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Posts tagged coastal adaptation

Jun 5 2014

Seaside Village Workday with The Nature Conservancy and  Foundation Source in Bridgeport. We cleaned out and dug the back overflow swale with the team including rock removal earthwork and grading and installation of edging. 


Jun 3 2014
For Alex Felson, opportunity knocks on Connecticut coast
Connecticut Mirror June 2, 2014http://ctmirror.org/for-alex-felson-opportunity-knocks-on-the-connecticut-coast/?hvid=3L2oEArticle on my coastal adaptation work through community consensus.

For Alex Felson, opportunity knocks on Connecticut coast

Connecticut Mirror June 2, 2014
http://ctmirror.org/for-alex-felson-opportunity-knocks-on-the-connecticut-coast/?hvid=3L2oE
Article on my coastal adaptation work through community consensus.


May 21 2014
Climate Change Is Here, How Do We Adapt?
http://wnpr.org/post/climate-change-here-how-do-we-adapt

 By John Dankosky, Tucker Ives, Lydia Brown & Catie Talarski 





The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.
We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.
GUESTS:
Adam Whelchel -  Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut and oversees the Coastal Resilience Network. He was also a Lead Author on the Northeast section of the U.S. National Climate Assessment.
Alexander Felson - Urban ecologist and Assistant Professor in Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Architecture
Durland Fish - Professor of Epidemiology and of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale
David Zuckerman - Vermont state senator and a farmer at Full Moon Farm in Hinesburg, Vermont

Climate Change Is Here, How Do We Adapt?

http://wnpr.org/post/climate-change-here-how-do-we-adapt

The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.

We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.

GUESTS:


May 14 2014
Climate Change hits close to home by Bob Woods
a brief description of coastal work going on in Guilford, Connecticut www.coastalctmag.com

Climate Change hits close to home by Bob Woods

a brief description of coastal work going on in Guilford, Connecticut www.coastalctmag.com


Apr 25 2014

For Rebuild by Design- Resilient Bridgeport, our goal of reconnecting inland waterways combines economic redevelopment with environmental stewardship and risk reduction.

A Dutchman’s Opinion: Henk Ovink Weighs in on Post-Sandy Proposals - NYTimes.com - NYTimes.co    By RUSSELL SHORTO

Henk Ovink, a Dutch water management expert, briefly describes each of the 10 proposals that the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has highlighted for possible implementation.

9. Resilient Bridgeport. (WB unabridged with Yale ARCADIS) “From its very name you know that Bridgeport is all about water. But over time it became disconnected from the water. The project uncovers streams that were covered over by urbanization. The town does not use the river as an amenity. The sound side is largely unsafe. This is an overall strategy, encompassing 10 projects to build in more safety and resilience and reconnect the city with the water.”


Mar 3 2014

The Urban Ecology and Design Lab at Yale is deeply involved in the Rebuild by Design competition working on coastal adaptation in Bridgeport with the WB Unabridged + Yale and Arcadis team.  See the attached workshop above which occurred over the weekend. A second event will occur on March 8th in Bridgeport. Here is the link to our team website: http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/teams/unabridged/

More information to come…


Jan 22 2014
Yale Urban Ecosystem Services Symposium
New Tools To Guide Ecosystem Management In An Urbanizing World

Panel 3: Coastal Adaptation and Resilience to Storm Events and Sea Level Rise

Time 3:00-4:00

Organizers:Alex Felson (Moderator), Keri Enright-Kato, Marit Larson, Jamie Ong, Beth Tellman


Speaker/Panel Discussion Format:  

 Introduction of panelists and framing of issues, 5 min  

Alex Felson, Assistant Professor, Yale University

Applying ecosystem services more effectively for long term coastal adaptation planning 


Panelists presentations answering questions, 10 min each

Denise Reed, Chief Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf

How can we further integrate scientific information through the ecosystem services framework as a common language to inform ecosystem-based policy and planning for coastal adaptation?

Roselle Henn, Chief, USACE North Atlantic Division 

What are examples of useful methods and tools for facilitating coastal adaptation in terms of government, economics, infrastructure and, community activism in the local, regional, and national political context? 

 Gavin Smith, Associate Research Professor UNC; Executive Director UNC & Homeland

Given the importance of risk reduction and hazard mitigation planning, how can we link these planning tools to ecosystem services, including where and how we build in relation to natural hazards? How can we address the many trade offs associated with coastal adaptation planning given that places where people want to live are also high hazard areas (e.g. future land developments risks and ecosystem service impacts)?

 Dan Zarrilli, PE | Director of Resiliency 
NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability

What lessons have we learned from large urban areas such as New York about reducing risks and increasing ecosystem services? Are these ideas transferable? What knowledge gaps and data needs are necessary for advancing coastal adaptation initiatives?   


