In New York City, climate change risks are now integrated into the city’s existing planning and construction operations, ensuring city projects’ resilience.

New York City is the first American city to institutionalize climate resiliency by establishing city-wide Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines for using forward-looking climate projections in city project designs. New York City’s government departments all have previously developed their own development guidance but lacked a consistent approach for how to use climate projections. The guidelines provide a consistent methodology for engineers, architects, and planners to design facilities that are resilient to continued changes in climate across the entire lifespan of the facilities.

The Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines are multi-hazard, addressing all major climate change risks identified by the New York City Panel on Climate Change. The guidelines address some of New York’s most acute issues, such as how to limit the urban heat island effect, while also protecting facilities against extreme heat. By recommending flexible adaptation pathways, a way of designing facilities with coastal storm protections that are upgradable, the city will limit urban flooding from extreme precipitation. In doing so, the city is not only becoming increasingly resilient but also a more enjoyable place to live for millions of New Yorkers.

$20 billion is invested in New York City’s resilience program

The challenge

New York City faces sea level rise, storm surges, heat waves, extreme hot days, and intense rain events. In order to increase resilience, the city has mainstreamed adaptation into the planning process, ensuring that climate projections inform building and infrastructure design.


Economic The economic benefits of the guidelines will be seen in losses avoided, ensuring that New York City bounces back quickly from extreme weather events. Hurricane Sandy cost $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity.

Environmental The guidelines require an increase in the capacity of stormwater management systems, which reduces urban flooding and reduces combined sewer overflows, an existing challenge that will be aggravated as the intensity of rain events increases with climate change.

Health Minimizing the city’s urban heat island effect will result in a cooler city, better able to keep vulnerable New Yorkers safe during heat waves. Critical city services such as hospitals will be well-protected and quickly restored following major weather events.

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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