Resilient Industry

Resilient Industry is a planning initiative to support industrial businesses located in the city’s floodplain by helping to identify cost-effective strategies to prepare for future floods, minimize damage to facilities, and quickly restore operations following a disruption. By promoting opportunities to strengthen industrial businesses in the face of flood risk, the Resilient Industry study bolsters efforts by the City to retain and spur industrial jobs.

The Resilient Industry study was conducted by the Department of City Planning (DCP) in partnership with New York City Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency as part of the City’s hazard mitigation planning effort aimed at reducing the long-term risk to human life, property, and infrastructure. In addition to providing recommendations to reduce risk on industrial sites, the work is informing DCP’s current effort to update Flood Resilience Zoning.


Business activity in industrial areas represents a vital and enduring component of New York City’s economy. However, many industrial areas are located along the city’s 520-mile shoreline or in low-lying areas particularly vulnerable to flooding. According to recently updated FEMA flood maps, more than 3,600 businesses and 87,000 employees are located in industrial areas within the high-risk flood zone. Hurricane Sandy highlighted this vulnerability, resulting in substantial losses to some businesses, harmful environmental impacts, and damage to surrounding communities.

DCP undertook the Resilient Industry study to assess the vulnerability of industrial areas to flooding and identify strategies to help businesses, employees, and nearby communities become more resilient to future storms and floods. Working in partnership with NYC Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, DCP examined best practices for flood mitigation and preparedness appropriate for a broad range of facilities within manufacturing districts.

The final report provides guidance for businesses to better address flood risk. The findings will also inform the 2019 update of the New York City Hazard Mitigation Plan by identifying strategies to support the resilience of industrial areas. Resilient Industry is part of the City’s effort since Hurricane Sandy to promote long-term resiliency. The study complements two other City Planning projects aimed at enhancing flood resilience:

  • Resilient Neighborhoods is a place-based planning initiative to identify locally specific strategies, including zoning and land use changes, to support the vitality and resiliency of communities in the flood zone.
  • Resilient Retail is a planning initiative to strengthen retail corridors throughout the city’s floodplain with the goal of developing land use recommendations to help businesses and the neighborhoods they serve withstand and recover quickly from future storms and flood events.

Resilient Industry considers strategies to reduce vulnerability to flooding that are applicable across a broad spectrum of businesses active in industrial areas in New York City. The study is guided by four overarching goals:

  • Reduce flood hazards for businesses and residents in the city’s industrial areas located within the floodplain.
  • Identify emergency preparedness guidelines for businesses in industrial areas located within the floodplain.
  • Promote cost-effective physical and operational strategies to protect businesses and the environment.
  • Identify financial and insurance challenges unique to businesses in industrial areas located within the floodplain.

The Resilient Industry initiative was focused around three research components designed to build upon and reinforce each other:

Industrial Vulnerability Assessment

The study explored the vulnerability of businesses in industrial areas, including the distribution of industrial uses and facilities relative to specific flood hazards, as well as resiliency challenges unique to businesses in New York City. The study also considered factors that affect the ability of businesses to mitigate and prepare for disasters.

Best Practices in Industrial Resilience

Resilient Industry was informed by innovative resiliency practices undertaken by industrial businesses in NYC and in other major cities nationally and internationally. Best practices were explored for both physical and operational strategies that businesses can pursue to better withstand flooding or bounce back after interruptions.

Prototypical Site Analysis

Flooding challenges are shared across many businesses within industrial areas. However, the diversity of businesses requires tailored resiliency solutions. The study identified prototypical industrial sites and assessed the feasibility and benefits of implementing a range of flood resiliency best practices within each site.

DCP engaged a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) consisting of more than 60 stakeholders to guide the study. Comprised of business owners, state and local government agency representatives, environmental and community justice advocates, and other key stakeholders, the TAC provided the technical expertise and practical experience necessary to fully understand the challenges and opportunities for greater resilience within industrial areas and throughout our waterfront communities.

View a PDF Document presentation for the TAC Kick-Off Meeting on June 15, 2015 summarizing the vulnerability assessment.

View the PDF Document agenda and a Video file video of the presentation made by several TAC members on January 27, 2016 about their work to enhance industrial resiliency.

View a PDF Document presentation for the TAC meeting on April 7, 2016 describing the approach for the prototypical site analysis.

View Frequently Asked Questions

For more information about the Resilient Industry initiative, please contact: