Ennead Lab


LOCATION: New York City, USA

SUMMARY: F.R.E.D. (Fostering Resilient Ecological Design) is a cross-disciplinary project that develops whole-systems approaches for re-building and strengthening neighborhoods within coastal communities on the eastern seaboard of the United States. The project asks, “Can we re-think how (and why) we build and live near the water?”

PROBLEM SPACE: “Our desire to live near our coastlines has come at a cost, and increasingly, our sole reliance on man-made infrastructures has proved vastly inadequate both for the safety and long-term sustainability of our communities as well as for supporting the natural populations and ecologies of these coastlines. FRED makes a simple statement: there must be a better way. Short of an outright moratorium on new construction or some other political solution that would remove all human construction from the “coastal equation, thoughtful and holistic systems of development and construction for our coastal communities must be developed, shared, and celebrated if we are to adapt to the current ecological realities and help restore our once-resilient coastlines.
The problems facing our coastal communities are both numerous and systemic. There are the immediate concerns of hurricanes and other catastrophic events, and their related design and engineering challenges. Just as pressing are the longer-term implications of rising sea levels that every coastal community must confront if they are to address the bigger issues of long-term ecological and social resilience as well as the very real questions of engineering and practicalities of construction.”

SOLUTION: “New York City and its surrounding metropolitan region are home to at least nine typologies of coastal conditions, making this area a perfect incubator for researching and testing opportunities for strengthening our coastal communities. NYC is also home to a critical mass of the requisite professional experts (development, design, policy, engineering, construction, etc.) necessary to build a cross-disciplinary team to research this critical and timely question.
FRED was originally developed as an entry to the FARROC competition, and the project is based on seven key approaches for re-thinking how we build and live on our coasts. This application proposes FRED’s next steps, bringing our award-winning team back together to further develop these approaches to be more applicable to a diversity of coastal community typologies, creating a “kit of parts””— of policy recommendations, development strategies, and holistic engineered and natural systems that can be utilized by developers and political jurisdictions to help communities re-think how they build and live on our coasts. Though originally conceived around the requirements of a specific site, we believe our team’s approach has broad applications for many scales and typologies of community throughout the Mid-Atlantic and North-east regions.”