10 plans to stormproof NY area are finalists

Living-Breakwaters.jpg&q=80&MaxW=640&imageversion=widescreen&maxh=36010 plans to stormproof NY area are finalists

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development unveiled 10 finalists Thursday in a design competition that aims to bring more resilient infrastructure to areas affected by Superstorm Sandy. Among the finalists were several that would radically alter New York City.

The competition was run by a joint HUD-White House initiative called Rebuild by Design. With the finalists now agreed on, the next step will be to pick one or more winners—something that is expected by the end of the month—who will be eligible for federal cash, in the hope of bringing at least one of the massive projects to fruition.

“(This competition) is a model for how we can use public-private partnerships to spur innovation, protect our communities from the effects of climate change, and inspire action in cities across the world,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement.

Fully half of the 10 proposals, culled from about 150 entries from around the world, would significantly alter the landscape of the city.

Big U
Big U aims to create flood and stormwater barriers in the southern half of Manhattan. Photo: Courtesy of RBD Press

A project dubbed the Big U, for example, aims to create a series of flood and stormwater barriers ringing the southern half of Manhattan. Those barriers would double as public spaces on the model of Battery Park City or former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal for a Seaport City. The Big U would wrap around the island from West 57th Street, run down to Battery Park, then back up the other side to roughly East 42nd Street.

An even broader plan calls for miles of sand dunes off the coast of New York and New Jersey called “blue dunes.” These essentially barrier islands would bear the brunt of any storm.

Three other proposals focused far more tightly on fixing specific weaknesses along the city’s shoreline. To protect the hard-hit South Shore of Staten Island, for example, one of the teams is proposing a “necklace of breakwaters” situated offshore.


Hunts Point
The Hunts Point Lifelines, designed by PennDesign/OLIN, is a finalist. Photo: Courtesy of RBD Press

Meanwhile, up in Hunts Point in the Bronx, one plan envisions not just eco-friendly flood barriers, but finding ways to get food from the city’s huge wholesale market there to the rest of the city via water.

The initiative was launched in the summer of 2013, and is also a product of President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, though it is funded through such private entities as the Rockefeller Foundation.

The winning proposals will be eligible for HUD’s community development block grants, although the exact size of the pot is unclear. Winners may also receive other public- and private-sector funding.

Even though some of the proposals focused on specific areas hard-hit by the 2012 storm, the idea behind the competition was to make those ideas replicable across the entire region, according to Henk Ovink, principal of Rebuild by Design.


Commercial Corrider
The Commercial Corridor Resiliency Project is another finalist. Photo: Courtesy of RBD Press

“If you deliver a design for barrier islands off Long Island, a similar solution might make sense in New Jersey,” he said. “Then we can work with both communities to see if they are interested.”

Mr. Ovink hails from the Netherlands, where he oversaw questions of infrastructure and water management before being tapped by Mr. Donovan as a senior HUD adviser to run the competition.

Mr. Ovink believes that the competition process will serve as a standard of how to bring both international talent and ideas to local and regional questions of resiliency.

A version of this article appears in the March 7, 2014, print issue of Crain’s New York Business.

Maxons Moment #12

Maxons Moment #12

Blinded By The Dust
Air passes through window areas, and airborne dust and allergens
accumulate on all types of window treatments – which are rarely cleaned.

Participate in a mold testing study



Special Announcement

The Health Department, in cooperation with Columbia University, is looking for volunteer homeowners to participate in a mold testing study in Hurricane Sandy affected areas of Brooklyn and Queens.

The study is funded by the federal government and will focus on 1 and 2 family houses that are planning mold cleanup. Qualifying homes will receive compensation (gift card or money) for their participation along with mold testing before and after cleanup. Call 311 and ask for Mold Testing Study.

What is mold?

mold on wall Mold (mildew), mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors. Hundreds of different kinds of mold are commonly found in the United States and New York City.

Where is mold found?

Mold usually grows in damp places, such as bathrooms
and basements.

How does mold grow?

It can grow almost anywhere there is water, high humidity, or damp conditions. Mold grows faster in warm temperatures and high humidity.

How are people exposed to mold?
  • You can breathe in mold particles if mold is disturbed
    or damaged.
  • You can also breathe in tiny spores (similar to seeds) that mold may release into the air.
  • You can touch mold and get it on your skin.
  • You can swallow mold if you eat moldy or spoiled food.
What are the health effects of mold?
  • Some people are allergic to molds.
  • Mold exposure may cause or worsen asthma symptoms, hay fever, or other allergies.
  • The most common symptoms of mold exposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, and trouble breathing. Symptoms usually disappear after the mold contamination is removed.
  • More severe reactions to mold may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of mold on the job, such as farmers working with moldy hay.
Should I see a doctor if I have been exposed to mold?

If you think that you or your children have symptoms related to mold exposure, you should see a doctor. Keep in mind that many symptoms associated with mold exposure are also caused by many other illness.

How can mold be prevented?

The best way is to remove water and moisture sources. Fixing leaks, drying damp areas, and removing humidity from the air (e.g., using a dehumidifier in basements; cracking a window while taking a shower in bathrooms with no exhaust ventilation) will help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.

How can I safely clean mold in my home?

mold on wall

  • Use soap or a detergent solution and water to clean small areas of mold (less than 10 square feet) on walls or other hard surfaces as soon as you see it.
  • Wear waterproof gloves.
  • Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • If the mold returns quickly or spreads, there may be an underlying problem such as a water leak. To stop mold, water problems must be fixed.
  • If large areas of mold are present, you may need a professional mold abatement company. Check the phone book for mold abatement contractors.
What does my landlord have to do?
  • Your landlord and building manager must keep your building in good condition so mold will not grow. This means repairing water leaks and correcting persistently high humidity levels.
  • If you have a lot of mold (more than 10 square feet) or it keeps coming back after you have cleaned it, ask your landlord to fix the problem.
  • If the problem isn’t fixed, call 311.

For more info http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/mold.shtml


Maxons Moment #11

Maxons Moment #11

Time For An Update
Cleaning products expire just like milk and medicine. Take the time every spring to update and properly dispose of expired cleaning products.