Portify as we fortify: maritime & resiliency, MARAD & FEMA

March 10, 2016 Our President Carolina Salguero spoke at the American Institute of Architect's NY Chapter (AIANY) Center for Architecture on a panel on water issues "H2O | Ceremony, Control and Conservation" that was part of their Global Dialogues series. She presented a Powerpoint "Design for Action".  

The video below provided by AIANY includes the full proceedings of the evening. Salguero's presentation starts at 47:50.

In Salguero's own words, her goals for the evening:

"We need to portify as we fortify" & "Walls vs apertures"

I am concerned that superstorm Sandy could drown a good idea.

I am concerned that the focus on protecting NYC from water could prevent NYC from "activating the waterways" with greater and more diverse uses such as advocated by Vision 2020, NYC's second comprehensive waterfront plan. "Activation" is urban planner speak for use it more.  In architectural terms, I see "a conflict between walls and apertures" where ports are apertures and most resiliency plans are about sea walls.  

Sandy rolled in a year and a half after Vision 2020 was released -- before the City had time to deploy the philosophy of that great plan  --  and the perception of our waterways morphed from asset to terror. 

I am concerned that protective walls will go up, preventing maritime uses from growing.  Concerned that FEMA resiliency funding will win the day before MARAD funding really gets their marine highway effort in place.  

MARAD is the Maritime Administration of the federal Department of Transportation.  The MARAD marine highway effort is a great way to reduce truck traffic and thus our carbon footprint, and reduce the wear and tear on our infrastructure, lowering financial and disruption costs.

As mentioned in my powerpoint, the US moves a very small amount domestic freight by water in comparison to others:

2011 domestic freight by water, MARAD figures:

  • 2% US

  • 44% Europe

  • 61% China

I was excited about the invitation to speak on the AIANY panel as an opportunity to reach people who are leading the design end of the resiliency dialogue, the architects, landscape architects and urban designers. 

There was a great discussion with the panelists after our presentation and continuing over dinner.  I emerged from this evening with new slogan, “we need to portify as we fortify.”

I also emerged with an introduction to staff at NYU’s Urban Systems Engineering And Management MS program. I am thrilled to report, that PortSide is talking to people there about how to draw attention to the issues above.

Thank you, AIANY for this great opportunity!

Below some of the slides from the Powerpoint Salguero presented that evening.

Full Powerpoint "Design for Action" here. Some select slides below.