Panel Discussion , 10 min
Questions from the Audience , 5 min

What ecosystem services are relevant for coastal adaptation and long-term adaptive management? How well are these ES documented and incorporated into the models used by NOAA, FEMA and USACE to address risks and work on hazard planning? In working on the challenging effort to retrofit urban coastal land, how much data is needed? How do we couple data driven models with action oriented agendas and regulations?

Yale Urban Ecosystem Services Symposium

New Tools To Guide Ecosystem Management In An Urbanizing World

Panel 3: Coastal Adaptation and Resilience to Storm Events and Sea Level Rise

Time 3:00-4:00

Organizers:Alex Felson (Moderator), Keri Enright-Kato, Marit Larson, Jamie Ong, Beth Tellman

Speaker/Panel Discussion Format:  

 Introduction of panelists and framing of issues, 5 min  

Alex Felson, Assistant Professor, Yale University

Applying ecosystem services more effectively for long term coastal adaptation planning

Panelists presentations answering questions, 10 min each

Denise Reed, Chief Scientist, Water Institute of the Gulf

How can we further integrate scientific information through the ecosystem services framework as a common language to inform ecosystem-based policy and planning for coastal adaptation?

Roselle Henn, Chief, USACE North Atlantic Division

What are examples of useful methods and tools for facilitating coastal adaptation in terms of government, economics, infrastructure and, community activism in the local, regional, and national political context?

 Gavin Smith, Associate Research Professor UNC; Executive Director UNC & Homeland

Given the importance of risk reduction and hazard mitigation planning, how can we link these planning tools to ecosystem services, including where and how we build in relation to natural hazards? How can we address the many trade offs associated with coastal adaptation planning given that places where people want to live are also high hazard areas (e.g. future land developments risks and ecosystem service impacts)?

 Dan Zarrilli, PE | Director of Resiliency 
NYC Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability

What lessons have we learned from large urban areas such as New York about reducing risks and increasing ecosystem services? Are these ideas transferable? What knowledge gaps and data needs are necessary for advancing coastal adaptation initiatives?   

Panel Discussion , 10 min

Questions from the Audience , 5 min

What ecosystem services are relevant for coastal adaptation and long-term adaptive management? How well are these ES documented and incorporated into the models used by NOAA, FEMA and USACE to address risks and work on hazard planning? In working on the challenging effort to retrofit urban coastal land, how much data is needed? How do we couple data driven models with action oriented agendas and regulations?


Nov 21 2013

Future Directions in Urban Ecology and Ecological Design.
Tuesday, November 19th   
4:00 – 5:45
Burke Auditorium


Join Urban Ecologists Peter Groffman, Diane Pataki and Alex Felson as they engage in a discussion with Yale School of Architecture faculty about urban ecological theories, methods, and tools.
 Brainstorm with them on methods to translate scientific information into tangible meaning for design.
 
Questions to be raised are:
-        How do we choose what metrics to study and what methods to apply for design?
-        How should we move forward in designing and constructing buildings and landscapes and measure their performance?
-        Are there design enhancements that can affect ecological processes and improve the environmental performance of urban areas?
-        How can experiments be implemented to study/design ecosystem process interactions in urban and suburban areas?


Nov 4 2013
Guilford takes the long view on climate change
By Jan Ellen Spiegel
Monday, November 4, 2013

Guilford — Ten days before the one-year anniversary of storm Sandy’s sweep through the coastal flanks of this shoreline community, town planner George Kral surveys an area that took one of the storm’s hardest hits -– Seaside Avenue. “The road was totally inundated,” he recounted. “All of the houses had water in their basements for sure or up into the first floor depending on the exact elevation of the road.” Appropriate to its name, on this sunny, if chilly, Friday afternoon, Seaside Avenue offers an array of vistas of Long Island Sound as the road transects what in earlier times was a seaside salt marsh. “…  Visit this link for the whole story on “Seaside Avenue erased?
Coastal Resilience Plan link

Guilford takes the long view on climate change

Guilford — Ten days before the one-year anniversary of storm Sandy’s sweep through the coastal flanks of this shoreline community, town planner George Kral surveys an area that took one of the storm’s hardest hits -– Seaside Avenue. “The road was totally inundated,” he recounted. “All of the houses had water in their basements for sure or up into the first floor depending on the exact elevation of the road.” Appropriate to its name, on this sunny, if chilly, Friday afternoon, Seaside Avenue offers an array of vistas of Long Island Sound as the road transects what in earlier times was a seaside salt marsh. “…  Visit this link for the whole story on Seaside Avenue erased?

