Climate Change Isn't
Coming, It's Here

The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan aims to build Lower Manhattan’s resilience to climate risks, including daily tides and coastal storms. We are developing a comprehensive plan to secure the future of the region.

Our Process

What Did this Master Plan Set Out to Achieve?

This plan sets out to define a viable resiliency project—or more accurately, a series of projects—to adapt the Seaport and Financial District to climate change, by protecting the essential infrastructure and public spaces that make this waterfront and the city it serves function and thrive.

To accomplish this, a two-year public planning process led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and
Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR)
brought together city agency partners, local experts, and an interdisciplinary team led by the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis to shape a plan and define a path forward to make it a reality. The plan’s viability depends on fostering widespread community support, ensuring technical feasibility, and charting out a clear pathway to implementation.

This master plan set out to define a viable resilience solution to adapt the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods to the impacts of climate change. In Fall 2019, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) launched a two-year public planning process, bringing together City agencies, local experts, and an interdisciplinary team led by the Dutch engineering firm, Arcadis, to shape the master plan. The master plan’s ultimate success depends on fostering widespread community support, ensuring technical feasibility, and charting a clear pathway to implementation.

The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan (Climate Resilience Plan) will fill a critical gap in the City’s Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) strategy, securing the future for the millions of people who live in, work in, and travel through Lower Manhattan.

In partnership with the communities of Lower Manhattan, we are planning for and designing infrastructure that responds to the unique constraints and climate hazards facing the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods and creating implementation plans to ensure these designs come to life in the future. Our current planning exercise will conclude in late 2021, when we will release conceptual design options along with recommendations for implementation and identifying funding to build the project.

SEE OUR LATEST UPDATES

Grounded in a Shared Vision

In developing this master plan, the City worked closely with representatives of the Lower Manhattan community, citywide organizations and individuals, and the broader public to reflect a shared vision for the waterfront. The Climate Coalition for Lower Manhattan (CCLM), a stakeholder group formed to guide this master plan, brought together residents, business representatives, community organizations, and environmental and resilience groups to actively shape the master plan.

Technically Feasible

Key to the master plan’s success is proposing a reliable and technically feasible flood defense system. To do this, the project team conducted extensive technical analyses, including studying how water in the East River moves during both coastal storms and normal weather conditions; the viability of different flood defense tools in this location; and the potential impacts to waterborne transportation and aquatic ecosystems. The project team also studied how the current drainage system works and developed a strategy to manage stormwater behind the proposed flood defense system.

Implementable

In addition to technical feasibility and community engagement, the master plan charts out a path through design, permits and approvals, and construction. While this includes many considerations, from funding to governance to constructability, state and federal permitting requirements will have the greatest impact on the final design. As implementation will require state and federal permits, it is critical that the City carefully balance these requirements with the master plan goals and City policy priorities.

Sustainable

In line with OneNYC2050 and the City’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, the master plan aims to guide the Financial District and Seaport’s adaptation to the impacts of climate change without compromising the needs of future generations.

What is the Climate Coalition for Lower Manhattan?

Members of the CCLM, the master plan’s primary stakeholder group, include representatives from:
  • Alfred E. Smith Houses Resident Association, Inc.
  • Alliance for Downtown New York
  • C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
  • Financial District Neighborhood Association
  • Manhattan Community Board 1
  • Manhattan Community Board 3
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • New York League of Conservation Voters
  • Pace University
  • Partnership for New York City
  • Pasanella and Son Vintners
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • Rebuild by Design
  • Resilient Cities Catalyst
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • South Street Seaport Coalition, Inc.
  • South Street Seaport Museum
  • Trinity Church Wall Street
  • Tri-State Transportation Campaign
  • Trust for Governors Island
  • Trust for Public Land
  • Urban Assembly New York Harbor School
  • Waterfront Alliance
  • Assembly Member Niou
  • Borough President Brewer
  • Council Member Chin
  • Congressman Nadler
  • Senator Gillibrand
  • Senator Schumer
  • State Senator Kavanagh

Master Plan Goals

To protect Lower Manhattan, we must transform this waterfront to be resilient while maintaining its vibrancy and critical functions.

