The City of Cedar Rapids experienced a significant disaster with the historic Flood of 2008, which inundated river-edge neighborhoods and the downtown with over 31 feet of water, 11 feet higher than any previous flood. Flooding forced approximately 25,000 evacuations and caused billions of dollars in damage. Gina Ford, as design principal and Brie Hensold as an urban planner for the Sasaki team, oversaw the project through multiple phases of post-flood recovery planning and implementation.
Following the Flood, our tasked was to guide the City through several phases of recovery. Over the course of four year and with extensive public engagement, we examined and made recommendations for nearly every aspect of the City—including flood protection, housing options, transportation systems, parks and open space, arts and cultural resources, business reinvestment and sustainability. Our planning efforts received acknowledgement as a model of disaster recovery from the International Downtown Association and the American Planning Association.
Planning phases included the River Corridor Redevelopment Plan (to establish a strategy for new flood management), the Neighborhood Planning Process (to guide reinvestment in the nine flood-impacted neighborhoods), the Urban Design Principles (to provide a framework for design guidelines),the Riverfront Master Plan (to accommodate 220 acres of new greenway into the existing park system), and implementation of the first piece of new flood infrastructure, a levee and memorial amphitheater, opened in 2014.
APA National, Excellence Award for Best Practices in Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Planning, 2011
USACE, National Headquarters Planning Achievement Award, 2010
International Downtown Association, Pinnacle Award, Downtown Achievement Awards, 2009
APA Iowa, Planning Achievement Award for a “Hard Won Victory” Category, 2009