Addressing the risk of rising sea levels, New York City implemented its Raise Shorelines Citywide project through a comprehensive analysis of its shorelines, protecting inhabitants and their livelihoods.

Raise Shorelines Citywide began in 2014, a project specifically designed to address sea level rise rather than storm surge. Identifying New York City’s most vulnerable shorelines with some of the most comprehensive and detailed analyses in world, data includes daily high tide inundation, calculated using localized sea level rise projections from the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) and a wave atlas produced specifically for this project.

Using the 90th percentile of projections for the 2050s produced by NPCC, projects were identified that will fortify vulnerable stretches of shoreline to prevent inundation of buildings and infrastructure in a future where the highest average level of the New York Harbor could rise by 81 cm. Analysis of New York City’s more than 965 km of shoreline led to the selection of 15 projects that will make the city’s coastline more resilient to the risks posed by sea level rise.

1,750 houses and at least 65 businesses will be protected from inundation through Raise Shorelines Citywide

The challenge

Between 1900 and 2000, sea levels in New York Harbor rose by an average of just over two and a half centimeters per decade, about twice the global average, with projections showing these trends will continue or accelerate. As part of Raise Shorelines Citywide, New York City is working proactively to secure critical assets, infrastructure, and neighborhoods, addressing the risks presented by sea level rise.


Economic The benefit-cost index used to rank projects takes into account the market value of at-risk assets.

Environmental Implementation of Raise Shorelines Citywide will likely include restoration of natural coastal wetlands as an intervention against high tide inundation and erosion, encouraging new habitats for wildlife that have been in decline because of urbanization.

Social Aware of the need for social equity, at least 30% of new hires for the construction of these projects will be low-income individuals.

About New York City

The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2016 population of 8,537,673 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Many districts and landmarks in New York City have become well known, and the city received a record 61 million tourists in 2016, hosting three of the world’s ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013.

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