Planning for a More Sustainable and Resilient City

As laid out in ONE NYC, the Mayor’s plan for growth, sustainability, resiliency, and equity, the City is addressing the challenges of climate change on multiple fronts—by making New York City the most sustainable big city in the world, and ensuring our neighborhoods, economy, and public services are more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

By developing plans for growth around transit, designing walkable streetscapes, and facilitating energy efficient building design, the Department of City Planning (DCP) is working to reduce New York City’s energy consumption and its contribution to climate change. The City has set an ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. This will require significant shifts in the city’s power, transportation, and waste systems, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of buildings. The stakes are high, as New York City, a city built primarily on islands and with 520 miles of shoreline, is vulnerable to the effects of climate change in a number of ways, including rising sea levels, extreme storms, and heat waves.

By working with communities in the floodplain and facilitating flood-resistant building design, DCP is reducing the city’s risks to sea level rise and coastal flooding. Hurricane Sandy was a stark reminder of these risks. The City, led by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR), has developed a multifaceted plan for recovering from Sandy and improving the city’s resiliency–the ability of its neighborhoods, buildings and infrastructure to withstand and recover quickly from flooding and climate events. As part of this effort, DCP has initiated a series of projects to identify and implement land use and zoning changes as well as other actions needed to support the short-term recovery and long-term vitality of communities affected by Hurricane Sandy and other areas at risk of coastal flooding.

Below are some of DCP’s key strategies and initiatives to show what we’re doing to help the City be more sustainable and resilient.

Climate Resiliency

Climate Resiliency - DCP, in collaboration with other agencies, has undertaken a number of initiatives to build the city’s resilience. These studies are focused on land use and zoning changes as well as other actions needed to support the short-term recovery and long-term vitality of communities affected by Hurricane Sandy and other areas at risk of coastal flooding. Learn more.

New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program
The New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP) establishes the City’s policies for development and use of the waterfront. The recent revision to this program, adopted by the City Council in 2013 and approved by the State and Federal governments in 2016, will require the consideration of climate change in project planning and design, among other updates.
PLACES: Neighborhood Planning Studies
PLACES: Neighborhood Planning Studies are comprehensive studies that examine and address key land use and zoning issues in a variety of neighborhoods, but also take a broader look at current and future community needs to identify a wide range of strategies and investments that accompany the land use and zoning changes and support neighborhood-specific growth and vitality.
Zone Green
PDF Document Zone Green was a text amendment adopted in 2012 to remove a wide range of impediments to the construction and retrofitting of greener buildings. It gives owners more choices for the investments they can make to save energy and money, and improve environmental performance.
Sustainable Communities
Sustainable Communities is a regional consortium to promote livable communities and growth centers around the region’s commuter rail network. This supported DCP’s work in East New York, along the Bronx Metro North Corridor, and the development of tools to build climate resilience for use around the region.
Inner Ring Residential Parking Study
Inner Ring Residential Parking Study examines the relationship between the cost of providing parking, residents’ choices about vehicles, and zoning requirements for parking within neighborhoods in Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, western Queens, and northern and central Brooklyn.
Car Share
A citywide text amendment to allow PDF Document Car Share vehicles to park in off-street parking garages and lots in appropriate locations was adopted in 2010. Car sharing gives New Yorkers a wider range of economical transportation choices and helps increase parking availability within neighborhoods.
Residential Streetscape Preservation Text Amendment
The PDF Document Residential Streetscape Preservation Text Amendment was adopted in 2010 to preserve and enhance the streetscape character of residential neighborhoods, such as related to front yard planting requirements, curb cuts, front yard parking pads, and parking requirements. The proposal would also help achieve some of the goals of the Mayor's OneNYC.
Bike-Share Opportunities in New York City
PDF Document Bike-Share Opportunities in New York City analyzes existing bike-share models and current New York City bicyclist demographics and demand to assess the potential for an NYC Bike-Share Program. In addition, an overview of potential funding options and recommendations for program implementation, including suggested program size and phasing, bike-station siting, fees, safety and theft reduction, are also discussed.
Bike Parking Text Amendment
The PDF Document Bike Parking Text Amendment was adopted in 2009 and requires indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, community facility, and commercial buildings.
Street Tree Planting - Text Amendment
Adopted in 2008, the PDF Document Street Tree Planting - Text Amendment requires street tree planting for all new developments and major enlargements citywide, which will result in approximately 10,000 new street trees per year.
Zoning Amendments to Enhance Yards and Open Space
In 2008, PDF Document Zoning Amendments to Enhance Yards and Open Space were adopted to prevent excessive paving of front yards by encouraging landscaping and planting in yards throughout the city.
Green Standards for Parking Lots
PDF Document Green Standards for Parking Lots was adopted in 2007 and requires commercial and community facility parking lots to apply design regulations for landscaping, perimeter screening of the lots as well as requirements for canopy trees in planting islands within the lots.