Transitioning a coastline from an increasingly untenable line in the sand to a resilient amphibious frontier.
Bight: Coastal Urbanism
In January 2017, RPA launched a design competition which called on architects, landscape architects, designers and urban planners to visually demonstrate how policy changes, new investments, and innovative thinking proposed in the Fourth Regional Plan—A Region Transformed can transform different geographic areas in the Tri-State region and prepare them for the next 25 years. Rafi Segal and DLANDstudio were selected to propose visions and designs for the future of the Bight, the region’s Ocean Corridor.
The Bight is the notch in the region’s coast where ocean currents conspire to pile sand, forever redrawing the shore. “The Bight” is also an invention — a hard coastline extensively built during the 20th century, now stiff with aging settlements determined (but ill-suited) to stand their ground against storms and sea level rise. These opposing forces, where the immovable city meets an unstoppable nature, define its uncertain future. To relieve this tension, which threatens hundreds of miles of coast, hundreds of thousands of residents, and hundreds of billions of dollars in property losses, we propose replacing the hardened edge separating the city and nature with a new “landscape economic zone” — a buffer in which land and water commingle, creating new spaces for habitation, conservation, work and play.
The result is a less sprawling and more productive coast, made all the more resilient by tailoring homes, neighborhoods, suburbs, towns and cities to this new reality. The transition to renewable energy and the future of work-leisure in an era of intense automation inform the reimagined Bight as a new open space for America’s most populous region, rather than an increasingly untenable line in the sand.