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A New Urban Ground


New York, New York


Research and Planning
Parks and Infrastructure


DLANDstudio partnered with ARO to create “A New Urban Ground” for MOMA’s 2010 “Rising Currents” exhibition, calling attention to Manhattan’s vulnerability to climate change. Currently an oppositional relationship exists between the built city and water. “A New Urban Ground” proposes an integrated and reciprocal organization of natural and hard infrastructure systems. A combination of strategies, including perimeter wetlands, a raised edge, and sponge slips paired with new upland street infrastructure systems, protect the island from flooding in the event of a large storm.


Our proposal consists of two components that form an interconnected system: porous green streets and a graduated edge. Typical rain events will infiltrate porous streets and help keep surface water out of the city’s combined sewer system. In larger storms, the streets filter and carry water to new perimeter wetlands to enrich coastal ecologies.

Three interrelated, high-performance systems are constructed on the coast to mitigate sea level rise and storm surge force: an upland park network, freshwater wetlands, and brackish marshes.

A New Urban Ground is a quietly radical rethinking of urban design that brings together natural ecologies with engineered infrastructure systems to transform the city in both performance and experience. This plan, which was proposed almost two years before Hurricane Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan, has been cited internationally as a possible model for new civic approaches to storm and sea level rise resilience.

Project completed with Architectural Research Office.

More info:

Exhibition website
Exhibition blog
Exhibition book

44 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

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