Cool Neighborhoods NYC

New York City Mayor de Blasio launched Cool Neighborhoods NYC in June 2017. This $106 million program is designed to minimize the effects of extreme heat on the city by implementing projects such as cool roofs, city-wide tree plantings, and climate risk training for home health aides, among others.  The comprehensive resilience program aims to reduce heat-related health impacts by lowering temperatures in heat-vulnerable neighborhoods and strengthening social networks as well. Cool Neighborhoods NYC is led by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency and will be implemented in partnerships with NYC Parks, the Health Department, Small Business Services, Emergency Management, and members of the private sector.

The Cool Neighborhoods NYC report describes the heat mitigation and adaptation strategies that the program will be implementing - which include the following:

Cool Neighborhoods NYC Heat Mitigation Strategies

  • Conducting Targeted Street Tree Plantings for Cool Neighborhoods
  • Strategically Implementing NYC °CoolRoofs 
  • Understanding the Role that Cool Pavements Play in Addressing the Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Implementing Green Infrastructure and Understanding its Co-Benefits for Cool Neighborhoods

Cool Neighborhoods NYC Heat Adaptation Strategies

  • Launching Climate Risk Training for Home Health Aides
  • Encouraging New Yorkers to Check on At-Risk Neighbors through Be a Buddy NYC
  • Building Partnerships with Health and Weather Reporters for Preventative Messaging
  • Advocating for Reforms to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Working to Improve Ventilation and Ensure Operable Windows in Residential Buildings
  • Supporting Improvements to Signage and Programming at Cooling Centers

As part of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the City has committed $82 million to fund street tree plantings in neighborhoods in the South Bronx, Northern Manhattan, and Central Brooklyn - that have been identified as disproportionately vulnerable to heat-health risks. The City will also invest $16 million to support planting trees in parks, and another $7 million to support forest restoration across the five boroughs.

The initiative will launch the new “Be a Buddy NYC” program which is a two-year pilot to develop and test community cohesion strategies for protecting at-risk New Yorkers from extreme heat in the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, and Northern Manhattan. The program will begin with outreach to the general public advising them to check on neighbors, family, and friends who may be vulnerable during a heat wave.

The NYC Department of Transportation is also involved.  As part of Cool Neighborhoods, NYC DOT is replacing dark-colored asphalt with materials like planted medians that radiate less heat, as well as by adding green infrastructure, lighter-colored concrete, and painted pedestrian spaces throughout the city. 


Publication Date: June 14, 2017

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