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Urban Design for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience

Studio Description: 

This interdisciplinary studio supports efforts by the City of Westport and South Beach Community to achieve resilience in the face of earthquakes, tsunamis, sea level rise, and other coastal hazards. Students explore combinations of architectural, landscape, community design, transportation, and land use strategies that anticipate future environmental changes. Such strategies include the design and programming of tsunami vertical evacuation structures (VAS) and their integration into the landscape and community; integrating Westport’s Complete Streets program with its evacuation plan; and envisioning ecologically low-impact uphill developments for current amenity and future refuge and resettlement.

The graduate section of the studio also coordinates with an on-going National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastlines and People (CoPe) project to develop a visual and textual geo-narrative of past and future hazards and environmental change in the community. The student design explorations and the geo-narrative – a platform for engaging community members in resilient strategy development – make use of a high-resolution 3D digital model of the community and its landscape.

Student work is of direct use to the community in on-going planning projects; receive national attention through the NSF CoPe project, “Coastal Hazard Planning in Time”; and receive international attention through the inter-university ArcDR3 Initiative, including presentation at the 10th anniversary of Japan’s 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2021. Lessons from that and other disasters and recoveries around the Pacific also inform the studio work.

Images 1-6  Cedar Retreat: Coming Full Circle (Or Almost), Amanda Hosmer

Images 7-13  Floating Neighborhoods: Amphibious Housing Prototypes, Variell Limas

Images 14-21  The Westport Ocean Market VES, Lucy Zhong