2010-06-18 / School News

Students Learn About New York’s Changing Waterfront

It might seem fantastical: a city connected by bridges instead of sidewalks, where parks are enjoyed on rooftops and water taxis are more prevalent than cars, but these are the ideas that artists and architects around New York City are coming up with in response to rising sea levels. While city officials have largely ignored this issue, it has been weighing heavily on the minds of city planners, environmentalists, and even a small group of middle school students in Far Rockaway.

As part of the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance afterschool program, these students spent an afternoon visiting the Museum of Modern Art, where the work of architects-in-residence at the museum is on display. These architects each worked to re-envision New York’s waterfront to address a rising sea level.

While the students were excited to see models of how their city could change to address this issue, many of the ideas on display were not new to them. One student remarked, “Yeah, this oyster gardening idea is great, but we’re already doing that in the Rockaways!” Another student ran to a model displaying buildings connected by bridges and decided that she’d like to see that in the Rockaways, as well as more houses built on stilts. On the train ride home, the students were buzzing with ideas of their own about how their homes might be able to withstand waterfront changes in the coming years.

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