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.

Protecting Lower Manhattan

Why Lower Manhattan?

Lower Manhattan is at the core of New York City’s transportation system, economy, and civic life. It also serves as both a destination and gateway for residents, workers, and visitors from across the city, region, and world. Millions of people travel through Lower Manhattan by rail, bus, car, and ferry every day, and people and goods flow through the area’s highways, tunnels, and bridges. With over 415,000 daily subway and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) train riders, and 93,000 daily ferry riders, Lower Manhattan provides connections across all five boroughs and to other regional centers like Midtown, Jersey City, and Downtown Brooklyn.
What happens in Lower Manhattan impacts New Yorkers in every corner of our city.

New Yorkers from every neighborhood work in Lower Manhattan, from small business owners to construction and building trade workers, to those in the healthcare, education, technology, civic, and financial sectors. As one of the largest business districts in the United States, Lower Manhattan is central to the economy of the city and region.

In recent decades, Lower Manhattan has transformed into a growing mixed-use neighborhood with 24/7 services and amenities for residents, students, workers, and visitors. Over the past two decades, the residential population has grown by 170 percent. The Lower Manhattan of today is a residential community, as well as a business district, transportation hub, and cultural destination.

Lower Manhattan is also the birthplace of New York City dating back to the 17th century. However, this area’s human history began much earlier when the Lenape people settled here over 3,000 years ago. Over the centuries, Lower Manhattan has continued to reinvent itself as part of a transforming and growing city. Today, it remains an iconic global symbol and an exemplar of dynamism and resilience in the face of change.

Slide A Critical Hub of Transportation for the City and Region Three quarters of the city’s subways, 17 ferry routes, commuter buses, and the PATH train pass through Lower Manhattan. Climate change would have devastating consequences throughout the city and region, interrupting life for residents, workers, students, and the half a million commuters that travel through Lower Manhattan every day.
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OF COMMUTERS LIVE OUTSIDE OF LOWER MANHATTAN OF LOWER MANHATTAN WORKERS COME FROM THE OTHER 4 BOROUGHS OF LOWER MANHATTAN WORKERS COME FROM OUTSIDE NYC 73% 50% 33%
Slide A Driver of the City’s Workforce and Economy Climate change threatens jobs and the city’s economy, as Lower Manhattan represents 8% of the city’s GDP and $6.5B in annual revenue. Close to 300,000 people work in Lower Manhattan, including New Yorkers from every community district across the city, and they work in finance, insurance, health care, education, architecture and engineering, media, law, retail, and more.
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1 $6.5 BILLION JOBS IN NYC IN ESTIMATED ANNUAL TAX CONTRIBUTIONS IN 2019 IN ANNUAL GDP (8% OF THE CITY'S TOTAL) $74 BILLION 10 in
Slide A Center of Culture, Community, and Civic Life Lower Manhattan is more than a business district, with a residential community that has tripled in the past two decades, tens of thousands of students, and millions of visitors every year. The area is also a center of civic and cultural life. Climate change could disrupt daily life and force Lower Manhattan’s residents, as well educational and cultural institutions, to find a new home.
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RESIDENTS STUDENTS 62k 23k 2000 2020 STUDENTS 55,000 170% 21 INCREASE IN RESIDENTS IN LOWER MANHATTAN HIGHER LEARNING INSTITUTIONS
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Why a Climate Resilience Plan?

Lower Manhattan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its low-lying shoreline, which is why the City is advancing over $900 million in capital projects to protect this area. In 2019, the City released the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study, a comprehensive multi-hazard climate risk assessment, highlighting the vulnerabilities of the area. The report identified capital projects to adapt and protect 70 percent of Lower Manhattan’s shoreline but found the areas between The Battery and the Brooklyn Bridge particularly challenging and in need of further study. This included examining the need to extend the shoreline of Lower Manhattan into the East River to construct flood defense infrastructure. This master plan sets out to fill this critical gap in realizing a resilient Lower Manhattan. Combined, these capital projects along with the master plan comprise the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) strategy.

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Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) is the City’s strategy to adapt Lower Manhattan to climate change for this generation and the next. The City released the LMCR study in March 2019; it was the most comprehensive assessment to date of the area’s climate risks.

Because of Lower Manhattan’s vulnerabilities, the City is taking action now—investing $500 million to protect workers, residents, businesses, schools, critical infrastructure and more across 70% of Lower Manhattan’s coastline. For each project, the resiliency strategy and design of flood protection infrastructure is tailored to the neighborhood’s unique context and flood risk.

The City is working to identify the right resiliency projects for the Financial District (“FiDi”) and South Street Seaport (the “Seaport”) neighborhoods. While there are interim flood protection measures in place for a section of the area, they are short-term solutions. The area’s low-lying topography, dense infrastructure, and complex waterfront and maritime uses make it particularly challenging to adapt for the long-term.

