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Jamaica Bay Story: Wicked Problem of Climate Change

Research Open House 2024

A rendering of the interior of a building showing a room with a pool and large windows that look outside.

Zehra Kuz

RAMP, In Collaboration with RISE

School of Architecture

A woman points at a computer screen while speaking with a figure in the foreground of the photograph.
Zehra Kuz at the 2024 Research Open House. Photo Courtesy of Pratt Communications and Marketing.

New York City with its vulnerable 520 miles of coastline is facing wicked problems due to the changing climate. Jamaica Bay and the surrounding communities can be seen as a poster child displaying the nature of the threat, the scope and scale of the challenges.

Jamaica Bay, divided between Brooklyn and Queens in the southern part of the NY Metropolitan area is the focus of the study. Here, the City’s inadequate infrastructure and JFK further exasperate the delicate balance between man-made and natural ecosystems.  Community Board 14 (Rockaway peninsula and the Broad Channel) is home to 125,000 people (Census 2010). Although new housing developments are underway on the Rockaway Peninsula, these neighborhoods will not be habitable in 80-100 (2-3 mortgage cycles) years; they need to be protected from storm surge, sea level rise and king tide movements now. While communities are still living here, economic opportunities need to be put in place so that the vulnerable families can build up equity and over the course of two generations might afford to move to safer locations. The glaring facts need to be addressed:

Flood Protection/Natural and man-made infrastructure
Economic Opportunity,
Urban Farming/FRESH Zone

How can we partake in envisioning the changing coastline while addressing the multi-tiered crisis of the City’s housing problem?

How can we embrace multi-objective strategies that aim to mitigate Climate Change?

A rendering of a building set on pylons over a marshland.