Climate Change Isn't Coming, It's Here
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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