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Dec 06 2012

NYIT Student Architects to Visit Hurricane-Damaged Long Beach

Long Beach hurricane damage

Old Westbury and New York, N.Y.  (December 6, 2012) ─  New York Institute of Technology architecture students will visit hurricane-damaged Long Beach on Saturday as part of plan to lead a global competition on disaster-resistant coastal building and design methods.

“As an architecture school I think there’s a larger role for us to play in planning newer development on Long Island,” said Alex Alaimo, a fifth-year student from NYIT’s Manhattan campus who is part of the Operation Resilient Long Island (ORLI) effort involving about 32 School of Architecture and Design students from Old Westbury and Manhattan.  “We’re in this unique position to lead in our own backyard.”

Saturday’s bus trip, led by Long Beach Building Commissioner Scott Kemins, will include a tour of the west end and canal sections of the city, which are among the most devastated areas. 

“After a storm like this, new ideas need to be brought to the table on how to prevent this from happening again,” said Kemins. “The students might actually come up with some bright ideas that other people haven’t thought about.”

Alaimo said the global competition might result in a long term vision to rebuild certain neighborhoods to make them more resilient in the face of similar disasters. The competition details will be finalized after the site visit.

Alaimo said students also want to get involved in short-term recovery efforts by assisting homeowners with structural damage assessments and documenting the storm’s effects on the area.

The student-led project is part of NYIT’s emphasis on global architectural leadership, said Associate Dean Frank Mruk.

“Today’s students need to be able to apply their education to real world problems in real time as part of the educational process,” Mruk said, noting that NYIT’s legacy of student-led architecture-build projects, known as sLAB initiatives, have demonstrated creativity in addressing community needs.

“The students understand that trust is a new form of global currency that gives them access and opportunity to accomplish great things,” Mruk added.

Harriet Harriss of Oxford-Brookes University in England, is including the students’ efforts in her doctoral research on exemplary architecture education and civic engagement.

Harriss, who has met with the students and will accompany them on the bus tour, said the students’ experience in talking to residents to discover what they want for their city’s future is an important component of architecture education.

“They’re looking to identify the most acute needs of the community infrastructure,” Harriss said. “A good question is better than the most brilliant answers. I think architectural competency and core skills are formed around the ability to make informed assessments of what people need and want.”


About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 92,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit

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