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Town+Gown:NYC, NYC DDC, NYC DEP, NYU Tandon School of Engineering Presented at UNESCO’s Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate Inaugural Metropolitan Water Research and Innovation Two-Day Workshop

DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251,

(Long Island City, NY – April 5, 2023) The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today announced that the agency’s citywide built environment research program, Town+Gown:NYC, along with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, presented at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) inaugural Metropolitan Water Research & Innovation Workshop (WRI). The workshop is an initiative for the Euro-North American Region (ENAR) of UNESCO’s Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate (MAWaC).

The two-day WRI workshop was designed to develop collaborative and sustainable working relationships with academic research partners from these cities to support multi-city water research projects that seek to address issues these cities have in common. The workshop took place at NYU Tandon School of Engineering two days before the United Nations 2023 Water Conference and was part of New York Water Week. These events promoted international cooperation and collaboration to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. 

“Water sustainability is a worldwide issue and we have a lot potentially to learn and share with our partners in other large cities around the world,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane. “As climate change progresses these issues will become more and more important to urban planning.”

“The Town+Gown:NYC program was happy to support DEP and NYU at MAWaC’s Water Research & Innovation Workshop,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Town+Gown:NYC Director Terri Matthews. “Like the Town+Gown:NYC program itself, the workshop is intended to be a collaborative effort among practitioners and academics to produce research results that will support future policies and operational change.”

"DEP was proud to be a part of this unique opportunity to collaborate with municipal and academic leaders in the field of water management from across North America and Europe,” said NYC Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability Angela Licata.  “We look forward to furthering this relationship with UNESCO and our global peers because all cities share similar challenges and collaboration can help us develop the best solutions.”

“NYU Tandon, with its emphasis on urban research with NYC infrastructure agencies and its global network of international collaborations with the world megacities, is particularly well positioned to support the development of innovative urban climate resiliency solutions and accelerate their deployment monitoring for facing the existential challenges of metropolitan ecosystems sustainability and the ever-growing effects of the climate change crisis,” said MAWaC-ENAR Acting Secretary Ilan Juran, NYU Tandon Professor (retired 2021) and former head of the Civil and Urban Engineering Department. “The inter-city WRI collaboration among the ENAR megacities will mutually support NYU Tandon’s current research programs and aligns well with the goals of MAWaC.”

On the first day of the workshop, DEP Bureau of Sustainability Chief of Staff Dylan Meagher and DDC Town+Gown:NYC Director Terri Matthews co-moderated NYC’s presentation of water-related research for DEP, some of which was conducted under the Town+Gown:NYC innovative Master Academic Consortium Contract, which features 15 academic institutions that propose research solutions in response to New York City agencies’ and other governmental agencies’ requests for academic research. Matthews presented on Town+Gown:NYC and discussed the inventory she prepared of water-related research completed by 12 of the Master Contract academic institutions. Presenters from megacities around the world also shared research on Paris, Rome, London, Chicago and Los Angeles.

During the second day of the workshop, DDC First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane presented the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project and the risks of sea level rise for lower Manhattan. ESCR is a $1.45 billion project that will create a 2.4-mile flood barrier of berms, floodwalls, moveable gates and raised parkland that will protect 110,000 New Yorkers including 28,000 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents from future storms and tidal flooding. As part of the week’s events, King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander visited ESCR to see the progress being made on construction and upcoming work.

Town+Gown:NYC is a unique community-university partnership that brings together academics and practitioners on built environment research to increase applied built environment research and evidence-based analysis, often using New York City as a laboratory, and transfer and translate research results to inform and support changes in practices and policies.


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit