Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies:
A guide to identifying and evaluating strategies for increasing the resilience of waterfront neighborhoods to coastal storms and sea level rise
Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies is a resource to help guide planners and policy makers in New York City and beyond in identifying and evaluating potential coastal protection strategies. As evidenced by Hurricane Sandy, urban waterfronts face risks from coastal hazards today, and these risks will only increase with future sea level rise. The city and region’s coastal zone is vast and diverse, and different areas face different hazards and risks and require different approaches. The report identifies a range of potential adaptive strategies, including interventions inland, at the shoreline, and in the water, and analyzes each for its ability to protect waterfront communities by reducing flooding from storm surge and high tides or absorbing destructive wave forces. Potential costs and benefits associated with each strategy are examined, both in terms of risk reduction and financial costs as well as the impact on, or benefit to, the city’s livability and sustainability. The report also lays out a framework by which communities can narrow the list of strategies to consider for a given geography and identify which strategies provide the greatest range of benefits with respect to direct and indirect costs. This information is intended to provide guidance for the challenging decisions coastal communities face about how to foster resilient communities that can withstand and recover from climate hazards with minimal harm, while retaining a vibrant economy and a high quality of life for their residents.
The study informed the analysis and recommendations for coastal protection in A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the report of Mayor Bloomberg’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR), released on June 11, 2013.