Climate Change Isn't Coming, It's Here
The City is prioritizing passive flood defense, which means permanently raising the height of the shoreline to protect the area. Passive measures are needed because this area will eventually face flooding every day due to sea level rise; deploying floodgates every day is not feasible. Further, the Financial District and Seaport’s low-lying topography combined with strong wave action during coastal storms makes relying solely on floodgates less suitable. In select locations, floodgates will accompany the passive flood defense, limiting additional weight over subway tunnels and providing entrances for emergency and maintenance vehicles to reach the shoreline. Absent a coastal storm, these floodgates will be hidden, opening views to the river and providing direct access to the shoreline edge.
The City is also proposing new stormwater infrastructure to keep stormwater from backing up and flooding the area behind the new coastal flood defense infrastructure. A combination of both traditional, or “grey” infrastructure, as well as green infrastructure, will help manage stormwater runoff, limiting the additional stress placed on the sewer system during heavy rain and coastal storm events.
This waterfront will also be designed to help advance the City’s sustainability goals. The new shoreline edge will incorporate opportunities for ecological enhancements, providing new habitats for fish and other aquatic organisms. Nature-based solutions will be woven throughout to help manage stormwater, provide shade, and reduce local summer temperatures. Further, the master plan identifies opportunities to integrate renewable energy as part of any new buildings or structures along the waterfront.