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Lunch and Learn: DDC's East Side Coastal Resiliency Program

On July 29th, 2020, the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s East Side Coastal Resiliency (CR) team (How Sheen Pau, Kiumars Q. Amiri, and Bobby Issac) presented to over 30 students across New York City on DDC Community Projects during the STEAM Virtual Lunch and Learn Series. Lunch and Learn is a one hour interactive presentation by DDC professionals speaking about their current role, career path and education. The team provided an introduction to work of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Program. They explained the importance of designing and building flood prevention system during times of crisis and described how their work helps New York City protect its shoreline. Members of the Coastal Resiliency team shared their backgrounds and professional experience, as well as the CR team's roles and project portfolio.

On October 29, 2012, Super Storm Sandy made landfall and greatly affected the New York region. The storm caused extensive coastal flooding, resulting in significant damage to thousands of residences, businesses, open spaces, transportation networks, power supplies, and water and sewer infrastructure across the City. To address this vulnerability, DDC’s Coastal Resiliency (CR) Program works to design and construct integrated coastal flood protection systems that consist of floodwalls, flood gates, raised landscapes, and upgraded sewer systems. The flood protection systems are designed to protect against high water levels from coastal storms and sea level rise, to respond quickly to the urgent need for increased flood protection and resiliency, while also improving waterfront access and open spaces.

The team explained that their overall design objectives included:
• Responding quickly to the urgent need for increased flood protection and resiliency
• Providing reliable and integrated Flood Protection Systems
• Integrating infrastructure into the public realm
• Improving waterfront open spaces, preserve access & views

An artist rendering of Stuyvesant Cove before construction of ESCRAn artist rendering of Stuyvesant Cove after the completion of the ESCR project

Before and After project designs for Stuyvesant Cove Park, part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) Project

“The work of the Coastal Resiliency team is an important part of how New York City has begun to develop ways to protect the shoreline in the aftermath of the devastation of Super Storm Sandy. It is critically important to raise awareness of the effects extreme weather can have on coastal areas and on the importance of building resilient and sustainable structures and infrastructure.” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.

“We design to the criteria of hurricane and flood preventions in various NYC neighborhoods like Red Hook, Downtown Manhattan, and Far Rockaway zones to protect community and resident life,” said Kiumars Q. Amiri, DDC’s Deputy Director of Community Engagement for the Coastal Resiliency. The Coastal Resiliency team also discussed how sustainable infrastructure helps reduce construction waste, manage storm water and also makes it possible to plan for long-term monitoring and maintenance.

How Sheen Pau serves as Assistant Commissioner of Infrastructure Design for the New York City Department of Design and Construction.  In her capacity, she oversees and manages the design of street, water main, sewer, bridge, retaining wall, step street, sustainable infrastructure, and coastal resiliency projects.  Ms. Pau is a professional licensed engineer with the New York State and with Washington D.C.  She has over 30 years of engineering experience.  Ms. Pau received her Bachelor of Engineering and her Masters of Engineering from the City College of New York.

Bobby Issac is a member of the Coastal Resiliency team at the Department of Design and Construction. In his capacity as the Director, with his team, he manages the design of coastal flood protection systems for New York City. He also serves as the Geotechnical Engineer (underground engineering) for the Department. He has over 24 years of research and professional experience in Civil Engineering, and is a registered Professional Engineer in New York and Michigan. He earned his Master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Nagpur University, India.

Kiumars Q. Amiri (Q) is the Deputy Director of Community Engagement for the Coastal Resiliency program at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC). His experience includes community development, project management, resiliency and sustainability frameworks, and place making initiatives for both public and private sector projects. His primary role at DDC consists of leading community engagement and outreach for DDC’s coastal resiliency portfolio, working closely with DDC’s Intergovernmental Affairs, City Hall, partner City agencies, Elected Officials offices, and various stakeholders. Q manages the development and execution of outreach strategies and action plans, with the goal of effectively bridging project teams and community members by cultivating community relations and support.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit