Preparing New York City for the impacts of climate change.
For the past decade, MOCR and NPCC have been working to facilitate collaboration between City agencies, scientists, and community-based organizations to produce transdisciplinary assessments that are a foundation of the City’s climate response. While natural and nature-based features have featured prominently in that response, the next decade will require unprecedented engineering that maximizes not just economic benefits but the social and ecological benefits that New Yorkers see as critical to climate justice.
New York’s Natural Infrastructure
New York City is surrounded by 520 miles of coastline that is impacted by multiple climate hazards including coastal flooding, precipitation and heat. The dense, urbanized landscape poses unique challenges in implementing equitable and resilient solutions that meet both societal and ecological needs. In any one segment of the waterfront, there are multiple complex and competing land uses (e.g. housing, energy and transportation infrastructure, and open space) and a patchwork of public and private land ownership. Many of the neighborhoods most vulnerable to storm surge and flooding in New York City are also home to a high proportion of low-income families. Vulnerable communities also face higher risks from other climate change impacts, such as extreme heat, which kills more New Yorkers than any other extreme weather event. All of these factors raise important tradeoffs with respect to the costs and benefits of engineered solutions, whether green or grey.