Courtyard House


Sea Bright, one of New Jersey's shore towns, is hoping to rebuild its identity by continuing to draw tourists to its beach and businesses. The river side will focus on bringing life by adding a boardwalk to the edge, thus creating attractions on both sides of Sea Bright. The prototype proposed is not only storm responsive, but will enhance the social atmosphere between neighbors. The prototype’s modular construction will help build homes faster and economically. Not only can the house be built as a stand-a-lone, but it can also be adapted to add other units in the future. The courtyard house is the new improved beach house for the shoreline.

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Inverted House


The disaster that occurred during Hurricane Sandy left many homeowners and neighborhoods devastated. Different communities all around New Jersey worked together to rebuild and restore their neighborhoods to their former state.By helping each other, each community was able to bounce back from the catastrophe. The inverted street obligates neighbors to be a part of a community, not only during a crisis, but during everyday life. Communities functioning together will empower the New Jersey resilient build. The inverted street will be a design mechanism to advocate people to be part of a community in times of need. Having people socially interact on an everyday basis will help the individual, home, and community withstand a devastating storm. Homeowners will respectably own their property but will now be part of a cluster community. Each home will have its own entity and property line, but, rather than being a single home, will now be part of a cluster of houses that are linked together by a water collecting roof. The houses will be elevated and connected by a common walkway space. This elevated street will help with yearly flooding, yet permit homeowners to continue their daily routines with less worry.

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Amity House


The purpose of Amity House is to solicit proposals for the design of new residential buildings in Union Beach. The proposed block for the new residential building construction was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. New residential buildings on this block will require floodproofing, as the block is a flood risk. The new houses, totaling 14 units, will be integrated into half of the purposed site area. Each building will be composed of two units that will share one communal deck that is easily accessible from the street. The communal deck will be set at 4’ above ground level. The decking connection of the units will promote neighbor amity.

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Nested House


The aim of this project was to design an environmentally suitable and resilient family house with rental space. The concept of "nested house" was derived from Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye. The house is raised on piles to avoid flood inundation, creating space for pedestrians, and is anchored with center stairs to protect the building from any subsidence due to undercutting and erosion. The plan takes the shape of a puzzle with multiple access points. Connecting these puzzles together creates a cluster community. Throughout the housing complex, a series of linked terraces serve as courtyards for communal space, which enhances socialization and promotes the idea of spreading-out the connected buildings horizontally.

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NJIT's Tom Dallessio Speaks at United Nations to Celebrate World Cities Day 2014


On Oct. 31, 2014, Tom Dallessio, director of NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, gave an address at the United Nations to celebrate the inaugural World Cities Day 2014, a celebration of global urban transformations led by UN-Habitat. The following is his address:

World Cities Day Address

Salutation Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished guests: Buon Giorno!  I am Tom Dallessio, Director of the Center for Resilient Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Board Member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. I’m pleased to join you in celebrating World Cities Day 2014.

