Addressing the risk of rising sea levels, New York City implemented its Raise Shorelines Citywide project, which, through a comprehensive analysis of its coastlines, is protecting inhabitants and their livelihoods.

The Challenge

Between 1900 and 2000, sea levels in New York Harbor rose by an average of just over two and a half centimeters per decade, about twice the global average, with projections showing these trends will continue or accelerate. As part of Raise Shorelines Citywide, New York City is working proactively to secure critical assets, infrastructure, and neighborhoods, addressing the risks presented by sea level rise.

The Solution

Raise Shorelines Citywide began in 2014, a project specifically designed to address sea level rise rather than storm surge. New York City is identifying vulnerable shorelines with comprehensive and detailed analyses, including data on daily high tide inundation, calculated using localized sea level rise projections from the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) and a wave atlas produced specifically for this project. Using the 90th percentile of projections for the 2050s produced by NPCC, projects were identified that will fortify vulnerable stretches of shoreline to prevent inundation of buildings and infrastructure in a future where the highest average level of the New York Harbor could rise by 81 cm. Analysis of New York City’s more than 965 km of shoreline led to the selection of 15 projects that will make the city’s coastline more resilient to the risks posed by sea level rise.

Environmental Benefits – The project will provide at least $2.5 million in ecological benefits, creating or improving access to 14 hectares of public space.

Social Benefits – Aware of the need for social equity, at least 30 % of new hires for the construction of these projects will be low-income individuals.

Economic Benefits – Raise Shorelines Citywide will protect at least 65 businesses from flooding, preserving over $15 million in revenue.

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
1,700 houses will be protected from inundation through Raise Shorelines Citywide
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