A new initiative to build an enormous wall around Lower Manhattan seems like something straight out of science fiction. The Big U is a continuous protective structure that will be nearly ten miles long when completed and, hopefully, help prevent the devastation from future hurricanes.

One of six winning proposals in the Rebuild by Design competition that was initiated after the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Big U will be the first winner to start construction.

Starting with a budget of $335 million, the project seeks to wrap Lower Manhattan in an adaptive barrier that keeps in mind the character of each neighborhood it passes through. The LES will get a raised stretch of land that also functions as recreational green space. Panels will be installed beneath the FDR drive that are decorated by artists. When times are good, the area will be a seasonal market. In an emergency, the panels will flip down to block incoming waters.

The other winning proposals were for the Bronx, Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey. Those will begin construction at a later date. You can check out a video about the project on the Verge. (Photo: Rebuild By Design)