Originally developed in the 1920s as summer cottages on marshy infill, the bungalow courts shown in red are organized around internal mews that now stand at 4 feet below the street level as a consequence of the construction of the Coney Island Sewage treatment Plan, which entailed raising the surrounding grid.
As illustrated here for Stanton Court, the mews were damaged by Sandy; but they also flood with every heavy rainfall.
Working with the Pratt Center, we have spent three years helping court residents work together on common plans that will leverage their individual investments. This is a longstanding community who want to insure the environmental safety and economic well being of their neighborhood for years to come.
Because the homes are under-performing, fragile, and therefore difficult to raise, there are incentives for collectively lifting them and replacing them with a net-zero prefabricated alternative. (for more on the houses see 'Bungalows for Sheepshead' under 'Architecture')
Raising the houses in synchrony to the Design Flood Elevation allows the redesign of the existing landscape for collective water management infrastructure. Plantings and permeable paving continue even under the raised houses.
A collective raised boardwalk provides ADA access to the homes that would be impossible to implement within each small property. It also provides new social space with a monumental deck and shared solar array.
In collaboration with Jason Loiselle / Sherwood Engineering, we have begun to develop plans at the scale of the all the courts that create sequences of smaller and larger wetlands in relation to a renewed shoreline. Only this scale of planning will make the neighborhood truly sustainable.
The ultimate master plan would group the bungalows on the higher ground in denser configurations in order to free the ground needed to deal with upland flooding from rain and shore inundation. The by-product would be an increase in community parkland, which is now scarce.
To learn more about this project:
Listen to: WNYC, Matt Schuerman's piece It Really Does Take a Village to Rebuild After Sandy: http://www.wnyc.org/story/it-really-does-take-a-village-to-rebuild/
Read: “The Courts of Sheepshead,” Boundaries 111 ; “Provisional Coastlines,” Ground Rules, Alice Chun, ed. Wiley AD; “Sheepshead Rising,” Denise Brandt ed., Waterproofing New York