Coastal Resilience Plan link


Oct 27 2013

http://www.farroc.com/

On October 23rd, 2013, the jury came together to discuss proposals for the FARROC competition.  The jury deliberated for hours, eventually selecting the Stockholm based firm, White Arkitekter’s proposal Small Means and Great Ends as the overall winner, while Ennead Architects proposal were recognized for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design. 


Feb 11 2013

Nov 29 2012

Of Storm Surges and Sea Changes: Urban Adaptation to Rising Waters

The following editorial is written by Katharine Gehron, Timothy Terway and Alexander Felson,

Kate is a master’s student, Tim is a PhD student and Alex Felson is a assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the UEDLAB Contact Kate here.

The public and private infrastructure that underlies metropolitan life—sprawling, reticulate, the product of massive amounts of labor and investment—is essential to public health and stable civic life. We depend on it continuously, yet it is largely invisible until it is compromised. Events such as power-grid failures, road and rail impasses, port closures, and drinking-water contamination are potentially catastrophic and quickly produce states of emergency. 

Extreme weather events related to climate change pose grave threats to urban infrastructure, especially in densely settled coastal cities, where millions of people depend on clean running water, transportation corridors, and other services that are produced or provided near sea level, which is predicted to rise between 3 and 6 feet in the next hundred years (Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009). The extensive damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is likely a sign of things to come, as other extreme weather events of recent years suggest that we are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Coastal cities are home to our most important economic centers and to a disproportionate fraction of the population. We must find ways to mitigate the damage that is sure to be visited upon the most vulnerable, low-lying zones. 

We can do this by way of three major approaches: the construction of hard infrastructure such as sea walls, the implementation of “green” infrastructure such as engineered wetlands, and retreat. The first approach involves top-down coordination and significant expenditure of public funds; the second may be more bottom up and may be implemented over time by various alliances between civic groups, nonprofits, the private sector, and government; and the third depends on the ability of insurance companies, FEMA, and homeowners to develop mutually agreeable arrangements that lead to a coordinated response, not conflicts about property that result in gridlock. 

Each approach requires very different actions and decisions on the part of the city, regulators, and homeowners, with different associated costs. Hard infrastructure may permit cities to avoid the necessity of tearing down their most flood-prone structures, which may protect neighborhoods as well as business districts. However, hard infrastructure is expensive to build and maintain, and it may fail with little warning, and with serious consequences, especially for people who lack the resources to move out of harm’s way. (The breach of the levees during Hurricane Katrina visited far more tragedy upon poor minorities in New Orleans than it did on those with means.) If we build extensive hard infrastructure, how likely is it that we will learn from the past and distribute risk more equitably? That we will plan for failure? Even if we succeed at these things, the construction of walls and other structures to hold back the sea will take years and will not address short-term exigencies. 

The implementation of green infrastructure can be integrated into planned, or managed, retreat from the shoreline, through the replacement of structures and open space with engineered tidal wetlands. While this concept has been accepted in Great Britain and the Netherlands for some time now (see, e.g., French 2006), it is a somewhat shocking and new approach in the U.S.; a recent article in the New York Times described this strategy as “apocalyptic” (“Protecting New York City, Before Next Time”). Is it? Current sea level rise projections suggest that planned retreat from rising seas, in conjunction with the establishment of salt marshes, is a practical and sustainable response to a process that is already under way. Yet for the wave attenuation function of the marshes to be significant, a wide expanse of the shoreline will likely have to be converted to marsh. It is unclear whether enough urban land could be set aside, whether through voluntary sale of private property (inefficient and unlikely) or government fiat (a political hornet’s nest), to create sufficient marshland to make this option feasible.

Some of these tensions and problems are reflected in the contributions to “Rising Currents,” a 2010 MoMA exhibition organized by the museum’s curator of architecture and design, exhibited the responses of several teams of architects and landscape architects to design challenges produced by sea level rise in New York City, an issue that has heretofore been largely neglected, as is clear in the remark of one tenant of a flooded office building following Hurricane Sandy: “We had prepared for an emergency. The emergency we had prepared for was an act of terrorism, not this” (“Future Is in Limbo for the Damaged Buildings Close to the Water’s Edge”).

