Climate-adaptive Design

Inspiring climate awareness and action via participatory design

 Investigating adaptation through engagement

Working with the next generation of designers to bring socially and ecologically resilient futures to the world

The Climate-adaptive Design (CaD) program is a design research effort in partnership with Josh Cerra at Cornell Landscape Architecture, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program and others. The CaD Studio links Cornell students with at-risk municipalities to explore alternative design strategies for more climate resilient and connected waterfront communities. The participatory action research approach seeks concurrent teaching, research, and community benefits. Since 2015 the program has worked with seven municipalities on nine engaged studios in the Hudson River Estuary upstream from New York City with funding support from New York State Water Resources Institute, USDA NIFA and Engaged Cornell.


Hudson Valley CaD Regional LookBook Released

The Regional LookBook describes the overall CaD studio process, introduces resilient waterfront design strategies, and shares adaptation resources to support conversations about climate change, inspire action, and assist Hudson Valley communities in moving toward greater resilience. Click to download the PDF.



This studio worked with the City of Tarrytwon to investigate adaptive futures for their dynamic low elevation waterfront in Fall 2022

Image by Xiaoyun Ren



Here we worked with the City of Poughkeepsie on design strategies for their public and private waterfront in Fall 2021

Image by Dominic Malacaman



We worked with the Village and Town of Ossining to investigate adaptive futures for their growing waterfront in Fall 2019.

Image by Lingyi Xu


Kingston III

Kingston III was our most recent CaD studio in the City of Kingston. The design investigation focused on the East Strand waterfront section of the Rondout River in Kingston, New York.

Image by Xining Wan and Yixuan Li



In the Spring semester of 2017, the CaD studio worked together with the Village of Piermont, New York. The project area includes the entire downtown waterfront area along the mouth of Sparkill Creek as it intersects the Hudson River.

Image by Erin Tou, Cristian Umana and Trevan Signorelli


Kingston II

In the Fall of 2017, the CaD studio took place in the City of Kingston for the second time. The studio focused on Kingston Point Park area as it extends into the Hudson River.

Image by Hong Gao, Luyao Kong and Qianli Feng



The CaD studio in the Spring of 2016 focused on the South Bay waterfront area of Hudson, New York as the basis for the planning and design effort.

Kingston I

In the Fall of 2016 the CaD studio for the first time worked in the City of Kingston, New York. We investigated climate-adaptive design strategies for the Block Park area adjacent to Rondout Creek.

Image by Mark Hirschbeck and Ilia Savin



The first community-engaged CaD Studio took place in Fall 2015. We investigated the downtown area of Catskill, New York and its associated waterfront area adjacent to Catskill Creek.

Image by Garrett Craig-Lucas and Madi Gawith


Syracuse (Studio Prototype)

This prototype studio refined the comprehensive Climate-adaptive Design framework approach piloted in the prior studio. The project study area was along multiple locations adjacent to Onondaga Creek as it flows through the downtown Syracuse Armory Square area.


Ithaca (Studio Prototype)

This prototype studio piloted the comprehensive Climate-adaptive Design framework while focusing on urban revitalization opportunities in the Thompson Triangle Park area fronting Cascadilla Creek, a popular retail area and two dense residential neighborhoods.

Image by Ashley Pelletier and Chris Simone