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Projects & Proposals > Climate Resilience > Resilient Neighborhoods

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DCP has produced a how-to guide on making art and cultural spaces more resilient produced in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, NYC Emergency Management, NYC Department of Small Business Services, and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. The guide was developed through engagement with the arts community and is part of the agency’s work in West Chelsea.

In addition, DCP has released its Resilient Neighborhoods initiative report for the Edgewater Park neighborhood of the Bronx. The report, which is the outcome of two years of study in partnership with local stakeholders, will be shared with community members to help raise awareness of flood risk and provide information on retrofitting buildings.

Resilient Neighborhoods is a place-based planning initiative to identify neighborhood specific strategies, including zoning and land use changes, that support the vitality and resiliency of communities in the flood zone.

Click on a Phase I study area for details on the neighborhood.

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Following Hurricane Sandy, the City developed a detailed action plan for recovery from the storm and the long-term resiliency 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 to work with communities on identifying zoning and land use changes, as well as other actions. This effort will identify and implement locally specific strategies to support the vitality of neighborhoods at risk of coastal flooding, and to 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 increase resiliency, 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 above, that present specific local land use, zoning, and resiliency 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. 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

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

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

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 resiliency and vitality. The nature of recommendations for each neighborhood will vary based on the needs and priorities for each area.

View a one-page overview on the Resilient Neighborhood initiative

Information on Related Projects and Initiatives
Frequently Asked Questions

+ Q: What are flood zones?

+ Q: Are City evacuation zones different than FEMA flood zones?

+ Q: How do I know if I am in a flood zone?

+ Q: What is the difference between A, Coastal A, V, and Shaded X zones?

+ Q: What is the Base Flood Elevation?

+ Q: Why are FEMA flood maps changing?

+ Q: What are flood-resistant construction standards?

+ Q: How do flood-resistant construction standards interact with zoning?

+ Q: Is the elevation on the latest FEMA map the height that buildings should be raised to?

+ Q: What is freeboard?

+ Q: What is flood insurance?

+ Q: What does “resiliency” mean in the context of flood risk?

+ Q: How will the Resilient Neighborhoods initiative make neighborhoods in the flood zone more resilient?

+ Q: How does the Resilient Neighborhoods initiative relate to other city, state, and federal resiliency projects?

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

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