National Disaster Resilience Competition


City of Norfolk


Norfolk, Virginia

Project Description

The Cities of Norfolk, Newport News, and Chesapeake will benefit from a $120 million U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development grant awarded in the recent National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). The grant was awarded to develop strategies to protect the region from effects of sea-level rise and recurrent flooding. The Norfolk portion of the grant ($115 MM) is focused on the Ohio Creek watershed which encompasses the Norfolk State University campus and the Chesterfield Heights neighborhood.

The results of the design work will be measured against five goals: unite the region; create coastal resilience; build water management solutions; improve economic vitality; and strengthen vulnerable neighborhoods. WPA is part of the core design team, along with firms from New Orleans, New York, and a multi-national engineering firm, responsible for engaging with the community, developing resilience strategies, and taking them to a schematic level. Planning has focused on reinforcing the water’s edge to protect the neighborhood from flooding with a beautiful, community-enhancing berm that includes various public amenities, rather than a standard seawall; right-of-way water storage under streets and sidewalks to retain rainfall; and improving pedestrian and community connections to the areas surrounding the neighborhood. These adaptations will allow the residents and institutions in the watershed to thrive in the face of rising sea levels.


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