Adaptation - Resilient Bridgeport
Resilient Bridgeport
7 Middle St, Bridgeport, CT 06604

Resilience Strategy

The resilience strategy covers a study area that extends from downtown Bridgeport to Black Rock Harbor. The strategy outlines an integrated approach to managing long-term risk, enabling equitable adaptation and growth, and enriching and enhancing the daily lives of Bridgeport residents.

Three Area Plans and the Water’s Edge

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The resilience strategy is organized into three separate area plans – the areas are 1) Black Rock Harbor/Cedar Creek, 2) South End – West, and 3) South End – East. Each has distinct land uses, street and building patterns, and landmarks, as well as issues and opportunities. All are located at the water’s edge, and are threatened by rising sea levels, storm surge, and heavy rainfall. Each plan proposes a mix of structural and nonstructural measures that can be implemented incrementally to make Bridgeport stronger and more resilient over time. Learn more about these measures in the section below.

The Black Rock Harbor and Cedar Creek Area Plan focuses on reducing flood risk to critical facilities, transportation infrastructure, and housing, while expanding access to the Cedar Creek waterfront. The plan proposes green infrastructure, retention basins, and raised roads that improve quality of life for local residents, enhance connections and egress, improve water quality in Cedar Creek, and support the continued development of Bridgeport’s Eco-Technology Park.

The South End – West Area Plan proposes combined sewer separation and new stormwater infrastructure that reduce runoff and flooding for low-lying areas, new park spaces and public plazas that provide stormwater storage and anchor neighborhood revitalization efforts, and design principles that sustain historic assets like Seaside Village. The plan also outlines the proposed pilot project, which will be a critical first step towards realization of the resilience strategy as a whole.

The South End – East Area Plan focuses on the relationship between harbor, utilities, existing neighborhood, and the University of Bridgeport. The plan proposes a raised road that redefines the area’s southern edge, levees and floodwalls to protect regional power generation and transmission facilities as well as the historic buildings and neighborhoods, and streetscape and public space improvements from downtown to the South End that support public and private investments along Broad and Main.

The resilience strategy also describes the ecological and resilience opportunities that exist along the water’s edge across the entire study area. This includes stormwater and combined sewer outfalls, and the relationship between urban systems and Long Island Sound. This includes the docks, beaches, parkland, and roadways that are so vital to access and recreation. This includes the industrial waterfronts and hardened edges that characterize long swaths of the coastline. And this includes the wetlands and estuary conditions that are vital to the biodiversity and long-term adaptation of the city.

In its entirety, the resilience strategy puts forth a vision for Bridgeport as a city that is resilient, lively, and beautiful. Coastal areas are vital to the local and regional economy. Residents are connected to the waterfront and to coastal habitats. Roadways, public spaces, water and power networks, and buildings are designed and built for “living with water,” and a future in which heavy rainfall and periodic inundation recur more frequently.

Strategy Components

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Green Edge

Augment existing open space assets like Seaside Park to ensure that inhabited areas are buffered against the direct force of hurricanes and storm surge. Improve ecosystem health, access, and connectivity along Bridgeport’s coastline.

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Egress

Raise critical corridors to provide egress and access to low-lying and vulnerable areas. Use corridors and associated signage program to minimize disruption to daily life and business, facilitate efficient evacuation and provision of emergency services, and promote early recovery.

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Perimeter Protection

Where economically justifiable, construct berms, levees, floodwalls,  or floodgates to protect neighborhoods, critical facilities, development sites, and historic landmarks from storm surge. Integrate these features with raised roads and new stormwater infrastructure.

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Green and Blue Streets

Build a network of green stormwater retention and conveyance features. Integrated with existing grey infrastructure, this network will allow Bridgeport’s streets and public spaces to manage the flow of stormwater through the city in order to reduce flood risk and improve water quality.

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Utility Microgrid

Use localized power generation, microgrids, and thermal loops at the district scale to capture waste heat, improve efficiency, reduce energy costs, provide redundancy, and improve continuity of services even during extreme events.

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Building Adaptation and Development

Demonstrate new approaches for living in low-lying areas that are sustainable and safe. Floodproof and raise residences, businesses, and institutions. Preserve historic sites and buildings. Support sustainable development practices that capitalize on Bridgeport’s water assets and regional connections.