FAR.ROC For a Resilient Rockaway /FAR.ROC : For a Resilient Rockaway


The following overview includes a brief summary of the:

Teams should become familiar with the complete set of competition guidelines found in the FAR ROC Design Brief.

Competition Structure

FAR ROC is structured as a two-part design ideas competition that will explore best practices and innovative strategies for the planning, design and construction of resilient and sustainable developments in waterfront areas. The competition aims to provide ideas and the basis of a master plan for the sensitive development of Arverne East, an 80+ acre site located in a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area Zone A section of the Rockaways that experienced significant storm surge inundation during Hurricane Sandy. It is anticipated that the results of the competition will be used as a basis for further planning work with regard to Arverne East and as a prototype for long term planning and development strategies in other densely populated seaside communities in the Rockaways and beyond.

Phasing, Stipend, and Award

For Phase I of the competition, project teams are asked to submit a proposed site plan and an associated building parti along with ideas for resilient development, strategies for high-performance sustainable infrastructure, and appropriate and responsive programming for the site. Submissions from individuals, students, and non-licensed firms are welcomed during Phase I; however, finalist project teams proceeding to Phase II of the design competition must include at least one licensed architect and one licensed engineer. Successful Phase I entries will be given an opportunity to rectify any shortcomings with respect to their qualifications prior to commencement of Phase II.

The second phase of the competition will require further development of the selected Phase I entries by the selected competition teams. Subject to their agreement with the customary terms and conditions outlined in preliminary form in the design brief, each finalist team will be provided with a cash stipend of $30,000 to develop a design and planning report and other Phase II materials.

The winning project team will be announced on October 24th, 2013 in advance of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The winning team will receive an additional cash prize of $30,000.

Finalist entries for Phase II and, possibly, honorable mention submissions from Phase I, will be showcased in a public exhibition at the AIA New York Center for Architecture from November 6th to November 30th, 2013. These entries may be further showcased in subsequent publicity, exhibitions, and/or the official competition publication, if any. After the conclusion of the competition, one or more of the finalist project teams may be invited to enter into negotiations with L+M Development Partners, The Bluestone Organization, and Triangle Equities for possible engagement as the appointed master planner, architect and engineer for the site, with a scope to produce design and construction documents for the further development of the project.
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Historical Context

Bungalows & Towers
Bungalows and Seaside Towers at Beach 109th Street

The Rockaways

The Rockaway peninsula is an 11-mile stretch of land lying fully within the borough of Queens on the eastern edge of New York City. The peninsula and its beaches began to be developed as a resort community in the early 1800s, providing a nearby weekend escape from the city. Over the next century, the Rockaways slowly transitioned from a recreation destination to a middle-class bungalow community with a diverse wealth of ethnic neighborhoods. Summer bungalows were converted into permanent year-round housing, with many working-class residents commuting to other parts of the city for employment. Vacationers meanwhile set their sights further east to Jones Beach, Fire Island, and eventually the Hamptons.

The geographic isolation of the Rockaways from the rest of New York City eventually led to a dramatic decline in commercial and retail services on the peninsula. During the 1950s and 60s, new zoning laws exacerbated the decline by making the bungalow an illegal housing typology and by changing commercial zones to residential zones—many of the commercial spaces in the Rockaways became non-conforming uses, making expansion and renovation of existing facilities impossible. Meanwhile, under the auspices of Urban Renewal, hundreds of bungalows were razed, leaving large expanses of vacant land. High-rise blocks of subsidized housing, nursing homes, and other special care facilities were constructed in their place, drastically changing the composition of the community. Inadequate infrastructure, lack of transportation, and scarce job opportunities coupled with other unmet social needs resulted in a concentration of poverty in much of the Rockaways.