image

Each team contributing to “Rising Currents” proposed a design solution for a different section of New York Harbor. “A New Urban Ground,” prepared by dlandstudio and the Architecture Research Office, proposes retrofitting the shore of Lower Manhattan with engineered wetlands that would protect this part of the city from tides that, in coming years, may inundate (according to the project numbers) a fifth of the region at high tide and more than half of the region during extreme storm surges. Can modifications to the shoreline buffer the sea? These wetlands are intended to absorb stormwater, reduce wave height and force, and reduce erosion. However, research on the benefits of wetlands for wave attenuation is limited, and the depth of wetlands required is typically greater than what is currently available. The proposal also calls for porous streets that would absorb stormwater and help to reduce the amount of flooding that would occur on impervious concrete. Pipes carrying sewage, water, gas, and electricity would remain buried but would be placed in a waterproof enclosure. Flood mitigation and the waterproofing of sewer lines would help reduce water contamination resulting from combined sewer overflow during extreme storm events, a longstanding problem, but the replacement of substreet pipes with waterproof, insulated pipes would be very expensive and disruptive. It seems that the ideas presented in the proposal are a good start to a necessary conversation but in need of further critical analysis and especially engagement with local populations and stakeholders, as well as city officials. 

Such civic engagement is an essential part of coastal adaptation planning, a process that raises some difficult social issues. Who will stay along the shoreline by choice, and who by necessity? What will the distribution of risk be like, and will we, as a society, help those with few resources find new places to live at higher elevations? What will be the costs of such dislocations to community coherence and civic identity? The questions raised by the prospect of retreat are disturbing and complex. By underestimating the scale of sea level rise and attempting to hold it off primarily with fortifications, we may end up spending great sums of public money to build structures that may not be able to withstand the stresses that will be placed upon them and that may therefore fail, creating particularly disastrous results for underprivileged communities To adapt to sea level rise in cities, we will need civic collaboration across scales, from the federal government to neighborhood groups, of a kind with midcentury wartime efforts, when citizens grew their own food in victory gardens, saved metal scraps, and worked together in ways both large and small to respond to a crisis. We may need to balance the construction of large-scale hard infrastructure with local efforts to green the coastline.

It remains an open question whether such an integrated enterprise is possible—whether opposing interests will splinter fragile coalitions and create secondary conflicts that complicate the primary issue, or whether factions will manage to reconcile in order to solve urgent problems through the formation of new social (and physical) structures in a changed world. Contemporary civic discord suggests there will be plenty of conflict in coming years over property rights, government assistance, public spending, and other issues related to states of emergency and natural disasters. Time will tell.

-Katharine Gehron

References:

Vermeer, M., and S. Rahmstorf. 2009. Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(61):21527–21532.

French, P. W. 2006. Managed realignment: The developing story of a comparatively new approach to soft engineering, Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 67(3):409–423.

Feuer, Alan. “Protecting New York City, Before Next Time.” New York Times, November 3, 2012. Accessed 11/28/2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/nyregion/protecting-new-york-city-before-next-time.html?pagewanted=all.

http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/category/rising-currents

Kleinfield, N.R. “Future Is in Limbo for the Damaged Buildings Close to the Water’s Edge.” New York Times, November 5, 2012. Accessed 11/28/2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/nyregion/damage-unclear-future-in-limbo-for-some-buildings-in-lower-manhattan.html?pagewanted=all.


Nov 27 2012

Man-made salt marshes fail to meet European demands on plants-study

Artificial salt marshes did not perform as well as natural ones based on a study by Mossman et al. 2012. Does managed coastal realignment create saltmarshes with ‘equivalent biological characteristics’ to natural reference sites?  Journal of Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02198.x

These results challenge the argument that mitigation is a valuable means of compensating for wetland removal.  These are not exhibiting “equivalent biological characteristics.”

The team studied 18 artificial salt marshes in England and found less divers marshland with many marsh plants (e.g. sea lavender, sea arrowgrass or sea plantain)   under-represented compared to natural marshes. 17 accidentally created salt marshes were similarly lacking in plant variety.


Nov 9 2012
Alex Felson and Tim Terway of the UEDLAB will help lead a public workshop in Guilford, CT on Monday, November 26 at 7:30pm. The public meeting is part of Connecticut’s Coastal Resilience Plan which the UEDLAB has been working on in partnership with the The Nature Conservancy, the Town of Guilford, and other consultants towards increasing the resilience of coastal settlements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy-scale events. The workshop is geared to advance ongoing efforts in Guilford’s coastal adaptation planning process to address the challenges of sea-level rise, storm surge, and increasing storm intensity and frequency.

Alex Felson and Tim Terway of the UEDLAB will help lead a public workshop in Guilford, CT on Monday, November 26 at 7:30pm. The public meeting is part of Connecticut’s Coastal Resilience Plan which the UEDLAB has been working on in partnership with the The Nature Conservancy, the Town of Guilford, and other consultants towards increasing the resilience of coastal settlements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy-scale events. The workshop is geared to advance ongoing efforts in Guilford’s coastal adaptation planning process to address the challenges of sea-level rise, storm surge, and increasing storm intensity and frequency.


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