Evan Michael Dobson
Coney Island faces an uncertain future. The potential for value growth in its real estate environment has been severely limited by the increasing severity and frequency of ocean-born storms. This threat has manifested itself on the island by stalled development plans, lack-luster real estate value, and under underutilized acreage. Coney Island is under-performing its potential: It has exceptional subway access to channels of increasing affluence throughout Brooklyn, especially Downtown, which will likely develop into one of America's major CBDs in the next century. The district of our site is along legendary beachfront, which elsewhere on the island has generated enormous residential sale prices. The Coney Island neighborhood has failed to perform on par for value, in part because of a spatial disconnect from the beach, between the ocean and the neighborhood, acres of empty land languish. We propose to cut channels through the island, connecting residential neighborhoods to the water with greater immediacy. Earth removed to cut water channels would be used to build temporary barriers wrapping existing residential neighborhoods. Vacant land outside of the barriers would be allowed to return to nature.
Having constructed a tenable real estate future for the Island, later stages of development focus on increases in density, development of water systems, and protection of the two. Over the span of decades, storms may become increasingly severe and water levels may rise. Addressing these fears, a seawall is constructed along the former coast. Although the seawall is a protective measure, the primary function of this seawall is as a means of control over tidal flows within the intricate flows of multi-functioned water systems within the island. Storm damage mitigation will be a matter of daily routine, and a strategic system of a rain and seawater dispersal will be central to coastal urbanism. Having ensured the continuation of Coney Island, high-end development towers stand along the seawall celebrating this famous threshold where the city-dweller puts his face to nature.