Vision and Action Plan for Flushing Waterways

Year_Semester: 2022 Fall

Course Number: SES-840

Course Name: Delta Cities Coastal Resilience (DCCR) Studio

Department(s): Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment

Location: Flushing Bay Waterways, Queens, New York.

Community Partner(s)/Collaboration(s): Guardians of the Flushing Bay.

Full project report can be accessed here.

Student Participants (Last, First): 

Zein Ali Ahmad

Dhwani Patel

Keshvi Ahir

Marium Naveed

Molly Blann

Helen Harman

Rita Musello Kelliher

Anna Browne

Harrison Nesbit

Pratap Jayaram

Maithri Shankar

Alyssa Bement

Alex Zarookian


Faculty (Last, First): 

Gita Nandan,

Lida Aljabar

Leonel Lima Ponce


Project Summary: 

The Delta Cities Coastal Resilient (DCCR) studio is an interdisciplinary studio that addresses the complex challenges associated with the short, mid-, and long-term adaptation to and the mitigation of climate change in waterfront communities. The course places a special emphasis on the physical characteristics of the built environment and the need to develop innovative design strategies to address the risks associated with severe weather. The approach responds to the need of a real client in order to embed physical interventions at the urban and building scale with the need to articulate planning strategies to harness the co-benefits of local projects at various other scales — while addressing historic legacies of environmental injustice, climate gentrification, and racist planning and design practices, more broadly.

Delta Cities Coastal Resilience Studio, in the Fall of 2022, will be working closely with Guardians of Flushing Bay [GoFB] in the communities surrounding and including Flushing Bay in Queens (specifically the neighborhoods of Flushing and Willets Point) to provide technical assistance to support their efforts to improve the health, vitality, and connection among the natural ecologies, residents and their relationship to the creek. Guardians of Flushing Bay is a grassroots leader and a coalition of human-powered boaters, park users, and local residents advocating for a healthy and equitably accessible Flushing Waterways. They organize family-friendly waterfront programming, community science and stewardship, and grassroots organizing. 

The Studio will have a focused lens on Flushing Creek and its immediately adjacent environs between Rt. 25A to the north and Roosevelt Ave. to the south. Students will take an iterative and mixed-methods approach to understanding the study area and the needs of local stakeholder, and to interpreting and identifying pathways for harmonizing the various active initiatives taking place now and in the near future. This will include (but not be limited to) the following areas of work:

  • Asset mapping and community-wide systems analysis documenting historic and existing conditions affecting waterways and the health of water ecosystems, public health, community displacement and water access. 
  • Designing and conducting qualitative outreach and research with local stakeholders
  • Identification, mapping and prioritization of potential project sites through the creation of a selection criteria that includes connectivity and possibilities associated with public transit (surface and intermodal systems).
  • Creation of resilient and sustainable site design guidelines that explore concrete opportunities for coastal protection strategies that respond to complex environmental priorities, while creating solutions that build on and demonstrate opportunities to transform the local provision of goods and services.
  • Integration of community assets with community-wide resilient system co-benefits — particularly in relation to major city, state and federal policies/plans.
  • Articulating training and workforce development opportunities; and 
  • Creating a community-based economic benefits plan and funding sources & strategies
  • integrating industrial land-uses with nature-based coastal design strategies
  • an analysis of the Special Flushing Waterfront District in relationship to the needs of a resilient and flourishing local ecology. In relationship to such proposed developments the studio will analyze zoning regulations and the potential for policy changes, i.e. WEDG and waterfront planning policies