Goal 1: Design the Coastal Community of the Future

Ohio Creek Project - National Disaster Resilience Competition

Construction is about to begin on the Ohio Creek Project funded through a $112 million HUD grant awarded to the Commonwealth of Virginia to construct transformational coastal improvements in Norfolk. The Ohio Creek project is implementing a comprehensive flood mitigation project that integrates green and hard infrastructure that will improve neighborhood connectivity and access to the water. Stay updated.

City of Norfolk Zoning Ordinance Update

In 2018, the City of Norfolk completed a comprehensive rewrite of its Zoning Ordinance to position the city as the resilient coastal community of the future. Norfolk's new zoning code which took effect March 1, 2019 was rewritten to strengthen the City's commitment to vibrant neighborhoods, economic diversity, and coastal resilience. 

The zoning code contains a number of pioneering approaches in response to the long-term challenges posed by sea level rise, one of which is a requirement that all development within the City meet a resilient quotient. Learn more about Norfolk's new zoning code

The City now is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the next phase of the study-Pre-Construction Engineering and Design.

Vision 2100

The City of Norfolk engaged in a citizen-led discussion to identify what principles the city should use to guide future land use decisions. Vision 2100 lays out a strategy for dealing with sea level rise impacts using an 80-year time horizon. Adopted by City Council as part of Norfolk's Comprehensive Plan, Vision 2100 is guiding land use decisions in Norfolk today. View the Norfolk Vision 2100 (PDF).

Citywide Coastal Storm Risk Management Study

In February 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General signed the Chief's Report recommending the findings of Norfolk's Coastal Storm Risk Management Study for congressional authorization. The Study recommends $1.4 billion of structural and non-structural mitigation projects to reduce the risk to coastal storm flooding in the City of Norfolk. Read the study's finding.

NATO Hosts 2nd Resilience Conference in Norfolk

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General André Lanata, and the Mayor of the City of Norfolk, Kenneth Alexander, co-hosted a Resilience Conference from April 9th through April 10th, 2019. The aim of the conference was to increase understanding of civilian/military cooperation in preparing for hybrid/counter-terrorism events. 

The Resilience Conference brought together leaders from NATO, European Union nations as well as international experts and policy makers from all levels of government, public and private sectors. See videos and conference details.

Brownfield Redevelopment

One of our newest projects is addressing brownfield properties through a resilience lens. An older, industrial city, Norfolk once housed industries that employed hazardous substances, some of which may have leached into the land. Many of these industries, including steel production, creosote plants and rail yards, were located on Norfolk's waterfront, including in the Harbor Park area of the city. 

Since 2015, Norfolk has been awarded $1 million worth of brownfield assessment, planning, and consulting services for Harbor Park. Read more about our brownfield redevelopment efforts

Elizabeth Riverfront & Harbor Park Brownfields - Preliminary Constructability Plan

The City of Norfolk commissioned this report using funds from a Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Fund Commonwealth Planning grant. The report provides a design development strategy for improving infrastructure and ecological restoration that reflects the City's resilience lens of living with water, economic diversification and community connectivity. 

Using Technology to Build Resilient Communities 

The City of Norfolk is taking advantage of a changing environment to build resilience by designing the coastal community of the future, connecting communities, and strengthening neighborhoods. The use of application programs, more commonly known as apps, is playing a significant role in helping the city reach these resilience goals. Read about these apps.


StormSense is a project that was developed for the Global Cities Team Challenge (GCTC), which originated from the White House Smart Cities Initiatives. The GCTC is a collaborative network of project teams working on groundbreaking applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within the smart city/community environment. Norfolk is a core team member of regional cities, in partnership with Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), that make up this project team. 

Newport News, representing StormSense, was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to install tide gauge sensors and expand VIMS flood modeling/forecasting capabilities. This project will provide an accurate regional map and forecast, enabling cities in the region to determine flood risk up to 36 hours in advance of storm events. It also will be able to provide real-time alerts and web mapping tools including, but not limited to, third party applications like Waze.

Water Level Monitoring System (WLMS) Pilot

The Water Level Monitoring System (WLMS) Pilot project is an innovative approach to gathering real-time water level data in frequently flooded intersections/streets around the Hague using tide gauge sensors. This data is then transmitted to a cloud -hosted database for analysis and storage using low-cost technology (LoRa-long range Wi-Fi) never attempted before in the State. While this pilot project is only a small-scale collection of water level data, it serves as the foundation of a "smart cities" system using innovative cost-effective technology which can be applied to other challenges facing Norfolk beyond flooding.

Dutch Dialogues

The Royal Netherlands Embassy, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and the cities of Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton jointly hosted the Virginia Dutch Dialogues in June 2015 to generate innovative ideas for living with water. For Norfolk, these innovations included using water management as a way to protect and revitalize neighborhoods.

Retain Your Rain

Norfolk residents learn how they can be part of building a more resilient Norfolk through a citywide, systemic approach to water management.

In collaboration with the Norfolk Master Gardeners, Bayview Civic League, Bay View Elementary, and Norfolk Master Naturalists, the City of Norfolk hosted its second Retain Your Rain workshop at Bay View Elementary School in Spring 2017! The green infrastructure installed by volunteers will capture 600 gallons of rainwater.

The City of Norfolk launched a Retain Your Rain Mini Grant Pilot last fall that offered up to $2,000 to a neighborhood organization to install green infrastructure. Northside Civic League's proposal for a 'rain retention food forest' was selected for the Pilot. In December, Northside Civic League planted the food forest at Mary Calcott Elementary School. The food forest will absorb over 3,000 gallons of stormwater in addition to providing fresh food and vegetables to the neighborhood. Read more. Watch a video.