New York city, a collection of islands with 578 miles of coastline, is taking a big step in preparing for climate change. Last month, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency (ORR) released preliminary Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines for all of the city government’s capital projects, from libraries to bridges. The recommendations will now enter a pilot phase before being finalized in December.
While President Trump has denied climate science and is removing many of his predecessor’s climate-focused environmental regulations, highly vulnerable cities such as New York cannot afford to be unprepared. As Superstorm Sandy demonstrated in 2012, the population and economic activity threatened by more frequent extreme weather events is enormous. The new design guidelines are just one of ORR’s efforts to fortify New York against climate change. It also is surrounding Lower Manhattan with parks that serve as flood barriers and constructing a series of protective breakwaters along the coast of Staten Island.