Shaun Donovan and opponents of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project definitely share one feeling in common about the embattled scheme: “deep frustration.”
That’s how the Democratic mayoral candidate said he felt when the de Blasio administration went silent on a relatively low-impact resiliency plan for East River Park, only to eventually replace it, out of the blue, with a different scenario. Under the new plan, which the city is currently hoping to put into effect, the 2.4-mile-long park would be elevated from between 8 feet to 10 feet and then totally rebuilt from scratch.
For Donovan, the frustration was personal because he actually created the Rebuild By Design process that spawned the resiliency plan’s first incarnation. At the time, he was the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and President Obama had also appointed him the head of the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.
Rebuild By Design, an international design competition, has since been championed by the Rockefeller Foundation, which has made it part of its global 100 Resilient Cities effort.