Arverne Urban Renewal Area

In an effort to rejuvenate and diversify the income mix within the Rockaways, the city issued RFPs for two large development sites during the early 2000s: Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East. Today, Arverne by the Sea is a vibrant mixed-income community comprising more than one thousand homes. Largely unscathed by Hurricane Sandy, the development continues to be a successful addition to the Rockaway community. An equally-engaging plan was envisioned for Arverne East; however, the housing market crash in 2008 and the cost of critically-needed infrastructure have hampered development of the site.

Rockaway Peninsula
An aerial image of the Rockaway Peninsula, with the Arverne URA outlined in blue.

Hurricane Sandy

Late in the evening of October 29th, 2012, the storm surge and leading edge of Superstorm [Hurricane] Sandy struck the Eastern seaboard of New Jersey and New York. The combination of a full moon, a high tide, and the geographic nature of the New York Bight focused the power of the storm surge up the New Jersey coastline and into New York Harbor. Historic waves inundated extensive stretches of shoreline, resulting in widespread destruction of residences, businesses, and infrastructure.

Post Sandy Boardwalk
The remnants of the boardwalk as seen looking East from Belle Harbor

The Rockaway Peninsula was one of the more-severely impacted areas: Fire caused by downed electrical wires destroyed 111 homes in Breezy Point on the western point of the Rockaways, and flooding affected the entire peninsula with the storm surge swelling not only from the Atlantic shore but also from Jamaica Bay. More than 33,000 residents of the Rockaway peninsula registered with FEMA. Of those homeowners registered, more than 25% had damage assessed at greater than $20,000. Significantly, Arverne by the Sea escaped substantial damage thanks to improved storm drainage systems, an elevated site, and the use of infrastructure designed for storm resiliency.

Arverne East ABFEs
FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevations Map

As a result of the storm, FEMA issued proposed changes to the Special Flood Hazard Area in the form of new Advisory Base Flood Elevations. These regulatory changes will have a profound effect on the form of future development in the Rockaways.
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Project Description

The devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on low-lying communities in the greater New York area emphasized the need for thoughtful and critical consideration of how cities approach the future development of flood-prone areas within their communities. Specifically, the competition seeks exciting and innovative ideas for a comprehensive, mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining a balance between innovation and affordability. Proposed solutions should promote new housing, employment, and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors from throughout the region.

The project must incorporate all new infrastructure [roadways, water mains, sanitary and storm sewers, utilities, smart grids, etc.] and both active and passive landscaped open space on the approximately 81-acre site bordering the Atlantic Ocean waterfront. Proposals should emphasize sustainability and resiliency but present a quality, marketable, and constructible project.


Phase I competition entries should propose a program with areas, and, as applicable, unit counts for each site plan element. The following programming parameters were previously analyzed in the 2003 FEIS and are provided as guidance:

  • Up to 1500 units of housing, with a mix of low to midrise buildings
  • Up to 500,000 square feet of commercial / recreational space
  • 35 acre nature preserve
  • 9 acre dune preserve
  • 3.3 acres minimum of active and/or passive open space

Land Use

Competition entries must at a minimum address coastal flood zone guidelines and requirements established in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Evaluation of proposals may also take into account compliance with other local, state, and federal land use requirements. See Section 5: Site Regulatory Requirements of the FAR ROC Design Brief for detailed site development guidelines.

Goals & Judging Criteria

The competition seeks to achieve the following five principal goals:

  • Resiliency: the development of innovative environmental solutions for coastal communities in volatile ecological times
  • Marketability: the economic feasibility, constructability, and development timeline of the project proposal
  • Sustainability: the responsiveness of the project to issues of energy use, water & resource management, and healthy indoor & outdoor living environments
  • Contextual Sensitivity: the extent to which the project responds to the aesthetic, social, and economic context of the surrounding community
  • Replicability: the ability to apply practices and techniques of the proposed development at Arverne East to other sites facing similar challenges

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Site Description

The Development Site consists of approximately 81 acres of City-owned oceanfront property within the 308-acre Arverne Urban Renewal Area [“Arverne URA”] and three commercial sites within the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area [“Edgemere URA”]. The site fronts the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to the City’s central business districts, as well as JFK International Airport, by mass transit connections.

