Fourth Regional Plan for NY-NJ-CT metro region

The Regional Plan Association prepared this strategic plan for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area. The fourth plan for the region is a long-term strategy that focuses on four core values of equity, prosperity, health, and sustainability. The plan identifies financing for new resilient infrastructure, expands the transit network, builds more green infrastructure for climate adaptation, and invests in communities economic growth and sustainability. 

The plan is organized into four Action Areas of Institutions, Transportation, Affordability and Climate Change which frame the goals and recommendations.  The basis for improving institutions is rooted in upgrading housing policies, local land-use practices, and tax structures. Transportation goals are to invest in extending the subways and regional rail networks, as well as upgrading airports and seaports. The goals for affordable quality housing for all income levels reflect a dedication to equity in the region - while proposing to boost the region’s economy through investments in smaller cities and downtowns.

This resource was featured in the January 12, 2018, ASAP Newsletter.

"The Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan lays out an ambitious strategy to combat the health impacts of climate change and invest in adaptation infrastructure. ASAP member Robert Freudenberg served as lead researcher for the climate change section of the plan!"

Climate adaptation strategies support the plan’s core value of Sustainability. The Sustainability Goal is: “By 2040, the region should be nearing its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent, eliminating the discharge of raw sewage into its rivers and harbor, and greatly improving its resilience to flooding and extreme heat caused by climate change.”

According to the report, more than a million people and 650,000 jobs are at risk of flooding, along with critical infrastructures such as power plants, rail yards, and water-treatment facilities. Strategic planning is focused on adapting coastal communities, or retreating from the areas most threatened by sea level rise and flooding. The plan also recommends investing in green infrastructure to mitigate the urban heat-island effect, reduce stormwater runoff and sewer overflows, and improve the health and well-being of residents.

The Fourth Regional Plan details 61 recommendations to make the region more equitable, healthy, sustainable, and prosperous. Key Climate Recommendations are to:

- Reform regional transportation authorities and reduce the costs of building new transit projects

- Price greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using California’s comprehensive approach

- Establish a Regional Coastal Commission and state adaptation trust funds

RPA recommends New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut create a Regional Coastal Commission that would manage coastal adaptation, and oversee state Adaptation Trust Funds to provide dedicated funding for resilience projects.

- Strategically protect land to adapt to climate change and connect people with nature; establish a national park in the Meadowlands and a regional trail network

RPA proposes establishing a national park in the New Jersey Meadowlands, one of the Northeast’s largest remaining contiguous tracts of urban open space that supports a wide array of wildlife and biodiversity, and has the potential to protect surrounding communities from storm surges.

- Create a greener, smarter energy grid

The report describes a legacy of discrimination in housing, transportation, education, and other policies that disproportionately impact low-income residents and people of color. The investments and policies proposed by RPA would reduce inequality and improve the lives of the region’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents.

The following recommended Equity goals are supported by many strategic actions described further in the plan:

  • Create affordable and fair housing by both strengthening disadvantaged communities and opening up exclusionary places.
  • Make decisions more inclusively.
  • Reduce inequality by expanding access to economic opportunity.
  • Create new relationships between communities, industry, and nature to provide dignified, productive, and ecologically sustainable livelihoods.


New funding streams were identified in this plan to support climate resilience, including: 

  • Pricing greenhouse gas emissions to fund climate adaptation and mitigation measures, transit, and investments in environmentally burdened neighborhoods
  • Insurance surcharges on the property to fund coastal climate adaptation

Publication Date: November 2017

Related Organizations:

  • Regional Plan Association


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)

States Affected:


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