Inspiring communities with Climate-Adaptive Design

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    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.
    BREAKING NEWS: CAD Student team receives national design recognition for their work in the City of Kingston from the American Society of Landscape Architects!
    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. Community stakeholders are engaged throughout the studio to help inform the student design process, and support more usable results to the municipality that CAD is partnered with.

    "Thank you so much for coming… the work that I saw 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)

    Hudson riverfront communities are facing increasing flood and other climate risks. Since the Hudson River is an estuary, it experiences daily tides and sea-level rise. The water has risen over a foot since 1900 and the rate of sea level rise has been accelerating.

    By the 2050s, many communities could experience up to 30 or more additional inches of sea level rise, 4 to 6 more days with intense precipitation and 2 to 4 more heat waves each year, according to NYS climate projections.

    CAD student explaining her team's design to community stakeholder at the final open house in Piermont, NY


    Key themes emerge from stakeholder input that informs student designs, for example:

    • Access and circulation
    • Ecology + marsh migration
    • Economic development + historic preservation
    • Recreation + education
    • Industry + commerce

    The four-month design process begins 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. Each community presents new design challenges and opportunities for innovation in adaptive design. Students infuse their designs with knowledge, opportunities and challenges specific to each community, that they uncover during multiple site visits and interviews with local stakeholders.

                                                              Click here to download a one-page fact sheet on CAD
    Stair tower lookout concept, City of Hudson, NY (L. Butts and S. Wistrom)

    CAD is led by Associate Professor Josh Cerra from the Cornell Dept. of Landscape Architecture, with help from Libby Zemaitis from the Hudson River Estuary Program, Todd Walter from the Cornell Dept. of Biological and Environmental Engineering, and Nava Tabak from Scenic Hudson.

    After the CAD studio ends, the Estuary Program and its partners are happy to support the community to continue exploring design concepts and linking in potential funding and support.

                                  Click here to watch a webinar on CAD, with perspective from the City of Kingston studio

    Photo Gallery

    Landscape architect students presenting design concept plans to Village of Catskill stakeholders
    CAD Catskill Planning Team: Professor Josh Cerra, Libby Zemaitis, Liz LoGiudice and Nancy Richards