Introduction As you know, urbanization is occurring all around the world; but to ensure it is sustainable, we must plan and design cities to be economically, environmentally and socially resilient. As you also well know, for the first time in history, over half of the world’s population is living in cities and towns. Constantly on the rise, it is expected to reach almost 5 billion by 2030 and 6.3 billion by 2050. The concentration of peoples with diverse backgrounds, and different cultural and ethnic origins and beliefs provides both challenges and opportunities that leaders throughout the world must recognize and address. Because cities of all sizes struggle to provide resources and apply good practices to respond to the magnitude of this change, the UN correctly recognizes the importance of managing social inclusion in people-centered urbanization. Today’s message, on World Cities Day 2014, is that there is a critical need to lead urban transformations. I thank the United Nations, UN-Habitat, the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations for providing the civic space to raise difficult questions and seek shared answers. The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is pleased to contribute to this dialogue. As an urban planner, I know that cities are faced with the end results of transnational and internal migration. The pressures today on infrastructure, housing, social services and other public services are exacerbated by urban growth and providing equitable access. However, international and national migration policies are often implemented without local input or control. Given this, balancing economic growth, environmental conservation and social progress is more critical than ever. And, I’d argue, is absolutely necessary to ensure that cities are sustainable and resilient. We can and must enact policies, propose urban designs and build neighborhoods and cities that meet these objectives. The Rockefeller Foundation has defined 5 characteristics of resilient systems that can provide lessons for cities facing social cohesion challenges. They are: 1. Aware – knowing strengths and assets, liabilities and vulnerabilities, and threats and risks. Constantly assessing the social cohesion of a city can be both responsive and preventative. It requires methods of sensing and information-gathering, including robust feedback loops that could take the form of community meetings or monitoring systems that are accessible to the variety of people living and working in the city. Today’s technology and social media provide a multitude of opportunities as well as challenges for keeping city leaders, residents and visitors aware and actively engaged. Being mindful, tolerant and embracing of differences in language, culture, religion, custom and attitude can enhance urban resiliency. 2. Diverse – Although in this case, the intention is a surplus of capacity, I’d argue that cities can and must draw upon the range of capabilities of its people. Finding locations and vehicles to enhance diversity will provide both short-term and long-term benefits. 3. Self-Regulating – Here, it is critically important that people behave and interact in ways to continue functioning to the city’s purpose, dealing with anomalous situations and interferences without extreme malfunction, collapse or disruptions. True social resilience strives for cities where people can withstand disruptions or crises because there’s a common level of respect as well as a welcoming for diverse populations. 4. Integrated – Having the ability to bring together disparate thoughts and elements into cohesive solutions and actions is key. Sharing information across neighborhoods or social strata, collaboratively developing ideas and solutions, and communicating transparently with involved or affected people are three central tenets of social resiliency, which require feedback loops to be truly effective. And, 5. Adaptive – The capacity to adjust to changing circumstances, especially as a result of transnational or internal migration, by developing plans, taking actions or modifying behaviors will ensure that cities are better able to withstand and recover from a disruption. Flexibility is also key here, with wise city leaders applying existing resources to new purposes. The Rockefeller Foundation holds that humans are not born with resilience – that we learn, adapt and improve upon it. Whether it is nature or nurture, we know that social resilience is both desired and necessary to enhance our economy and environment. It is clear that public debate here in America and around the world has focused on economic and environmental sustainability. However, the cultural and ethnic dimensions must also be taken into consideration, to advance social equity and the future resiliency of cities and towns. Policies and urban designs that manage diversity and promote social cohesion among residents and visitors must be advanced by mayors and others at the local level to make cities more vibrant. Creating a common space for this discussion as well as ensuring that all peoples are represented in the dialogue and are shareholders, not just stakeholders in the conversation, should be the mission of mayors. The 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, led by the Rockefeller Foundation, provides an interesting test for resiliency. Whether it becomes the Agora many hope for remains to be seen. That being the case, it is both informative and encouraging to see this level of exploration. I’m proud that the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is working to promote a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design in the planning of our cities. One year ago, we organized a conference here at the United Nations on resilient design. While most of the conversation focused on responses to natural disasters, we recognize that social resiliency is key to a sustainable future. We look forward to collaborating on initiatives that advance economic, environmental and social sustainability and resiliency, and are committed to making Habitat III a clarion call for these critical goals. We join Dr. Joan Clos and others who advocate changes to our physical environment to advance this sustainability and resiliency. We are committed to bringing together different shareholders for exchanges of innovative policies and best practices applicable to both developed and developing regions of the world. Our objective is to establish a global conversation on sustainable urbanization, embracing all sectors of society. One actionable step worth considering is the creation of a Mayors’ Academy on Resilient and Sustainable Habitats. MARSH would bring urban leaders together with actual case studies from their cities to find ways through physical design and policy revisions to improve their cities. Designing spaces that enhance social resiliency would benefit all, especially those who are often not considered in the planning of infrastructure and communities. And, the establishment of a network of educated and engaged mayors on the benefits of resilient design would have long-lasting effects. On this two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, architecture students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology continue to investigate ways to address economic, environmental and social resiliency. Today’s session reminds me that our work continues with renewed purpose. To conclude, I believe that diversity is economically, environmentally and socially resilient. The challenge is for mayors and other local leaders to take ownership and enact policies, programs and designs that address this resiliency. Thank you.  