To respond to this challenge, we are advancing the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan.

Learn More About Each of the LMCR Projects:

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Montgomery Coastal Resilience
  2. Battery Park City Coastal Resiliency
  3. The Battery Coastal Resiliency
Brooklyn Bridge to The Battery is a missing link in realizing a resilient Lower Manhattan.

Battery Park City Coastal Resilience Projects

Lead: Battery Park City Authority (BPCA)
This includes a series of resilience projects and drainage improvements to provide flood risk reduction for Battery Park City and parts of adjacent neighborhoods in response to the threats of coastal storm surge and sea level rise.
Project Cost: $221 million (South BPC); $630 million (North/West BPC)

The Battery Coastal Resilience

Lead: New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Parks
This project will raise and harden the esplanade that runs along The Battery, protecting this important open space while preserving its historic character and active waterfront uses. The flood defense will be designed to protect against sea level rise through 2100.
Project Cost: $165 million

Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR)

Lead: NYCEDC, NYC Department of Design and Construction
This project combines permanent floodwalls with floodgates that are hidden during normal weather conditions and flip-up during a coastal storm to create a complete line of flood protection. This project also includes drainage improvements and community amenities, such as playgrounds, benches, and seating.
Project Cost: $522 million

Seaport Coastal Resilience (SPCR)

Lead: NYCEDC, Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR)
The City is acting now to protect the Seaport, which is the lowest-lying and most vulnerable portion of the master plan’s study area. The project will raise the esplanade approximately three to five feet to defend against tidal flooding and coastal storms and includes drainage improvements. The project will also improve waterfront access for pedestrians and cyclists. The City is seeking federal funding to complement the City’s commitment. 
Project Cost: $110 million

What Makes Constructing this Infrastructure on Land so Challenging?

The Financial District and South Street Seaport (Seaport) neighborhoods are unique within the geography of Lower Manhattan, facing unprecedented challenges to implementing a flood defense system. Along this one-mile stretch, a complex mix of infrastructure—subway tunnels and stations, vehicular tunnels, subsurface utilities, and an elevated highway—limit what can be built on existing land. Combined with limited space along the waterfront, in addition to the presence of active ferries, vessel traffic, and other maritime operations, constructing a flood defense system here is a monumental challenge. This area is also low-lying and experiences larger waves during coastal storms compared to neighboring areas, further limiting the types of flood defense infrastructure that can provide protection.
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Other neighborhoods – like the Lower East Side – have wide-open spaces that can accommodate coastal flood protection infrastructure. 
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By contrast, space is significantly more limited along the shoreline in the Financial District and Seaport. 

Solving this challenge is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a better waterfront for all, while preserving the essential functions and historic character of the area. This master plan knits flood defense into the fabric of these neighborhoods, overcomes highly complex technical constraints, and envisions a transformed public waterfront for all to enjoy.

What Is the City Doing in Other Neighborhoods?

The City has invested more than $20 billion in climate resiliency to-date and major projects are ongoing in all five boroughs. For more information, visit the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency website.

What Does Lower Manhattan Mean to You?

Here's what we heard from you!
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FIDI Lower Manhattan has been my home for 42 years and it needs protection from climate change danger. Super Storm Sandy was a wake up call and to date there are no plans to remediate the problem. A resiliency park on an empty lot could be used as part of the solution.

-Linda Roche
There\'s a growing residential populations here who need more amenities - open space, grocery stores, etc.

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When I worked in Lower Manhattan, I appreciated the easy access by bike, subway, or ferry.

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Lower Manhattan feels like the birth place of America to me. Every time I\'m down there and see the World Trade Center and Statue of Liberty I\'m reminded of special this place is and how much it means to the City and beyond.

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FiDi and the Seaport are where I work so I\'ve mostly experienced these neighborhoods as a commuter. But, they do play an important role for all New Yorkers as transportation and cultural hubs in the region because of where they\'re sited in the harbor: I use ferries to go to beaches, Staten Island, Governors Island, and other waterfront neighborhoods in the city all throughout the year. Restoring the harbor, remembering our maritime history, and creating a culture of dynamic use of space on land and water should be crucial elements to our resiliency plans for Lower Manhattan.

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Water will find its way around and through any barriers you build, so its time to learn to live with it. Stop with the idea of land fill as a solution. Seaport City is an absurd waste of resources - put that effort into shoring up our infrastructure - our water, sewer, underground wiring/cabling ; stop allowing enormous towers along the waterfront which will drain resources in emergencies, apart from adding to quality of life issues for everyone around such structures. For existing buildings in the flood plain, promote redesign and retrofitting of street level spaces for uses that can maintain a active street environment while also being able to quickly pull back to “higher ground/safer space” to ride out an emergency. Water is our enemy only if we see it that way.

-J Gorman

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