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Living Breakwaters Wins 2014 Fuller Challenge

The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) is pleased to announce that a comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project, Living Breakwaters has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, “socially responsible design’s highest award”. The project was submitted by SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PLLC based in New York.

“Don’t fight forces, use them.” —R. Buckminster Fuller

“Living Breakwaters is about dissipating and working with natural energy rather than fighting it. It is on the one hand an engineering and infrastructure-related intervention, but it also has a unique biological function as well. The project team understand that you cannot keep back coastal flooding in the context of climate change, but what you can do is ameliorate the force and impact of 100 and 500 year storm surges to diminish the damage through ecological interventions, while simultaneously catalyzing dialog to nurture future stewards of the built environment,” said Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, a 2014 senior advisor and jury member.

“This year’s Challenge winners deeply know that doing a physical intervention off the coastline would not be enough to create systemic change. Living Breakwaters is a project based in connections—the leadership team brings their deep expertise in technology and ecological science into the social dimension onshore in partnership with the community itself,” added Sarah Skenazy, Fuller Challenge Program Manager.

The Living Breakwaters project integrates components ranging from ecologically engineered “Oyster-tecture,” to transformational education around coastal resiliency and the restoration of livelihoods traditional to the community of Tottenville in Staten Island, while also spurring systemic change in regulatory pathways at the State level.

Kate Orff of SCAPE said, “We are so honored to be the 2014 Fuller Challenge recipient – Fuller was optimistic about the future of humanity and deeply believed in cooperation as the way forward. As climate change impacts threaten shoreline populations, Living Breakwaters hopefully represents a paradigm shift in how we collectively address climate risks, by focusing on regenerating waterfront communities and social systems, and enhancing threatened ecosystems.” SCAPE Associate Gena Wirth added, “The project embraces people as a critical participant in a healthy urban ecosystem, and uses the regenerative power of ecology to reduce risk and grow a layered, resilient shoreline.”

Orff will accept the prestigious Fuller Challenge prize and a $100,000 cash award on behalf of the SCAPE team at a celebration at The Wythe in Brooklyn, New York on November 20, 2014.

To request an invitation to attend the November 20th celebration, please click here.

Click here to learn more about Living Breakwaters.