Goals

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image
     Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by
Image
Enhance the public
waterfront by

Ingredients

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Enhance the
public waterfront by

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

To protect Lower Manhattan, we must transform this waterfront to be resilient while maintaining its vibrancy and critical functions.

Goals

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image
     Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by
Image
Enhance the public
waterfront by

Ingredients

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Enhance the
public waterfront by

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

To protect Lower Manhattan, we must transform this waterfront to be resilient while maintaining its vibrancy and critical functions.
Goal
Ingredients
Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Ingredients
Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Goal
Image
     Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by
Ingredients
Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Goal
Image
Enhance the public
waterfront by
Ingredients
Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Enhance the
public waterfront by

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

To protect Lower Manhattan, we must transform this waterfront to be resilient while maintaining its vibrancy and critical functions.
Goal
Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Ingredients
Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Goal
Image
     Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by
Ingredients
Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Goal
Image
Enhance the public
waterfront by
Ingredients
Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Enhance the
public waterfront by

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

To protect Lower Manhattan, we must transform this waterfront to be resilient while maintaining its vibrancy and critical functions.
Goal
Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Ingredients
Image

Building new coastal flood defense infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage infrastructure to manage stormwater

Goal
Image
     Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by
Ingredients
Image
Ensuring universal accessibility and emergency vehicular connections to the waterfront and along the shoreline, and a continuous bikeway
Image
Constructing new resilient maritime facilities to support ferries, historic ships, and other waterfront operations
Image
Limiting impacts to the East River’s ecology while enhancing habitats where possible
Goal
Image
Enhance the public
waterfront by
Ingredients
Image
Preserving and enhancing existing public destinations
Image
Creating multi-level waterfront open space
Image
Providing community-serving uses
Image

Protect Lower Manhattan
from daily tidal flooding
and coastal storms by

Image

Building new coastal
flood defense
infrastructure

Image

Building new drainage
infrastructure to

manage stormwater

Image

Integrate climate
resilience infrastructure
into the city by

Image

Constructing new resilient
maritime facilities
to support
ferries, historic ships, and other
waterfront operations

Image

Ensuring universal accessibility
and emergency vehicular
connections to the waterfront
and along the shoreline, and a
continuous bikeway

Image

Limiting impacts to the East
River’s ecology while enhancing
habitats where possible

Image

Enhance the
public waterfront by

Image

Preserving and
enhancing existing
public destinations

Image

Creating multi-
level waterfront
open space

Image

Providing
community-
serving uses

Building a Shared Vision: Engagement Timeline

Over two years, the City conducted extensive community outreach to ensure this master plan reflects a shared vision. The work was broken into four phases, described below. While engagement was ongoing, the project team organized meetings around key decision points and milestones to ensure transparency and meaningful engagement around master plan priorities and decision-making.
Image

Slide What we shared: What the latest science says about climate hazards this neighborhoods face now and in future; how other cities and countries are adapting the climate change; possible flood defense strategies What we got feedback on: how to make this an open, equitable, and transparent planning process; the types of technical analyses to prioritize What we shared: How existing conditions in the study area shape what is feasible; how the climate threats influence design ; early thinking around flood defense infrastructure What we got feedback on: Guiding principle for the over all master panning process; what makes this area unique; what people want to see here in the future; over master plan foot print What we shared: How Flood defense proposal focusing on narrow-to-moderate shore line extension to achieve the master plan's goals and reflect community feed back What we got feedback on: How to make this an existing and inviting public space in the future; the width of the shoreline extension What we shared: Conceptual design that incorporates community feedback; an implementation roadmap for funding and financing What we got feedback on: feedback on the proposed design; priorities for implementation Ongoing community Engagement Covid-19 Pause Spring 2020 - Summer 2020 Phase I
Local elementary schoolers learn about flood risks in Lower manhattan at Public Open House #1 The project team virtually presents the master plan to attendees at Public Open House #4. Fall 2019 - Winter 2020
Assess existing conditions, and being key system analyses Phase II
Spring 2020 - Winter 2021
Identify constrains and opportunities across systems and develop the broadest range of potential resilience solutions Phase III
Winter 2021 - Spring 2021
Phase IV
Spring 2021 - Fall 2021
Narrow the resilience solution based technical feasibility and community and regularity feedback Develop the conceptual design and implementation roadmap
Visit our Updates page here to see what was shared at each meeting and the feedback we received.