A Stronger, More Resilient New York

A guest post from New York City’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.

In 2007, the PlaNYC report A Greener, Greater New York brought to light the risks New York City is facing due to the inclement effects of climate change. Since that time many measures have been taken to make the city better prepared, but Superstorm Sandy was a strong reminder that threats from extreme weather events still exist. On June 11, C40 Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg released A Stronger, More Resilient New York , a new report from PlaNYC that outlines strategies to create a more resilient NYC with a long-term focus on preparing for and protecting against the impacts of climate change.

A Stronger, More Resilient New York outlines more than 250 initiatives to prepare us for the “defining challenge for our future” — climate change, according to Mayor Bloomberg. In his speech to introduce the plan at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Mayor Bloomberg discussed how several proposals, including the installation of adaptable floodwalls, a storm surge barrier in Newtown Creek, and the expansion of natural areas for wave protection, will put the city on course for a more resilient future and set a new global standard for comprehensive long-term planning.

Recent data from the New York City Panel on Climate Change informed the development of the proposals outlined in A Stronger, More Resilient New York. For example, the Panel’s data revealed that sea levels could rise at a faster rate than forecasted just four years ago — by more than 2.5 feet, potentially, by the 2050s. By that same decade, the city could have three times as many days at or above 90 degrees, leading to heat waves that threaten public health and the power system, among other infrastructure systems. The data also showed that the number of days with more than two inches of rainfall will grow from three in the last century to five in the 2050s. The Panel’s full report, complete with detailed insight into their methodology and findings, is available here.

In addition, analysis from the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency shows that the costs of storms will increase: Sandy totaled $19 billion in damage and economic loss; in 2025 that cost grows to $35 billion in losses from an equivalent storm event, and to $90 billion by 2055.

A Stronger, More Resilient New York outlines a comprehensive strategy that will not only help New York City’s most-affected neighborhoods to rebuild stronger and safer, but will help make New York City less vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said Seth Pinsky, Director of the Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. 

Pinsky led the creation of A Stronger, More Resilient New York in coordination with an array of City agencies, technical experts, members of Sandy-impacted communities, and community-based and non-governmental organizations citywide.

“In the 21st century, it is the cities that confront climate change head-on that will be best positioned to survive and thrive. Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s vision and leadership, New York City is doing just that — setting our city up, once again, as a model for the rest of the world,” Pinsky added.

Ultimately, A Stronger, More Resilient New York is not just a road map for long-term comprehensive resiliency planning for New York, but for cities worldwide.