NYC Unveils Plan to Protect Waterfront from Climate Change

In the 30 years since New York City adopted its first official waterfront plan, tons of of miles of shoreline have been revitalized with parks and greenways, retail companies, high-rise condominiums and workplace towers.

Now comes the laborious half: defending billions of {dollars} of shoreline property and infrastructure throughout all of New York’s boroughs from the ravages of local weather change with out shedding sight of different priorities. Those embrace racial and social fairness, reasonably priced housing, middle-income jobs and waterborne transit.

On Sunday, the Department of City Planning rolled out an almost 300-page blueprint, the “NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,” for doing simply that.

“The waterfront is one of New York City’s most valuable assets,” stated City Planning Director Anita Laremont. “This plan looks at how we can further transform our shorelines and waterways to become even more accessible, resilient and vibrant.”

The plan, which is up to date each 10 years, will place a selected give attention to what planning officers name the local weather justice precept. It holds that every one New Yorkers, no matter race or socioeconomic standing, ought to stay in “safe, healthy, resilient and sustainable environments, even as the climate changes.”

Achieving these outcomes would require making all residents and enterprise house owners in waterfront districts conscious of their storm, flood and warmth dangers. The plan additionally requires redevelopment of underused city-owned websites in waterfront areas for reasonably priced housing, and selling housing stability via flood retrofits and mobility providers, significantly for low- and moderate-income households.

It might be a troublesome raise within the face of unrelenting sea-level rise and megastorms like Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Ida this yr. But metropolis officers and waterfront advocates stated the brand new plan presents promise for town’s 520 miles of waterfront.

“Climate change will affect New York City in profound ways, and we must continue to be proactive in adapting to the climate change impacts that we cannot avoid,” stated Jainey Bavishi, director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, including that the excellent plan “also articulates a vision for climate justice, recognizing that climate change can exacerbate existing inequities.”

Bavishi stated her workplace would construct upon the waterfront plan because it completes work on a citywide local weather adaptation street map, set to be launched subsequent yr.

“More than any other waterfront plan of the past, this one begins to address the reality and inequity of the climate crisis, the unique set of challenges we face at the water’s edge, and the types of changes we’ll need to make to become more resilient,” stated Robert Freudenberg, vice chairman for vitality and atmosphere on the New York-focused Regional Plan Association, in a press release. “While challenging conversations and decisions lie ahead, this plan lays out a blueprint for a more equitable, resilient, and accessible waterfront.”

Cortney Koenig Worrall, CEO and president of the nonprofit Waterfront Alliance, known as the plan “a solid and realistic vision for the future” that “reflects voices from across the city” and “should be a guiding vision for the incoming and future administrations.”

“This includes proposed solutions for addressing climate hazards, especially across vulnerable communities; realizing the potential of underutilized shorelines for recreation; and re-imagining the water’s edge as a place to work, live, and play while we work for its protection,” Worrall stated in a press release.

The waterfront plan is the most recent in an extended string of local weather initiatives by town’s outgoing mayor, Bill de Blasio, who will go away Gracie Mansion in lower than two weeks. The two-term mayor has embraced his function as an activist mayor on local weather change, and the brand new waterfront plan will turn out to be one other closing chapter on his eight years in workplace.

Among the de Blasio administration’s highest-profile local weather adaptation tasks are the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, a $1.45 billion seawall and gate complicated geared toward defending 2.4 miles of shoreline alongside the East River; and the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, a $500 million suite of measures to gird the Financial District from sea-level rise and storm surges.

The metropolis can be engaged in federal- and state-funded proposals such because the $119 billion New York Harbor Storm-Surge Barrier and a long-awaited shoreline stabilization undertaking for Rockaway Beach in Queens (Greenwire, Sept. 2).

Incoming Mayor Eric Adams, who as Brooklyn borough president witnessed some main shoreline resilience initiatives—such because the Red Hook Coastal Resiliency Project—solely not too long ago elevated local weather adaptation as a top-tier subject with the discharge of a muscled-up adaptation plan after Hurricane Ida ravaged New York.

In a tv interview after the storm, Adams stated Ida’s in depth flood injury offered “a real wake-up call to all of us how we must understand how this climate change is impacting us.”

Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News supplies important information for vitality and atmosphere professionals.

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