increased density from the Gowanus rezoning. Alternate methods The Spring 2021 Sustainable Communities Studio worked on behalf of its clients to envision community engagement, policy frameworks, and educational materials to benefit action planning for 2100, with ten feet sea level rise estimated in the Rockaways community. The studio cohort worked with the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity, (RISE) and Ocean Bay Development Corporation to envision alternative crisis planning measures for current residents and their future descendants vulnerable to environmental migration. Visit for more!

The studio presented speculative design solutions to encourage a just transition for the diverse and resilient communities existing within the Rockaway Peninsula, considering: housing, economic, transportation, ecological, and cultural conditions. The interconnecting network of these thematic topic areas is reflected in this work.
Three speculative future scenarios place the target audience in situations residents will face up to the year 2100. Each assumes a sea level rise of 8 to 10 feet. Remediation and just planning for underserved residents include psycho-social support services, policy and capital funding, ecological remediation, relocation, and housing solutions, and mobility alternatives.
Scenario 1, Land Given Back to Water – envisions full submersion of the peninsula with the least percentage of residents remaining in the community, but primarily as seasonal, or industry based residents affiliated with a centralized aquaculture activity enterprise in the region.
Scenario 2, Natural Park Expansion – envisions the preservation of the peninsula as a National Park seeking to preserve and protect the ecological systems and inundated wetlands.
Scenario 3 incorporates strategies linked to the probability that some residents will choose to remain out of fear of displacement. It envisions utilizing adaptable infrastructure and technological solutions to maintain a just living environment for residents and their future descendants.
To address the question of ‘Where’, students developed a four-phase framework, developed to aid in the facilitation of a comprehensive community engagement process for a proactive managed retreat. One, understanding the community: Culture, People, Built Environment and Ecology. Two, sensory community workshops Three, an Ethnographic Muir Web. Four, creating a sense of belonging through dialogue between communities.