ReMain Nantucket announced on July 22, 2020 the inception of Envision Resilience: Nantucket Challenge, a coastal resilience initiative that will leverage academia and local leadership to develop and consider innovative and adaptive solutions to sea level rise. Nantucket Island is one of hundreds of U.S. cities and towns threatened by sea level rise. By 2100, much of Nantucket’s Historic Downtown is projected to be completely inundated with water. The challenge, which will build on the Town of Nantucket’s coastal resilience efforts, calls on multidisciplinary teams of graduate students to reimagine Nantucket Harbor through an iterative, design-driven approach focused on three study areas.
With growing expressed interest from a number of prestigious architecture and design schools, ReMain anticipates that six to eight interdisciplinary university teams will participate in the spring 2021 design studio. Throughout the five-month challenge, teams will be asked to identify threats, research solutions, and propose adaptive designs that align with the Town’s Coastal Community Resilience Planning time increments of 2030, 2050 and 2100.
“By bringing together the experience of local experts, the visionary insight of design students, and stories from the people who live here, ReMain Nantucket hopes to inspire the Nantucket community to envision a future that is resilient in the face of sea level rise,” said Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director of ReMain Nantucket. “We are thrilled to add to the conversation, elevate community engagement, and showcase innovative strategies to a community that is deeply committed to the environment and each other.”
The final designs will be conceptual, showcasing principles and pathways, rather than project lists or prescriptive blueprints. The design proposals will be evaluated at a summer 2021 exhibition, during which the Island community will be invited to participate in a series of concurrent cultural and community events.
ReMain has convened a group of more than 20 local and regional advisors to bring expertise in conservation, public works, real estate, architecture, historic preservation, natural resources, marine biology, fisheries, civil engineering, science, and transportation to participating student teams.
"We are working in conjunction with the Town of Nantucket and have representatives from several town departments on our advisory committee,” said Jensen. “Through academic exercise we are hoping to inspire people who live, work, and own homes on the Island, to participate in the Town's efforts to envision adaptation solutions and build upon what they learn to take their own steps to create resiliency plans for their personal properties.”
Carolyn Cox, of the University of Florida, was selected to design and lead the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge. Cox is the coordinator of the Florida Climate Institute, a 10-university consortium started at the University of Florida. Morris (Marty) Hylton III, director of the University of Florida Historic Preservation Program and the Center for World Heritage Research and Stewardship, and Bob Miklos, artist and founder of designLAB architects, have been selected by ReMain as Envision Resilience: Nantucket Challenge co-chairs.
Through this challenge, ReMain will continue to fulfill its mission to strengthen the sustainability of Nantucket’s downtown district by leveraging the latest scientific research and collaborating with a broad representation of stakeholders and experts.
ReMain Nantucket and ReMain Ventures were founded by philanthropist Wendy Schmidt to support the economic, social, and environmental vitality of the island of Nantucket. In addition to ReMain Nantucket providing grants and sponsorships to support sustainable and cultural initiatives across the island, ReMain Nantucket has worked in conjunction with ReMain Ventures to revitalize the downtown district year-round through the preservation of historic buildings that are home to a mix of nonprofit and commercial businesses.