Skip to content

ReMain Nantucket Invites Community to June 2 Public Presentation for Culmination of Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge at Great Harbor Yacht Club

NANTUCKET, Mass. May 7, 2021 — ReMain Nantucket announced earlier this month the culmination of the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge on Wednesday, June 2, from 2 to 5 p.m. ET at the Great Harbor Yacht Club. Students in architecture, landscape design and urban sustainability from five leading universities will present their final design proposals for an adaptive and resilient Nantucket in the face of sea level rise. The event, intended to inspire the community to think differently about living with water, will be held outdoors and streamed virtually for anyone who wishes to join from afar. 


Just last week, the Town of Nantucket Coastal Resilience Plan (CRP) released a mid-project summary report with key findings on coastal flooding, erosion and sea level rise impacts for Nantucket over the next 50 years. One of the many key takeaways speaks to the urgency to build a more resilient Nantucket: “At least 3,438 structures on Nantucket are at risk of coastal flooding or erosion through 2070. These risks result in $1.2 Billion in cumulative expected damages over that period.” 


As the community begins to plan appropriately for Nantucket’s future, ReMain Nantucket felt its role is to host a design studio—a visualization exercise that would enable residents to imagine an adaptive future under these conditions. With a robust academic curriculum, student teams from University of Florida, Harvard University, University of Miami, Northeastern University and Yale University spent the past semester developing innovative designs and proposals, which they will present to the Nantucket community on June 2. 


The studio was run by academic coordinator Carolyn Cox of the University of Florida’s Florida Climate Institute. The students connected with the island and its rich cultural, economic and resilient history through a group of more than 20 local advisors, as well as members of the community in the restaurant industry, public works, shellfishing and conservation.


In late April an eight-person jury made up of leaders in the design field reviewed the students’ projects, provided constructive feedback and fully endorsed their visions. The idea that a community needs to be able to envision a future for itself before it can build a foundation came through emphatically in the students’ work, as well as in the response of the jurors.


“It’s a brilliant use of academia and I would love to see many more projects like this. People don’t know how to move forward if they can’t see where they’re going,” said Anne Tate, a professor at Rhode Island School of Design and a member of the eight-person jury.  “By providing this plethora of visions and solutions, all packaged together in this very forward-looking and optimistic way, is an absolutely tremendous gift to Nantucket and to [those] who are going to have to figure out how to move forward.”


The diversity in designs from one team to another can provide a robust view of many possible adaptation strategies and is key to balancing various stakeholders and value systems. The hope is that these young thought-leaders can help our community imagine how beautiful it is to live with water, and to think about solutions with creativity, ingenuity and optimism.


“The jury fully endorsed the process and praised the team behind the scenes for pulling off such an outstanding learning opportunity for the students and ultimately for our community,” said Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director ReMain Nantucket. “Our hope is that on June 2, our friends and neighbors will be as awe-inspired as we have been and together, we can begin to imagine an adaptive future for our island.”


The event will feature remarks from Wendy Schmidt, president of ReMain Nantucket and president and co-founder of The Schmidt Family Foundation; Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director of ReMain Nantucket; Darius Coombs, cultural and outreach coordinator for education of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and youth climate activist Delaney Reynolds, who is founder and CEO of The Sink or Swim Project. Registration for both the in-person and virtual event is free and open to all.


Following the June 2 event, the student designs will be showcased in an exhibition on the second floor of the Nantucket Historical Association’s Thomas Macy Warehouse at 12 Straight Wharf, a historic building itself threatened by sea level rise. The exhibition, being developed in partnership with the NHA and with help from the Artists Association of Nantucket, will run from mid-June through December 2021. Through the exhibition, the public is invited to explore the history of Nantucket’s relationship with water and the island’s resilience and adaptability to change.


ReMain Nantucket and ReMain Ventures are funded by Wendy Schmidt and her husband Eric 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. 



May 7, 2021

CONTACT: Claire Martin