In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Local Office Landscape Architecture joined a team led by the National Parks Service and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to provide schematic design and public outreach for a coastal dune forest pilot project in Rockaway Beach. Working alongside the leaders of community-based organizations throughout the Rockaways, Local Office delivered a design that will connect two of the isolated concession islands that were recently rebuilt under an emergency contract. The pilot project includes an elevated pathway set within a system of vegetated dunes, oriented to dissipate wave energy and protect the beach blocks from storm damage. Extensive plantings stabilize the dunes, shield the inland areas from harsh winds, and create pockets of shade for passive and active recreation near the oceanfront. In May, 2013, the Rockaway Beach Civic Association voted unanimously in support of the design, and a petition asking the Mayor’s Office to fund the project has gathered thousands of signatures from local residents.
Using wave modeling software, the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis analyzed the Double Dune Forest design for wave attenuation in a 100 year storm surge. The angular dune heads “fight waves with wave”‘ by bouncing the surge back out to sea, diminishing incoming swells before they come ashore.