RETI Center




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BLUE CITY and blue city LAB

Post-Hurricane Sandy nonprofit RETI Center and GBX~Gowanus Bay Terminal have partnered to launch Blue City Lab, the first off-grid, floating climate lab in the US to serve as a model for adaptation and resilient industrial development in flood zones. Brooklyn’s coastline is rapidly transforming. In the coming century, New York’s most populous borough will be forced to adapt to climate change and develop new modes of equitable and resilient waterfront development.

Our city may see over six feet of sea-level rise by 2100, and one in every eight new units in New York City will be built a high-risk flood zone, according to recent reports from FEMA. Much of that is in South Brooklyn. Both close to home and across the US, there is an urgent need to rethink what sustainable investments in the floodplain can look like as sea-level rise projections grow ever more dire. Central to this conversation is how communities can play an instrumental role in resilience and adaptation.


Planned to occupy 33 acres of GBX-owned water in Gowanus Bay, Blue City Lab aims to become a model for equitable and resilient waterfront development nation-wide. Through collaborative, multidisciplinary study into climate solutions, green workforce development, and local coalition-building in Red Hook, the lab will serve as both a social hub and research center. 

This work requires stakeholder-driven design integrating social and physical resilience. Our team is comprised of a Red Hook-based community of advocates and developers as well as an international design advisors at the forefront of international and domestic urban climate adaptation. The design of the lab will be directed by thread collective and Oasis Design Lab, with international partners including One Architecture & Urbanism (ONE), Persak & Wurmfeld, and Space & Matter.

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Columbia Street Waterfront Streetscape Redevelopment

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