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Arvene East, New York

Hurricane Sandy was a result of climate changes and global rise in sea levels. US politicians, government officials and urban planning policy makers have been calling for innovative ideas and engineered developments to reduce the possible damages of similar future disasters to New York City citizens and other states in US.

This proposal for Rockaway peninsula in Queens, New York, is bringing up new ideas in developing a flood resilient complex with sustainable strategies and respectful urban-contextual sensitivity. The main objective of this design is to find out site potentials as well as site issues to draw new perspectives for future developments, which are welcome by Rockaway residents, public sector and authorities.

Accordingly, design process started by looking at existing context of urban fabric on neighbor sites. It was understood that bungalow housing has been more popular by people than living in boxed multi-storey residential mid rise buildings. Due to site survey and interviews with residents, the main reason for this confront is flagged as inefficiency of boxed shaped developments in responding to basic needs of residents and public realm in providing open spaces. Crowded areas with less privacy for family based lifestyle were another issue that residents did not overwhelm in new multi-storey developments.

Meanwhile, economic and financial efficiency of multi-storey developments are mentioned as the key factor by developers in having interviews with them. It was understood that investments on high density developments can result in strong economical turn over. However, public sectors interest in living quality factors (i.e. privacy, sufficient living space, indoor and outdoor environment quality, sustainability and urban contextual sensitivities) has been effective in marketability of the new developments.

Indeed, this proposal introduces a landscape green zone between the seaside walk way and residential, commercial, educational and other new developments. The urban blocks in this proposal are designed to respond to flood resiliency, sustainability aspects, financial feasibility and public interests. The first floor is designed as car park space for residents and commercial space users. This space also saves damages in the flooding time by providing an empty pass way for flooding ocean. All individual residential units are designed to have pleasant ocean view, private yards for family gatherings and public yards for planting and having connections with neighbors.

Furthermore, all individual residential units have the minimum shadow making to neighbors and maximum connections to urban fabric. All residential units are designed to have maximum daytime sun for light efficiency with louvers and timber screens to control sun radiation. Indeed, all units benefit from having public connection to site through their transparent entry hub in the back of collection.

Getting patterns from respected urban fabric in neighborhood blocks and applying them to new proposal has driven the design process to respond to marketability and contextual sensitivity of new development. For instance, brick pattern of old bungalows has been used to create structure and overall look of entry hubs to units and typical weatherboard composition has been used in forming the stepped back frequency of new multi storey building. The negative and positive spaces between first and last floor of each block has been used to create public space for residents and public use.

This means that the roof of first floor is accessible platform for public in commercial packages (e.g. cafe and restaurants) providing nice views to ocean and active urban spaces.