By Corydon Ireland, Harvard Gazette

Image courtesy of Chris Reed

Earlier this year, landscape architecture students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) did fieldwork in New York’s Jamaica Bay, a marshy estuary on the southwest coast of Long Island. Little more than a century ago, it was a wetland behind barrier beaches, an ecological feature that attenuated the waves and storm surges pulsing in from the ocean. Since then, dredging, fill operations, roadways, and industrial development have disturbed the sea-buffering ecology. How can designers help? The students — from a core spring studio called Flux City — were there to find out.

Just four months before the GSD students’ visit, Hurricane Sandy had punched into the bay, pushing a storm surge over beaches, roads, rail lines, and buildings. The evidence remained, including a swept-away car in a local creek.

Rising sea levels and their impact on coastal cities is “a hot topic,” said landscape architect Chris Reed ’91, a professor in practice of landscape architecture and founder of Boston-based Stoss Landscape Urbanism. Reed coordinates Flux City, eight credit hours of heavy lifting over 13 weeks that has been in place as a core requirement for a few years. Sea level rise was this year’s theme.

Read the entire article on Harvard Gazette.