A Stronger, More Resilient New York

On June 11, 2013 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this comprehensive plan for New York City that contains actionable recommendations both for rebuilding the communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy and increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings citywide. In December 2012, the Mayor formed the Special Initiative of Rebuilding and Resiliency with the direction of producing a plan to provide additional protection for the city's infrastructure and communities from the impacts of climate change. This report is the result of that effort, and is intended to serve as a roadmap for building "a truly sustainable 21st Century New York."

The introductory Climate Analysis describes Sandy as well as many other storms to have hit New York, while illustrating some resiliency planning efforts already underway. The process of updating FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) is detailed, along with population densities and land area estimates in the 100-year floodplain. The city's other current climate vulnerabilities are presented, primarily discussing extreme weather events such as drought heat waves, and wind - followed by future vulnerabilities with climate impact projections up to the 2050s. 

In the areas of extreme heat, electricity provision, public housing, emergency food supply, integrated flood protection, and emergency response services, the plan outlines strategies to reach frontline communities.

In particular, the plan describes the City’s strategy to use HireNYC and career centers to employ more than 1,000 residents of devastated communities, especially those with high rates of unemployment, in Sandy rebuilding efforts. HireNYC is a free program that connects low-income individuals to economic development projects sponsored by the City, taking advantage of the New York’s workforce development services.

The plan also describes two policy options to address insurance affordability for low-income residents, including a national voucher program and premium reductions for mitigation efforts. In the event of stalled progress at the Federal level, the city outlines strategies to support vulnerable households, such as establishing a fund to cost-share insurance premiums or policyholders’ deductibles in the event of a loss.

The Sandy Regional Assembly (a group of community, environmental justice, labor, and civic groups) assessed this plan to see if it met environmental justice goals. Their review can be found here.

Community Rebuilding and Resiliency Plans are provided for five boroughs which received the greatest physical damage from Hurricane Sandy - including the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront, the East and South Shores of Staten Island, South Queens, Southern Brooklyn, and Southern Manhattan. In addition to a comprehensive plan with resiliency initiatives for each locale, these five chapters describe each community's vulnerabilities prior to Sandy, the specific impacts of Sandy on each, and the potential future risks from climate change.

The Mayor states, "Of course, if this plan is implemented, New York City will not be 'climate change proof' - an impossible goal - but will be far safer and more resilient than it is today."



Publication Date: June 11, 2013

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