Inspiring communities with Climate-Adaptive Design

    The CAD class after they presented their designs at the final open house in the City of Hudson, NY (L. Zemaitis)

    The Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studio is a research effort in partnership with Cornell Landscape Architecture, Cornell Water Resources Institute and the NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program.

    The CAD Studio links Cornell students in landscape architecture with flood-risk Hudson Riverfront communities to explore design alternatives for more climate resilient, beautiful and connected waterfront areas.

    "Thank you so much for coming… the work that I saw [from CAD] has completely changed the way I think about waterfront development" -Mayor Hamilton, City of Hudson, NY
    CAD alternative showing raised rail, floodable stormwater park and ferry building (M. Chi and X. Li)

    The Spring 2016 design studio focused on flooding and other climate risks in the South Bay area in the City of Hudson, NY. The Hudson has risen 13" since 1900 and the rate of sea level rise has been accelerating.

    By the 2050s, the City could experience 5 to 27" additional inches of sea level rise, 4 to 6 more days with intense precipitation and 4 to 6 more heat waves each year, according to NYS ClimAID projections.

    Five key themes emerged from stakeholder input that informed the student designs:

    Stakeholders interacting the CAD design boards at the final open house in Hudson, NY (L. Zemaitis)
    • Industry
    • Access and circulation
    • Ecology + marsh migration
    • Economic development + historic preservation
    • Recreation + interpretation

    The four-month design process began with students studying the community’s natural watershed setting, NYS projections for climate change, and solutions for designing more climate adaptive spaces, like floodable parks and wet flood-proofed buildings. Hudson presented new design challenges surrounding adaptation options for the train tracks, industrial port, and South Bay marsh. Students infused their designs with knowledge, opportunities and challenges specific to Hudson that they learned during their site visits and interviews with local stakeholders.

    Click here to watch a webinar on CAD, with perspective from the City of Kingston studio
    Stair tower lookout concept, City of Hudson, NY (L. Butts and S. Wistrom)

    The planning and design team comprised Assistant Professor Josh Cerra from the Cornell Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Libby Zemaitis from the Hudson River Estuary Program, Liz LoGiudice from Columbia-Greene CCE, Jonathan Lerner from the City of Hudson, and 17 graduate students in the Cornell LA6020 Design Studio. Cornell Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering provided targeted guidance during the design process, and Scenic Hudson and Sustainable Shorelines also contributed resources and perspective to the project. 

    Landscape architect students presenting design concept plans to stakeholders in the Village of Catskill, NY (L. Zemaitis)

    The CAD design boards will be on display to the public at the Hudson Opera House through July 4th, 2016, with an opening reception from 4-6 pm on Saturday, June 4th, 2016.

    The Estuary Program and its partners are happy to support the community to continue exploration of the design concepts and link the community to potential funding sources.

    In Fall 2016, CAD students spent the semester in Kingston, NY developing ideas for the Island Dock-Block Park area, in continuation of City's Hudson Riverport Plan and Waterfont Flooding Task Force. In Fall 2015, we piloted the CAD program in the Village of Catskill in support of the community's Waterfront Resiliency Task Force. The Waterfront Task Forces were convened in 2013 and 2014 to study the current and future impacts of flooding and sea level rise and recommend adaptation strategies.

    Photo Gallery

    Cornell student explaining CAD design concept at the Hudson open house
    CAD Catskill Planning Team: Professor Josh Cerra, Libby Zemaitis, Liz LoGiudice and Nancy Richards