Rebuild By Design: Resilient Bridgeport
Connecticut Department of Housing and US HUD
Shivani Shedde, Jared Abraham
In 2013, the federal Rebuild By Design competition was announced to garner new ideas to deal with the devastating effects of hurricanes such as Sandy. With the support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a multidisciplinary team was selected the following year to work with the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, including New Orleans-based Waggonner & Ball Architecture/Environment, the Yale Urban Design Workshop, and the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis. With a grant award of 10,000,000, the team is developing a strategic plan to reduce flood risk and improve resilience across Bridgeport’s most vulnerable areas. To demonstrate this new resilience framework, the team will design and build a pilot project in Bridgeport’s South End that will serve as a catalyst for the full implementation of broader flood protection and resilience strategies.
Through innovative thinking about the design of the city’s streets, public spaces, infrastructure networks and architecture, the Resilient Bridgeport project provides a framework for the adaptations required to meet the challenges presented by climate change and sea level rise, including the exacerbated effects of storms, wave surge, and heavy rainfall. The planning process relies heavily on green resilience strategies that include perimeter surge protection, dry egress, green infrastructure, storm water management and utility micro grids, that have been integrated through a comprehensive urban design framework with strategies for economic development, urban connectivity, and transit. Based on an extensive engagement with state and municipal agencies, institutions, nonprofits, business owners, residents and other stakeholders, the project establishes a vision for a Bridgeport that is vibrant, safe and flexible, with new opportunities for development and recreation, and an attractive blue-green public realm.
The proposed pilot project, to be constructed beginning in 2018, will illustrate how the proposed framework might take physical form on a given site. It will make evident how water flows across the landscape, and the ways in streets, parks, and existing sewer systems can be retrofitted to make the South End a safer place for residents as well as support sustainable adaptation and growth.
Resilient Bridgeport will be a case study for future projects, in Bridgeport as well as other coastal cities in the Northeast, by demonstrating many of the objectives and possibilities outlined by the overall strategy. The project strives to show how “living with water” can reduce flooding, while reaffirming the importance of water to Bridgeport’s history and identity.