FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 17, 2023
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NYCHA Announces Progress on Cloudburst Projects to Manage Stormwater, Reduce Flooding, And Improve Open Spaces at Eight NYCHA Developments in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx

The innovative approach to stormwater management follows the expansion of the City’s Cloudburst Program to protect residents and property from extreme rainfall events in flood-prone areas throughout New York City

Click here for photos of the renderings and engagement process  


NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), today announced milestones for eight projects that are critical to the City’s efforts to protect residents from the impacts of extreme rain. As part of these efforts, vendors are being invited to submit bids for the construction of NYCHA’s first cloudburst project at South Jamaica Houses. Design is complete for cloudburst infrastructure at Jefferson Houses, and design on another cloudburst project is in progress at Clinton Houses (both in Manhattan). Additionally, an RFP (Request for Proposals) for design services has been released for cloudburst infrastructure at five additional developments that have been identified as having high vulnerability to flooding: Breukelen, Nostrand, Ingersoll, Butler, and Woodside. Design and construction for these projects -- supported with $84 million in capital funds provided by the City to combat high-intensity rain events – helps to realize a vision of a rain-resistant New York City. The joint initiative from NYCHA and DEP follows a separate but complementary January 2023 announcement by the City to develop clustered stormwater projects to protect residents in four neighborhoods – Corona and Kissena Park, Queens; Parkchester, Bronx; and East New York, Brooklyn – that was supported through $390 million in capital funds.

NYCHA is working collaboratively with our stakeholders and partner agencies to prepare for climate-induced weather hazards while developing innovative strategies to mitigate the resulting risks,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “By using a holistic approach to design, NYCHA will address the need to adapt to our changing climate while helping to improve the quality of NYCHA’s open spaces. We thank DEP, the Mayor’s Office, and FEMA for making investments in NYCHA’s preparedness for climate change.

“DEP is proud to partner with NYCHA on these innovative projects that will build green spaces to both reduce flooding and beautify our communities,” said Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Climate change is real and happening rapidly, so New York City is using every creative way possible to combat extreme weather to protect our residents.”

“This project is an example of the ways New York City is leading the globe in implementing adaptation strategies that meet multiple climate goals,” said Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice Kizzy Charles-Guzmán. “With this work at South Jamaica Houses and other campuses throughout New York City, NYCHA will protect residents from the effects of extreme rain, advance equity and public health, and enhance recreation and public space.”

“ULI and its Urban Resilience program, as well as ULI New York, are excited to see NYCHA implementing the recommendations of our collaborative technical assistance workshop on cloudburst resilience,” said President of ULI Americas Gwyneth Jones Coté. “Preparing the built environment for extreme climate events, especially with affordable housing providers like NYCHA, is a critical priority as we work to mobilize the industry around pressing climate and social challenges. ULI remains dedicated to leveraging our technical assistance offerings through our network of local District Councils to support leading government agencies such as NYCHA on these shared goals.”

Cloudburst events are high-intensity rainstorms that can drop a large amount of water over a short period of time, often overwhelming the capacity of the City’s sewer system. DEP has developed a strong partnership with the City of Copenhagen, Denmark, to share best practices for stormwater management. Much like in Copenhagen and other cities in Europe, the cloudburst projects developed for NYCHA campuses seek to utilize open spaces to store stormwater until the rainfall event passes and there is capacity in the drainage system to manage it. Landscape modifications are intended to reduce flooding during cloudburst events, while servicing residents every day through enhanced ability to use open spaces. At South Jamaica Houses, for example, sunken basketball courts with tiered seating around the courts serve a dual purpose, working as detention ponds during rain events and as an enhanced basketball court on a dry day. At Jefferson Houses, re-envisioned play areas will integrate stormwater management techniques through renovated outdoor areas; at Clinton Houses, a multi-purpose “water square” will provide recreational space that doubles as water storage during storms. For inspiration for additional multi-purpose infrastructure ideas, potential design teams bidding for the newly released cloudburst design RFP have been asked to refer to a reference guide for cloudburst strategies developed by the Urban Land Institute.

Cloudburst planning at South Jamaica Houses was supported through funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant for Cleaner, Greener Communities Program, which supported a design charrette. Through 2018, a technical team of engineers, urban designers, and landscape architects presented cloudburst designs to residents and solicited their feedback on design needs. The information gathered from that process informed the RFP. The cloudburst projects that have followed the South Jamaica project are similarly using community-led design to bring residents’ ideas together with the skills and ideas of top engineering and landscape architecture teams.

NYCHA’s award-winning Open Space Master Plan, released in 2021, provides a vision for how NYCHA outdoor spaces can be re-imagined to better serve residents. NYCHA’s Climate Adaptation Plan, meanwhile, making use of New York City’s Stormwater Flood Maps, identifies NYCHA developments at high risk of impact due to heavy rain. By siting cloudburst infrastructure at developments with both flood vulnerability and a high priority for open space upgrades, NYCHA is able to accomplish two goals with one project: improving outdoor amenities while reducing climate risk.

The NYCHA cloudburst projects are made possible by investments from DEP and the Mayor’s Office. Specifically, DEP designed and funded NYCHA’s first cloudburst project at South Jamaica Houses, and the Mayor’s Office provided funding to scale up cloudburst efforts at NYCHA through the Extreme Weather Task Force. Additional funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program have expanded the reach of local investments in stormwater protection at Breukelen and Clinton Houses. Additionally, allocations from Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala have ensured that new resident amenities are integrated into the work at South Jamaica, Clinton, and Jefferson Houses. Cloudburst infrastructure at NYCHA is being designed to mitigate future high-intensity rain events. These projects demonstrate that NYCHA properties are a crucial resource for building New York City’s resilience to climate change and mitigating future extreme weather events involving more rainfall.

The eight cloudburst projects build on a successful partnership between NYCHA and DEP, through which more than 20 stormwater infrastructure projects have been implemented at public housing developments to help reduce neighborhood flooding while also improving the health of local waterways. The goal of installing green infrastructure at NYCHA developments in the combined sewer shed was identified as a key strategy in the Authority’s latest progress report for its Sustainability Agenda. The first green infrastructure projects at Bronx River, Edenwald, Hope Gardens, and Seth Low Houses were completed in 2018; 16 additional developments throughout New York City are wrapping up construction now; and an additional 17 sites have completed design and will be going into construction later in 2023.

More information on NYCHA’s South Jamaica Houses Cloudburst Master Plan can be found here, and the latest progress report for the Sustainability Agenda can be found here.


About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.


The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to roughly 1 in 16 New Yorkers across over 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves over 339,000 residents through the conventional public housing program (Section 9), over 29,000 residents at developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD, and over 92,000 families through federal rent subsidies (the Section 8 Leased Housing Program). In addition, NYCHA connects residents to opportunities in financial empowerment, business development, career advancement, and educational programs. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.