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Projects & Proposals > Climate Resilience > Resilient Neighborhoods

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Resilient Neighborhoods
South Queens
South Queens

Following Hurricane Sandy, the City has developed a detailed action plan for recovery from the storm and the long-term resilience of New York City’s coastal communities, buildings, and infrastructure. As part of this effort, the Department of City Planning (DCP) is undertaking the Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative, working with communities to identify changes to zoning and land use and other actions that support the vitality of neighborhoods at risk of coastal flooding, and that will help residents and businesses withstand and recover quickly from future storms and other climate events.

Hurricane Sandy was a stark reminder of the vulnerability of New York City coastal neighborhoods in New York City. Some communities suffered extensive damage, and some home and business owners continue to struggle to rebuild and recover. Others were largely unaffected by flooding in this storm, but remain at risk from future storms. In addition, for many communities around the city, newly issued Federal flood maps with a substantially larger flood zone and increases to flood insurance premiums present new economic challenges.

The Department of City Planning’s Flood Resilience Zoning Text Amendment, adopted in October 2013, changed regulations to enable new and existing buildings to incorporate flood protection measures based on the best available data on flood risk from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In addition, there is a need to help individual communities in flood zones reexamine questions of land use, zoning, and development with a new understanding of coastal flood risks.

To accomplish this, the Department is initiating a series of Federally funded neighborhood planning studies in support of disaster recovery. Working closely with communities, the Department will develop locally specific strategies to address recovery needs, increase resilience, and support the vitality of neighborhoods in the near and long term. This process will take into account and build on public input already generated through other initiatives, such as New York State’s Community Reconstruction Program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design.

Resilient Neighborhood Goals
The studies will consider the unique character of each community and the specific issues and opportunities each faces, while guided by a set of common goals:

Reduce risks from natural hazards such as flooding and coastal storms.
Enable buildings and infrastructure to withstand flooding and other hazards while minimizing disruption to residents and businesses.

Foster economically and socially vibrant communities that are able to adapt to changing conditions.
Support the continuing vitality of neighborhoods, considering both short-term needs and long-term challenges.

Coordinate land use planning with rebuilding activities and infrastructure investment.
Identify practical strategies to address neighborhood needs and constraints.

The Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative focuses on areas of all five boroughs, identified generally on the map below, that present specific local land use, zoning, and resilience issues that cannot be addressed fully by citywide zoning changes, with an emphasis on areas where heavy damage occurred during Sandy or substantial flood risk exists. Phase I studies are being initiated with Federal funds that has been allocated to the Department. Phase II studies are dependent upon the availability of additional funding. Recommendations from individual study areas may have broader applicability to other neighborhoods with similar conditions.

Process and Public Outreach

Studies will identify key issues and opportunities based on an assessment of:

  • Neighborhood conditions and trends prior to Hurricane Sandy;
  • Physical damage and other effects of the storm, including rebuilding progress and challenges; and
  • Neighborhood vulnerabilities to current and future climate hazards, including economic challenges related to flood insurance.

Studies will identify potential changes to zoning and land use and implementation strategies, as well as opportunities for housing, open space, economic development, public facilities, infrastructure, or other improvements, to support neighborhood resilience and vitality. The nature of recommendations for each neighborhood will vary based on the needs and priorities for each area, and will address both short-term and long-term issues. Each Resilient Neighborhoods study will include a robust public outreach process, with City Planning working with affected communities to identify issues, set objectives, and shape and review recommendations.

As each study progresses, new information will be added regularly to this webpage. Contact with questions.

For information on related projects and initiatives:

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