Living With Water In Red Hook

2016 Spring
SES 840, Design Studio
Full project report can be accessed here.

To set the context for the basis of this report and the need for an Integrated Flood Protection System, it is important to understand Superstorm Sandy’s profound impact on Red Hook. Almost the entire Red Hook neighborhood was flooded by storm surges coming from both the harbor and Gowanus Canal during Sandy. The water damaged homes, businesses, and infrastructure, disrupting lives and businesses. – In total, approximately 3,100 businesses along Red Hook’s waterfront, employing approximately 34,600 people, were impacted by the storm.

Flooding of infrastructure posed many problems. Both electricity and gas service were interrupted for weeks in many residences, with the hardest hit being the Red Hook Houses. This was particularly concerning because seniors and those with disabilities were stranded on upper floors with no access to elevators. The important network of health and social service facilities were severely flooded, making it harder to bring important services to people in this time of distress.

The sewers were inundated causing backups and allowing sewage to mix with floodwaters on the streets. Transportation throughout Red Hook was severely impaired, making it difficult to get to-and-from the neighborhood (RH.NYR.CRP).

Despite the extreme difficulties facing Red Hook, residents, other volunteers from outside Red Hook, old and newly formed local organizations jumped in and showed an incredible effort to help the community. Many cite a slow response from the government, but others acknowledge that certain agencies, like NYCHA and the NYC Department of Sanitation, helped restore the neighborhood (RH.NYR.CRP).

Since the immediate aftermath of Sandy, there have been numerous citywide recovery initiatives. As we conduct our studio, EDC is also undertaking a project to plan an Integrated Flood Protection System (IFPS) for Red Hook. Though we will not be working directly on the EDC process, the ideas developed in our studio can ultimately be used by community groups, such as NY Rising, to advocate to EDC for innovative, comprehensive and innovative solutions to flooding.

Client Partner:

Red Hook Initiative


Stein Jaime, Nandan Gita, Jost Tom, Kuz Zehra(UA)


Alan Vlakancic

Bamman Ashley

Barbier Aurelie

Bezemes John

Clark Greyson

Colross Christopher

Cottone James

Duraseau Yamile

Fisher Elias

Frederick Michael

Gratzer Beth

Gene Royce

Johnsen Levi C.

Levers Annie

Lidstrand Karissa

Paschall Daniel

Promisloff Brett

Riley Chris

Sallows Gabrielle

Savarese Katherine

Selden Kate

Tuachi Jessica

Wyse Case