NYCEDC and Mayor's Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) released the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan, a blueprint for comprehensive flood defense infrastructure to protect Lower Manhattan from the urgent threat of climate change. The plan, projected to cost $5 to $7 billion, reimagines the shoreline of Lower Manhattan and creates a 21st Century resilient waterfront to withstand severe coastal storms and rising sea levels, which together pose a serious threat to the low-lying Financial District and South Street Seaport neighborhoods where close to a million people work, live, and commute through.
To protect the area, which was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the master plan features a multilevel waterfront that extends the shoreline of the East River by up to 200 feet from its existing location. The upper level will be elevated by about 15 to 18 feet to protect against severe storms like Sandy, while doubling as public open spaces with sweeping views of the city and harbor. The lower level will be a continuous waterfront esplanade, raised three to five feet to protect against sea level rise while connecting New Yorkers to the water's edge. When implemented, this innovative design will protect approximately 140 acres and prevent up to $1 billion in annual damages, starting in the 2050s. It will safeguard Lower Manhattan in a time of rising sea levels and more frequent and intense coastal storms.
The master plan encompasses almost one mile of waterfront from The Battery to the Brooklyn Bridge. Notable features of the proposed plan include:
The City has worked closely with the community to shape this plan. Through numerous public meetings and workshops, an online engagement portal, youth outreach with local schools, and other creative forms of engagement, the City incorporated feedback at every step along the way. To maximize outside input, the City also formed the Climate Coalition for Lower Manhattan, a group of local and citywide stakeholders chaired by Elizabeth Yee, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at The Rockefeller Foundation, and Tammy Meltzer, Chairperson of Manhattan Community Board 1.
The Financial-District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan is part of the larger Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) strategy, backed by over $900 million in City investments to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding. This includes active capital projects in Battery Park City, The Battery, and the Two Bridges neighborhood north of the Brooklyn Bridge. In October, Mayor de Blasio announced $110 million in City funding for Seaport Coastal Resilience, a new project to protect South Street Seaport—the lowest lying and most vulnerable part of the master plan study area—from flooding in the years before the master plan is implemented.
To learn more and download the full report, please visit fidiseaportclimate.nyc.