Here’s a problem.
What do we do with the garden basement apartments that were flooded by Hurricane Sandy here in Hoboken and surrounding cities?
How’s this for a solution?
Form a public/private partnership with property owners, pertinent governmental and business entities to purchase these ground floor spaces and turn them into new urban public open and garden spaces. As an example, Green Acre Lands could be used for this purpose.
With these proceeds, the property owners could then build another floor on top of their building and relocate the displaced resident to that newly built floor. This should be a green project. However, those who choose not to move must retrofit their apartment with water tile materials, thereby reducing the public clean up costs from future intense storms.
As a result, urban communities would not have their neighborhoods dramatically disturbed.
Businesses could thrive around new opportunities. Engineers and architects would be challenged to devise structurally sound buildings with interestingly safe designs.
Horticulturists and environmental groups could innovatively explore new garden approaches. Maybe even urban farmers would grow crops there. Just think of it; we could truly be eating locally grown vegetables. Also, this newly exposed ground could absorb excess water.
Artists would be inspired by the beauty of these public urban gardens. So many new jobs will be created.
Certainly much has to be done regarding the process and details. Our flood and sea rising problem is big but we, as Americans, can meet the challenge.
I’m reminded that the Chinese word for ‘problem’ is a combination of two other words, opportunity and change.
I live in the shades of Weehawken one block and feet from Hoboken, I have been inspired by a Monroe Center artist, Francine D., whose art shows the reconnections of nature in cities.
Hurricane Sandy destroyed my home. Although unfinished, I’m back into it, but still am not protected at all from a future intense storm just as Hoboken and its surrounding cities.
Thank you for reading this letter. I look forward to your suggestions and responses.