Two Years Later -- Lessons and Opportunities in a Post-Sandy World: N.J. Mayor's Summit on Resilient Design


NJIT's Center for Resilient Design, in cooperation with the AIA Regional Recovery Working Group and NJ State League of Municipalities, hosted a summit on the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy to convene N.J. Mayors and other public officials, design professionals, and others to address lessons and opportunities following the worst natural disaster in New Jersey history.

Through a series of presentations and frank discussions, local officials brought actual challenges to the table and jointly explored opportunities to recover and rebuild in a more resilient manner. The Summit Agenda focused on Resources, Strategies, and Solutions. Some mayors sent key staff to focus on implementation.

NJIT College of Architecture and Design faculty Georgeen Theodore, Susan Bristol, Matt Burgermaster, and Keith Krumwiede presented resilient designs of buildings, infrastructure, and communities, prompting responses and engagement by local, State, and federal officials. This free event connected mayors and design professionals seeking solutions.

Outcomes included identification of existing and potential funding, technical expertise, and legal and regulatory changes to make communities more resilient. Mayors gained tools necessary to make their communities more resilient.

Sponsored by NJIT's Center for Resilient Design, AIA Regional Recovery Working Group, and the N.J. State League of Municipalities.

NJIT's Alternative Spring Break


      NJIT Alternative Spring Break

In early 2013, the Center for Resilient Design initiated the NJIT “Alternative Spring Break.” More than 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends undertook volunteer work from Newark to the Jersey shore, cleaning up devastated areas and helping towns rebuild resiliently. Students worked on removing debris from beaches and parks, removing floors and wallboard, replacing floors and walls, painting and carpentry, stocking and distributing food and clothing, compiling information on areas affected by Sandy, and doing other work to help communities recover and rebuild. The highly successful program was implemented again in 2014.

For a playlist of NJIT's Alternative Spring Break videos, visit:  
See Alternative Spring Break 2014 for more information about the Center's 2014 activities.
NJIT Alternative Spring Break

Resilient Design: Prevention & Recovery (Selected Resources)


This guide introduces materials to support the Resilient Design program and research activities of the Center for Resilient Design @NJIT. This guide has been compiled to share the latest data, maps, and other information across a number of organization platforms in order to provide a service to potential users.    

World Urban Forum 7


At the World Urban Forum 7  in Medellin, Colombia, the Center was represented by CoAD Dean Urs Gauchat and then Center Director Tom Dallessio. In a session on April 7th organized by the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, Dean Gauchat moderated a panel on Smart Cities and Director Dallessio served as a panelist. The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization represents a collaboration with the UN, professional, academic, and other institutions organized to promote frameworks for sustainable development and exchanges of best practices with a new found optimism about our urban future. The Consortium is committed to support the UN Habitat Agenda and Goals 7 and 8 of the Millennium Development Goals through bringing together the different stakeholders of UN member countries for conferences and dissemination of innovative policies and solutions applicable to both developing and developed regions of the world. Its programs are meant to appeal to a broad audience that includes central and local governmental authorities, NGOs, planning and design professionals, academicians, the private sector, students, and the general public. SMART CITIES Announcement Final JM Smart Cities Introduction Urs slides Smart City_ Singapore SMART CITIES  