Arverne East Annotated Survey
Outlined site survey of Arverne East

The development site is bounded to the north by Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Edgemere Avenue, Rockaway Freeway and Seagirt Boulevard; to the east by Beach 32nd Street; to the south by the Coastal Erosion Hazard Area [“CEHA”] Line north of the boardwalk; and to the west by Beach 56th Place. The land is vacant except for a public elementary school located on Beach 35th Street south of Edgemere Avenue. The school, P.S. 106, serves pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and must be accommodated in the design proposal.

Public School 106
Public School 106
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  • April 16, 2013: Competition Announcement
  • May 10, 2013: Deadline for Submission of Questions
  • May 17, 2013: Q&A Posted to Website
  • June 14, 2013: Phase I Submission Deadline
  • June 24, 2013 (approx): Phase I Jury Convening
  • June 28 – July 12, 2013: Qualification of Finalists
  • July 18, 2013: Phase I Winners Announced
  • July 19, 2013 (approx): Finalist Site Convening & Orientation
  • October 8, 2013: Phase II Submission Deadline
  • October 22, 2013: Phase II Jury Convening
  • October 22, 2013: Team Interviews
  • October 23, 2013: Phase II Winner Announced
  • November 6-30, 2013: Exhibition of Phase II Finalists
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    Submission Requirements

    Phase I competition submissions must comprise a single PDF file consisting of two (2) 22×34 PDF [ANSI D] “boards,” compatible with Acrobat 5 or later. Submission files are limited in size to 20 MB max. Competition entries submitted as any other file type will not be considered by the competition jury.

    Phase I submissions must comply with the anonymity and labeling requirements outlined in the Submission Instructions. Submissions should further incorporate the following content requirements:

    Board 1

    • Proposal description and narrative, specifying project goals.
    • Proposed site plan, consisting of roughly half of the total area of one board.
    • General programming proposal or idea in either text, chart, or diagrammatic form and covering the major site plan elements [these should make reference to the minimum programming guidance indicated in Section 3].
    • One or more additional drawings illustrating the character and key ideas of the proposal. Possible formats include perspective views, axonometric views, elevations and sections.

    Board 2

    • Technical strategies covering the proposal’s key ideas responding to the project goals, specifically in relation to resilience [including constructability in flood-prone areas], sustainability, infrastructure and site civil works, and transportation. These should be expressed as text, drawings [plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, axonometrics], diagrams, charts or graphs, or any combination thereof. Entrants may choose which areas to focus on, and it is not expected that any given proposal will cover all possible elements of design and engineering.
    • Summary of proposed methodology for incorporating contextual sensitivity, social integration, and community input into future phases of design development.

    Entries that do not comply with all of the above stated requirements will be subject to disqualification.

    A preliminary list of Phase II competition requirements is included in Section 7: Submission Requirements of the FAR ROC Design Brief for planning purposes; however, these requirements are subject to modification by the competition Steering Committee. Final submission requirements will be provided to each of the finalists at the beginning of Phase II.
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    Questions & Answers

    Please direct all inquiries to far-roc@enterprisecommunity.org. Questions regarding the project must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Time on Friday, May 10th, 2013. Questions and answers will be publicly posted by Friday, May 17th, 2013 on the competition Q&A Page.

    • Winners Announced!
      Oct 23, 2013

      See the Ideas»

      April 16, 2013
      Competition Announcement

      May 10, 2013
      Q&A Deadline

      May 31, 2013
      Early Registration Deadline

      June 14, 2013
      Phase I Submission Deadline

      July 18, 2013
      Phase I Winners Announcement

      August 17, 2013
      Community Design Workshop

      October 8, 2013
      Phase II Submission Deadline

      October 23, 2013
      Phase II Winner Announcement



      L+M Development Partners

      The Bluestone Organization

      Triangle Equities

      Enterprise Community Partners

      AIA New York
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