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What if New York City...
What if New York City...

Disaster Scenario

To aid the Competitors' understanding of the context for which they are designing, the Sponsors have illustrated the changing conditions of a hypothetical neighborhood, Prospect Shore, as it struggles through recovery after a catastrophic coastal storm hits New York City. 

The scenario unfolds on three parallel tracks: what happens at the scale of the city, what happens at the scale of the neighborhood, and what happens at the scale of a household.

The city scenario presents the story of the disaster from a general perspective, highlighting policy and decision making. Because a successful plan for Provisional Housing is constrained by factors beyond the physical nature of the site, Competitors should be aware of disaster response and recovery operations but not be bound by current regulations and programs. 

The neighborhood scenario demonstrates the evolution of the ground conditions for which the Competitors are designing. Damage assessments, debris removal and utility restoration all play major roles, but most important is the disruption and gradual resumption of normal life for the displaced population. 

The built environment of the neighborhood is a collage, drawn from parts of the city that are most vulnerable to storms while maintaining the diversity of land and building types found across New York City neighborhoods. The storm damage and recovery process in this neighborhood would be typical; therefore, a design for Provisional Housing that works for Prospect Shore could have application throughout the city.

What happens to the city?
What happens to the neighborhood?
What happens to the people? 

About Prospect Shore

Prospect Shore covers roughly a mile (1.6 km) of the New York City coastline and immediate uplands. The eastern and western edges are defined by picturesque blocks of three-story single-family homes. The eastern area contains a small historic district. An elevated highway with parking underneath divides the neighborhood. Manufacturing and warehouse buildings, remnants of the neighborhood's origins, are clustered around the highway, especially by the coast. North and west of the highway is a vibrant mixed commercial and residential area. South and east are large parks and tall apartment towers. In each distinct area, there are multiple schools, health facilities, religious structures and municipal buildings. Two subway lines give the neighborhood quick access to the rest of the city. 

Like most of the city, it's difficult to find an apartment or home in Prospect Shore. A building boom in the last five years has filled in most of the vacant lots and converted formerly industrial loft buildings into high-end residential.

Pre-Storm Demographic Profile

Prospect Shore is home to a diverse population of 115,000 people. There are 52,000 foreign born citizens that come from 21 different nations and speak nine different languages. There are 26,000 families, 18,000 children of school age, 5,800 under five and 8,600 elderly people living alone. An additional 7,800 are mobility impaired and live throughout the neighborhood. 

The daytime population slightly declines with 11% of the neighborhood commuting to other parts of the city for work. Many commute by subway or bus, although 40% of the population is in households that own a car. 

There is 8% unemployment (compared with the city average of 5.9 %) and 28% of the population lives below the federal poverty line.  

Of the 50,000 housing units, 69% are renter occupied. There are 4,000 units of publicly-assisted housing in the neighborhood.

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