CRU(X), Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban Xcellence
JTC Lecture 2016: The Means and Purpose of Urban Resilience
When a great coastal city is hit by a great storm, the need for resilience is laid bare. When Superstorm Sandy hit New York City, Alexandros Washburn was the city’s Chief Urban Designer and a resident of one of it’s hardest hit neighborhoods in Brooklyn. How should a designer respond? What are the technical and social challenges ahead? What perspective and what tools do we need to transcend our role as designers and become city builders?
Alexandros Washburn is the Founding Director of the Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban Xcellence (CRUX) at Stevens Institute of Technology. Before that, between 2007 and 2014, he was Chief Urban Designer of the City of New York.
In 2012, during and after Hurricane Sandy, his own house was flooded and he saw the city cope with disaster. These experiences inspired his book “The Nature of Urban Design: A New York Perspective on Resilience” (2013).Washburn sees community resilience as imperative: professionally, publicly, personally. At CRUX he combines hydrodynamics to understand the force of the water, urban design to understand the force of the city, and complex systems engineering to make computational models for cities around the globe to become resilient in the face of rising sea levels and increasing climate shocks.
In 2013 he won the Public Architect Award from the American Institute of Architects. In government practice, Washburn has succeeded in bringing design methodology to meet civic challenges at the Federal, State and Local levels of US government. In private practice, he has won national design awards in architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.
Washburn is also author of “The Dawn of the Smart City” (2014), or “Civic Virtue by Design” (2007)