Breezy Point Home Elevation Study, Queens, NYC | New York, US

Post Hurricane Sandy, WSP was selected to develop a sustainable urban planning framework for restoring and protecting the flood-prone community.


  • Queens, New York, US


  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York

Sustainable urban design guidelines for more resilient communities

Part of New York City’s waterfront and a short distance from bustling Manhattan, the beach community of Breezy Point is touched by the Rockaway Inlet, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This picturesque location is ideal for families and individuals who want access to both New York City and stunning coastline. However, the community’s position also makes it vulnerable to storms and flooding.

Devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Breezy Point community was in need of a sustainable and resilient urban planning framework for restoring and protecting the flood-prone community – an approach that would integrate individual home raising efforts while preserving the community’s unique architectural character.  WSP was selected to develop home elevation and urban design guidelines for Breezy Point, providing guidance on how to raise buildings above base flood elevation (the elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during a 100-year storm event) while preserving the community’s special urban and aesthetic qualities. 

WSP took an innovative, holistic approach, merging architecture and urbanism with community engagement to create the Breezy Point Home Elevation Study – a comprehensive, easy-to-browse guide to making home-elevation decisions that consider the urban context of elevated homes as well as neighborhood architectural standards. 

Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the auspices of the New York Governor's Office of Storm Recovery and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the study serves as the ultimate homeowner’s and community guide to home elevation, providing:

  • Analytical methods for calculating the required raising elevation to avoid future flood damage, exploring the impact of home raising on the streetscape, and identifying neighborhood typologies.
  • At-a-glance charts and matrices that simplify dense information.
  • Neighborhood design guidelines that take into consideration community feedback, flood risk and architectural standards.
  • Technical drawings and user-friendly renderings, 3D modeling tools and geographic information system (GIS) maps to help community members visualize how their choice of architectural standards will affect their neighborhood’s character.

The award-winning study exemplifies resilient, sustainable design that holistically addresses environmental, economic and resilience concerns supported by an inclusive community engagement process.