Coastal Resiliency

Planners at Penfield Pavilion

Examining plans for Penfield Pavilion, 1981. 

Coastal Resiliency Vision

This drawing illustrates elements of a vision for a resilient shoreline community in Connecticut. There are homes elevated out of the floodplain, natural buffers to prevent erosion and provide a barrier to storm surge along the shoreline, a berm around a water or power utility to keep out flood waters, and elevated roadways linking low-lying shoreline neighbohroods to higher ground along the natural ridge lines that extend all the way to the coast. Theh town center is also located on high ground near public transportation on the Metro North railway. 

Small changes can make a big difference in a community’s resilience – its ability to adapt to changing conditions and recover from disruptive storms.

The shape of the Connecticut shoreline makes it difficult to engineer one large-scale solution for flood protection that makes sense for every coastal neighborhood. But planners can increase their communities' resilience by taking advantage of shoreline communities' topography, with town centers, housing, emergency services, and power and water infrastructure occupying higher ground - or protected from flooding where it can not be relocated. Roads connecting the town centers to low-lying shoreline neighborhoods allow for safe emergency access and evacuation of residents. 

Planning for coastal resiliency also means adapting structures in the flood zone to withstand occasional flooding and making sure they are protected by healthy buffering ecosystems, such as dunes, wetlands, and artifical reefs.