Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2014


Environmental Science


Colin Cathcart

Second Advisor

John van Buren


Coastal living has become a very popular, often fantasized, way of life. This lifestyle is easy, relaxing, and, above all, it soothes the stress. However, mankind’s innate desire to live near America’s oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water have allowed its population to become vulnerable to super storms. Super storms, such as Hurricane Sandy, have become more prevalent over recent years, and America needs to take into account the massive population whom call the East coast home. Focusing in on the New York area, I will be able to show how our thoughtless designs and locations of towns/cities have put our country’s population at risk. This risk could, however, be alleviated by thoughtful, caring designs. Using ecology as its base, the New York area could rebuild itself, structuring itself against pending ten-year storms. Some of the issues I will discuss include: ecological design, city planning, super storms, and population patterns.

Approaching this topic, I will talk about three differing views of environmental policy, History, politics/economics, and design. First, I will discuss the history of coastal living and design. Touching on areas such as Long Island and New York City, I will focus on the history of their city planning, the areas' natural ecology, and the areas’ population history. Second, I will discuss the politics and economics of the area, what is being done to protect this state and how economical and political savvy can help reinterpret the idea of climate change to New York’s population. Finally, I would like to discuss the design, its mandates, and what other cities/areas are doing to prevent destruction from storms such as Hurricane Sandy (I will bring in a case study, and exhibit put on by the MOMA). If there are not many examples, I will use books, and various ecological design philosophies, to discuss possible solutions to the problem. Thus, I will show the benefits of ecological building on coastal development.