One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (OneNYC)

The 2015 plan for New York City, One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (OneNYC) was originally released in 2007, and again in 2011 under the name "PlaNYC."  As in past iterations of this report, OneNYC addresses New York City’s economic growth, sustainability, and resiliency - but also seeks to address issues of equity, and provides a strategic plan for collectively achieving this goal. OneNYC lays out strategies for dealing with income inequality along with plans for managing climate change impacts, while establishing the platform for another century of economic growth and vitality.

OneNYC is developed across four Visions:

Vision 1: Our Growing Thriving City
Vision 2: Our Just and Equitable City
Vision 3: A Sustainable City
Vision 4: A Resilient City

The Sustainability vision states that “New York City will be the most sustainable big city in the world and a global leader in the fight against climate change.” The vision involves minimizing NYC’s environmental footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and having the cleanest air and water of any city in the U.S.

One of the primary visions of OneNYC is to build a more just and equitable city, characterized by an inclusive economy that offers well-paying jobs and opportunities. New York reports that income inequality in the city surpasses the national average and that 45% of New Yorkers are in or near poverty.

The equity chapter of the plan identifies the following 7 goals:

  • Lift 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty by 2025
  • Close the opportunity gap for children
  • Promote access to high-quality, conveniently-located, community-based city resources that promote civic engagement and enable New Yorkers to thrive
  • Provide healthy neighborhoods and encourage active living
  • Ensure all New Yorkers have access to the physical and mental healthcare services they need
  • Be the safest large U.S. city with the lowest rate of incarceration, with a criminal justice system that leads the nation in fairness and efficiency
  • Embrace Vision Zero and accept no traffic fatalities on New York City streets

In addition to the chapter on equity, the sustainability and resilience chapters also integrate the City's equity vision. On Page 164, the plan describes their environmental justice goals. Specific to climate adaptation, the plan describes efforts to reduce flooding in Southeast Queens and to create workforce development programs that ensure resilience goals create local jobs. The plan also commits to strengthening community-based organizations, improving access to emergency shelters and cooling centers in low-income and vulnerable neighborhoods, and increasing the resiliency of public housing.  

In 2016 the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) published an analysis of the OneNYC Plan that recommends ways to strengthen the city government’s efforts to cultivate climate justice. See that report here

 

In the vision of Resiliency, NYC’s "neighborhoods, economy, and public services are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats.”

To become a resilient city, this plan indicates that New York City will:

- Eliminate disaster-related long-term displacement more than one year of New Yorkers from homes by 2050;
- Reduce the Social Vulnerability Index for neighborhoods across the city; and
- Reduce average annual economic losses resulting from climate-related events.  

The first of the risks addressed in the Resiliency chapter is climate change, including rising sea levels, increased temperatures and precipitation, and a growing likelihood of more intense storms. In 2015, the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) released an updated set of climate projections for the region. Among its findings, the report noted that sea level rise for New York City, which had averaged 1.2 inches per decade (a total of 1.1 feet since 1900), is nearly twice the observed global rate over a similar time period.

According to the plan “(t)o achieve this vision, New York City must adapt...The right investments can be leveraged to strengthen communities while we rebuild. It is understood that every dollar invested in risk mitigation can repay itself four or more times over in future damages avoided. With the funds available after Sandy, the City has a unique opportunity to buy down future risk - that is, to invest now by working with communities, upgrading buildings, protecting infrastructure, and reducing flood risks - to enhance the city's resiliency. In fact, building on the City’s comprehensive $20 billion climate resiliency program, we will advance that program, expand our efforts, and prepare our city for the impacts of climate change and other 21st century threats.”

In order to track progress toward meeting the goals detailed in OneNYC, a set of 55 key quantitative indicators was developed that will be reported on an annual basis. (OneNYC has a total of 27 goals, 21 of which have goal-level indicators. The remaining six will be tracked at the initiative level in the annual Progress Report.)

A separate report including Indicators and a Summary of Initiatives is provided (http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC-Summary-of-Initiatives.pdf). The 55 indicators are presented in a comprehensive matrix by sector, with current standings listed along with targeted goals.

INDICATORS
The city’s buildings will be upgraded against changing climate impacts, and the indicators of building resiliency are:

  • An increase of the percentage of households in the 100-year floodplain with flood insurance policies from 55%
  • Increased square footage of buildings upgraded against flood risk
  • Increase the number of elevated homes in the Build-it-Back program

New York City’s coastal defenses will be strengthened against flooding and sea level rise. Coastal indicators of success include:

  • An increase of the linear feet of coastal defenses completed (up from 36,500 currently)
  • Increased acres of coastal ecosystems restored
  • An increase in the number of residents benefiting from coastal defenses and restored ecosystems (up from 200,000) 

INITIATIVES
Some of the significant adaptation focused Initiatives from across the plan are:

  • Improve project scoping and design to improve green-building and save costs.
  • Protect the City’s water supply and maintain the reliability and resiliency of the water supply system
  • Expand green infrastructure and smart design for stormwater management in neighborhoods across the city
  • Reduce pollution from stormwater runoff
  • Ensure that all investments in resiliency will create job opportunities for residents and low-income applicants, and build on successful workforce development models to encourage the hiring of Sandy-impacted residents.
  • Ensure that all investments in resiliency will create job opportunities for residents and low-income applicants, and build on successful workforce development models to encourage the hiring of Sandy-impacted residents.
  • Adapt vulnerable building stock to withstand the risks of climate change and extreme weather events.
  • Complete the City's $3.7 billion coastal protection plan, a program of infrastructure investments, natural areas restoration, and design and governance upgrades of which nearly half is funded

Under Local Law 84 (2013), a long-term plan considering population projections (currently a forecast of 9 million residents by 2040), housing, air quality, coastal protections, and other sustainability and resiliency factors, is required every four years on Earth Day. The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability oversees the development of OneNYC and now shares responsibility with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency for ensuring its implementation.

 

 

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

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