Three NJIT Officials Address the United Nations


Three NJIT officials addressed the United Nations Friday, participating in an international conference about how cities can use resilient design to prepare for natural disasters. The United Nations is establishing policies on resilient design -- design that emphasizes stronger building methods -- and the addresses by NJIT’s Joel Bloom, Urs Gauchat and Thomas Dallessio will have an influence on the formulation of that policy. Their remarks will become part of the United Nation’s proceedings and help it establish international policies relating to resilient design, housing and infrastructure. The conference, titled “Resilient Design for Sustainable Urbanization,” was held as part of and in tribute to World Habitat Day, where cities around the world organized conferences addressing how they can improve transportation during disasters. It was held in the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council and attended by 400 people. The conference was organized by UN-Habitat, the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, AIA-NY and the Center for Resilient Design at NJIT. The conference was divided into two panels, the first of which, “To Build or Not to Build,” was moderated by Gauchat, Dean of the College of Architecture and Design; President Bloom later talked about the resilient design efforts at NJIT; and Dallessio, director of NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, introduced the afternoon’s panel discussion on how resilient design can build sustainable communities and enhance urban mobility.

NJIT Center Takes the World Stage

The Center for Resilient Design, a co-sponsor of the conference, promotes innovation in storm-resistant building. It has also helped various communities in New Jersey rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Though just a year old, the center is already getting national and international recognition. Over the last year, teams of NJIT students and faculty have fanned out across the metro region, using their technical and design skills to help communities hurt by Sandy. That’s why the center was invited to co-sponsor and participate in a major international conference at the U.N. “To be invited to address the United Nations is a great honor for our center and validates what we are doing,” says Dellassio. “It also puts New Jersey and resilient design on the world stage.” The conference was attended by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of the United Nations, and John Ashe, President of the U.N. General Assembly, who participated in the panel discussions. They were joined by experts from national and local governments, nonprofit groups and institutes as well as academia and industry, all of whom presented case studies on how cities can use resilient design to prepare for natural disasters.

Do We Have the Political Will to Rebuild?

Dean Gauchat, the first NJIT representative to speak, moderated a four-person panel. In his introductory remarks, Gauchat summarized the effects of global warming and then raised a series of questions for the panel and the audience. “Is it possible to retreat from all disaster-prone areas?” he asked. “And can major coastal cities retreat? Are there safer areas to move to that are not already populated? And most importantly, can long-term solutions to achieve more resilience be reconciled with the typical short-term thinking of politics and business?” After each of the panelists spoke, Gauchat summed up by stressing that while humanity has the technical knowledge to rebuild resiliently, what it lacks is a collective political will. “Resilient design is a fascinating topic,” said Gauchat.  “We know where to do it, we know how to do it, but ultimately it comes down to political will.    I am optimistic because the United Nations is all about collaboration. And I think our talks today will help us find and implement resilient design solutions.”

President Bloom Praises the Center

During lunch, President Bloom gave his address in the U.N.’s South Dining Room.  He gave an overview of NJIT, explaining why a nationally-ranked research university, located in Newark, is ideally suited to help the metro region rebuild. And he praised the Center for Resilient Design, where architects, designers, planners and other construction experts have collaborated to help the region recover and to prepare for other disasters spurred by rising sea levels. “I was personally affected by the storm,” said Bloom, “my house was destroyed by Sandy and was recently rebuilt. So I appreciate the quick action taken by the Center for Resilient Design, which just a few weeks after the storm had students and faculty in flooded areas, assessing the damage and thinking up resilient ways to rebuild homes and businesses.”

Detailing the Success of the Center

In the afternoon session, Dallessio, the director of the center, introduced the second panel of experts and framed the discussion. In his remarks, he said the center was created with the express purpose to help residents, businesses and communities recover from and anticipate future natural disasters. In one instance, he said, the center asked NJIT students and faculty to donate more than 3,500 hours of time volunteering to help communities from Newark to Beach Haven recover from Sandy.  Professors and students provided communities with 2-D, 3-D and 4-D designs for their homes and businesses. And 600 students also volunteered to give up their spring break, and to spend it instead working in New Jersey to help communities recover from the storm. “The challenges of resilient design for sustainable urbanization are varied and many,” said Dallessio. “Sustainable urban mobility will require us to be, as we like to say in New Jersey, stronger than the storm.  And in the end, innovation and best practices can and must be shared, making us smarter than the storm.”

By Robert Florida


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