For a city defined by the water’s edge, New York is not known for its integration with the waterfront. Its development has been inward and upward, but not along its periphery. This has resulted in a density that has become the model of modern city’s worldwide – but also resulted in an uneven development of the urban landscape.
Red Hook has long existed as a neighborhood on the periphery – both literally and culturally. Consistently defined by its dominant industry, Red Hook has experienced waves of change as its landscape has shifted from marshland, to farmland, to shipping center – and when the shipping industry was irreversibly changed; it experienced a collapse from which it took its new normal. A future Red Hook cannot be wholly invested on a single industry – but instead hedge its future on many – it must become a breeding ground for future industries.
Previously a self-sufficient neighborhood where people lived and work, its balance was thrown off when it lost the bulk of its jobs over a short period of time. Currently a place suitable best for those that work from home, its residents have difficulty staying connected with the city at large. A neighborhood disconnected from its city, Red Hook must become open to new and alternative modes of connectivity.
Situated entirely in Zone A, Red Hook is in a vulnerable position in event of natural disasters. But unlike other places where risk might be a deterrent, Red Hook possesses the spirit to survive. In order to do so, it will need to reconsider its shortcomings with a more optimistic but weary attitude – hoping for the best, meanwhile, preparing for the worst. It must evolve to both be ready for, and even welcoming of the inevitable flooding.
Red Hook was too homogeneous in what it had to offer its residents – too inflexible when it was confronted by change. The future of Red Hook is one of flexibility, openness and new ideas – the future is Resilient Red Hook.