EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Spring 2021 Sustainable Communities Studio at Pratt Institute, worked on behalf of its  studio clients to envision community engagement, policy frameworks and educational materials to benefit action planning for 2100, ten feet sea level rise estimates in the Rockaways community.

The Spring 2021 Sustainable Communities Studio at Pratt Institute, worked on behalf of its  studio clients to envision community engagement, policy frameworks and educational materials to benefit act.

 

The evaluation of rising sea levels and storm surge is based on predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The studio cohort worked with the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity, (RISE) and The Ocean Bay Development Corporation over  fifteen week period to envision alternative crisis planning measures for current residents and their future descendants vulnerable to environmental migration.

 

This work also builds off decade long Pratt studio work and stakeholder research within the community, with a specified focus on the topic of managed retreat. Which is the motivated movement, or transition of residents in a geographic place relocating to a new or better accommodating environment from climate change induced shifts in ecological surroundings. The topic of managed retreat, and managed retreat planning is not a simple task with predictable steps to creating a solution to accommodate the needs of diverse resident communities along the peninsula, or development frameworks to resolve the vulnerability of the existing land space and social systems currently in place.

 

This report presents 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 the heart of this planning document. It begins with an overview of grappling questions meant to engage residents, stakeholders, and planners both familiar and unfamiliar to this issue topic to understand the complexity and time sensitive conditions of reaching a community consensus to the next steps of this issue.

 

Three scenarios are speculative visions of the future, developed to place the speculative target audience reading this document in the live situations residents will have to face over the course of eighty years to the year 2100. Each scenario assumes sea level rise at 8 to 10 feet, inundating much of the existing land space and infrastructure on the Peninsula. And seeks to provide remediation and just planning for underserved residents through 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, fully incorporates strategies linked to the highest probability chance 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. The relocation engagement framework is the culminating engagement strategy tool to aid the facilitation of proactive retreat, through comprehensive phasing steps towards individual and community needs assessments for residents to best decide reasons to relocate.

 

Scenario 0, The Control Case - serves as the worst case scenario where necessary action steps are not taken in timely fashion over the next eighty years. Whereas the prior three scenarios serve as preventative planning solutions, the control case examines the consequences and decision making in the aftermath of sea level rise and storm surge.