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big u-rebuild by design-nycImage via Rebuild by Design.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has just announced the six winners of their prestigious Rebuild by Design contest, created by President Obama in the wake of Superstorm Sandy as a way to develop ideas that will drastically change the physical, ecological, and economic resilience of coastal cities. A whopping $920 million is allocated to proposals by six interdisciplinary teams that represent some of the best planning, design, and engineering talent in the world.

As Governor Andrew Cuomo stated at the announcement of the winners, “Building stronger and more robust infrastructure is essential to preparing for the new reality of extreme weather, and with the support of our federal partners New York is becoming a national leader is storm resiliency.”

We’ve outlined a list of each winning proposal with some information about what makes them so awesome:  (more…)

Copenhagen Solutions_Rebuild By Design_NYC_Untapped Cities_Bhushan Mondkar-003Rendering of The BIG U, “The Harbor Berm,” an elevated path through the park.  Image Courtesy of BIG/ Rebuild By Design

Water has shaped civilizations and landscapes throughout history, and a city’s access to water often defines its destiny. From London to Mumbai and New York to Copenhagen, most of the coastal cities have experienced devastation from torrential downpours and rising sea levels. The approach taken in Copenhagen however, has championed holistic, integrated solutions and extensive public-private collaboration, making the city a global leader in fighting climate change while improving recreational infrastructure for its citizens.  (more…)

Specials on C art space in a bodega destroyed by Hurricane Sandy NYC Untapped CitiesPhoto via Specials on C’s Facebook page

When Hurricane Sandy came ripping through New York City, as many Untapped readers will recall, Lower Manhattan was consumed by a blackout and awash in floods. For many small businesses, the damage was devastating. Yet, where one bodega was wrecked, the community seized the opportunity to do something productive. Thus, Specials on C was born.

The vacant bodega on the corner of East 12th Street and Avenue C has found new life as a creative space for social projects. According to Specials on C’s website, “It’s not a gallery, or a venue, it’s a safe space for your social experiments.” The former bodega hosts art shows, interactive and performance art, concerts, pop-up shops, workshops and video nights.  (more…)

Nathan’s Famous still closed on Coney Island in January 2013: “No Hurricane Will Get Us Down”

We were nothing short of amazed by the Rising Waters exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, which featured both pro and amateur photographs of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermaths. Untapped Cities contributor Ben Helmer interviewed the featured photographers in the first exhibit, which included Nathan Kensinger, Wyatt Gallery and  Daniel Avila, of the NYC Parks Department. The exhibit was so popular, MCNY decided to host a special presentation to complement the exhibition, which they’ve dubbed Rising Waters 2.0.

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sopo electric-hurricane sandy fundraiser-tribeca-financial district-lower Manhattan-east village-nyc-untapped citiesBuy one of these lightbulbs from the Hurricane Sandy blackout and donate to help Hurricane Sandy victims. (Image via SoPo Electric)

This time last year, many New York City residents were greatly affected by the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Its wrath was indiscriminate, changing the lives of poor, working class, and wealthier members of coastal communities. Many families have yet to receive federal funding designated for them, and remain unable to repair their homes. Many business owners suffered a loss of livelihood or have struggled to return to a level of  functionality before the storm. SoPo Electric, made up of individuals based out of the East Village, is harvesting these stories and offering a chance to give back to those who have lost so much. Fifty darkened light bulbs collected from local businesses in every affected neighborhood are made into commemorative art pieces that you can buy, to give the proceeds to these families.

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Aaron Reiss-Far Rockaway-On the Come Up-Hannah Weyer-Teen Pregnancy-AnneMarie-NYC-Queens

“Far Rock,” this hand drawn map by Aaron Reiss (part of Citizen Productions, who made the recent Pinball Marathon video in Greenpoint), shows the Rockaways as seen from the eyes of AnneMarie, a character in the book On the Come Up by Hannah Weyer. It’s a true story of a thirteen-year old coming to terms with teen pregnancy and her unexpected success as a young actor.

The maps are highly rooted in memory, with Reiss asking AnneMarie to draw her neighborhood as she remembers it. Perhaps drawing on the architectural traditions of Colin Rowe and Frank Kotter in Collage City (themselves inspired by the drawings of Viennese architect Camillo Sitte), the map is a black and white figure-ground drawing. Also like Rowe and Kotter, Reiss is more interested in how the fragments of the city form a collective unconscious.

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