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Sink or Swim (SoS): Principles and Priorities in a Post-Sandy Era
Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:00am
Museum of Jewish Heritage
The Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation together with the Municipal Art Society (MAS) are hosting a conference entitled, “New York City: Sink or Swim (SoS): Principles and Priorities for Waterfront Restoration in a Post-Sandy Era,” which will take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan on December 13, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EST).

Sink or Swim (SoS) will define principles and identify priorities for long‐term investments in infrastructure necessary to adapt to the increased risks posed by sea level rise and other climate change impacts in the New York metropolitan region. SoS provides an opportunity to reflect on the delicate balance of managing the immediate needs of community rebuilding in the face of Hurricane Sandy and the long‐term trade‐offs of developing climate adaptive infrastructure. The dialogue of SoS is framed in the context of two panels: technical and mechanical. The technical panel provides a survey of the technical and design interventions available, as well as their corresponding pricing multiples and aggregate costs. SoS seeks to understand what interventions and combinations of interventions are necessary to shape a feasible strategic plan for catalyzing regional investment by both public and private actors. The dialogue then shifts to discussing the potential administrative mechanics and financial implications critical to executing such abroad multijurisdictional vision. SoS will frame a variety of scaled interventions—from architectural to infrastructural—that are both accessible and practical.

The program emphasizes the practical, by including a Dutch delegation led by the Commissioner of the Netherlands Delta Commission. The Dutch can trace their own experiments in water management and economy to the 12th century and today they lead the world in expertise and practical technology. The Dutch balance of soft and hard edge interventions provides a working model for managing environmentally sensitive urban systems. Is America ready to fundamentally adopt a philosophy the Dutch have embraced— of learning how to live with water and not against it? With this emerging framework SoS hopes to inform, empower and inspire communities and decision makers to reach a consensus about coastal reconstruction that is both holistic over the long‐term and feasible in the shortterm.


8:30 AM Breakfast and Check‐In

9:00 AM The Challenge to America’s Coastal Communities
Hon. Shaun Donovan, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban

9:30 AM Technical Aspects
Experts in engineering, architecture and urban design to discuss
innovative resilient infrastructure approaches in waterfront
neighborhoods. Session will highlight new tools, implementation
mechanisms and potential costs.

10:45 AM Break

11:00 AM Keynote Address
Mr. Jos van Alphen, Advisor, Delta Commission,

11:15 AM Management and Investment Strategies for Urban Resilence
Session to identify investment mechanisms and governance strategies
to overcome jurisdictional gridlock and institutional inertia.

12:30 PM Closing Keynote Address
Hon. Ken Salazar, United States Secretary of the Interior

Curated & Produced by Jesse M. Keenan

Admission is Free. Registration is Required.