Connecting Delta Cities

New York City

New York City: Climate change adaptation

Climate change adaptation

In 2007, mayor Bloomberg released PlaNYC 2030, a comprehensive sustainability plan for New York’s future. It puts forth a strategy to reduce the city’s carbon footprint (e.g. an emissions cut by 30% compared to 2005 levels), while at the same time accommodating population growth of nearly one million, and improving its infrastructure and environment.

An interesting aspect of PlaNYC 2030 is the participation of stakeholders in the development of the plan. After PlaNYC 2030 was announced, over 100 organizations were invited and meetings were held throughout the five boroughs. Additionally, during a four-month public outreach process, PlaNYC 2030 received over 3,000 email messages with ideas and visions from New Yorkers. These citizen suggestions helped to form a plan to address the critical challenges that lie ahead to create a sustainable city.

One year later the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) was established. This panel consists of climate change and climate impact scientists, as well as legal, insurance and risk management experts. It serves as the technical advisory body for the Mayor and the New York City Climate Change Adaptation Task Force on issues related to climate change, impacts and adaptation.

Practical ideas to adapt and protect New York from storm surges and flooding include an increase in sand nourishment, construction of large-scale storm surge barriers, flood-proofing basements but also insurance, better forecasting and development of special evacuation plans. On Staten Island the risks of flooding from storm water are reduced by providing and constructing storm water detention ponds and wetlands. The estimated costs were 37 million dollars; approximately 39 million dollars lower than a conventional underground network of storm sewers.

Moreover, NYC has a Sustainable Storm water Management Plan to achieve a more liveable and sustainable NYC with cleaner water. To work on this the NYC green infrastructure plan has been released as a part of the PlaNYC 2030. This green strategy involves the implementation of green roofs, cool roofs and swales; build cost-effective grey infrastructure but also the optimization of the existing wastewater system. Part of this plan, in combination with the Parks and Public Space Plans is the million threes plan and the design of the Brooklyn bridge park and the Halets Coastal Defence. Other examples of NYC water management are the monitoring of water quality and involvement of different stakeholders in the plans.

MillionTreesNYC, already halfway planting a million trees.

New York is busy preparing flood zoning maps and building codes for flood prone areas. The next step is to take care of flood insurance.
To protect the city against future sea level rise, the governors island is being designed in such a way that half the island can flood, in a salt water resistant way. As well as 2,5 ha of floodplain on Willits Point, which can flood 1/100 years. Wetlands are being restored and protected, the wetlands restoration is being monitored to see whether it can keep up with expected sea level rise (about 3 inches/7,6cm in 2100).

NYC has to cope with GHG emissions, this takes care of pollution in the city and makes the city warmer. To reduce this NYC has several plans:

  • The Parks and Public Space plans (1 million trees (Reduce GHG emissions, help combat UHIE))
  • Transportation plan, more sustainable transportation
  • Energy plan, reducing energy consumption
  • Solid waste plan, reducing solid waste and more efficient waste plan
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Magazine "Resilient Cities and Climate Adaptation Strategies" CDC book volume 3 Available now. Download free of charge.