New York City: A Living Laboratory for Urban Resilience

It is an honor hosting more than 400 urban resilience experts from around the world in New York City this week as part of the largest convening of the 100 Resilient Cities network. Today, we’ll move the knowledge sharing from the conference room to the field as we take our colleagues on 14 immersive Living Laboratories that showcase our resilience journey across the city’s five boroughs. New York City has survived and thrived in the face of critical urban challenges and we can’t wait to share our work and continue to learn from others.

More than two years ago, New York City released the first resilience strategy by any city, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities. This strategy, OneNYC, was designed to ensure we deliver inclusive growth and climate action for all New Yorkers.

From building a dynamic urban environment that works for all families, business, and neighborhoods, to being a global leader in the fight against climate change, New York has made significant progress.

And yet, as New Yorkers, we know that building a more just, resilient, and sustainable city is a constant work in progress. Building a more resilient New York requires reaching out to communities in every corner of the city and taking a critical look at our challenges. It requires recognizing – and acting on – the connection between economic resilience and environment sustainability, and creating a shared vision that works for all New Yorkers. Our work can also help cities around the 100 Resilient Cities network – and around the world – learn and replicate solutions their individual communities critically need.

From exploring resilient food systems in the Bronx, to advancing our transportation system with the NYC Ferry in Manhattan, to seeing how we partner with the leaders in Brooklyn on building healthy and safe neighborhoods, to learning about Resilient Green Infrastructure Projects in Staten Island, to visiting an IDNYC Enrollment Center in Queens, New York City is truly a living laboratory for urban resilience.

Here are just a few of the 14 Living Laboratories we have planned. Follow @100ResCities and @NYClimate today to learn more about these diverse efforts.

Starting the Resilience Conversation from the Community Perspective

This session will focus on how we build the capacity of communities to engage in building the resilience of their place, while ensuring representation, equity, and influence of those community stakeholders involved. The session will highlight community discussions ‘in place’, exploring sea level rise and other risks presented by climate change in the low- and moderate-income coastal neighborhood of Edgemere, Queens.

Advancing Equity and Economic Opportunity

This session will explore innovative approaches to fighting poverty and advancing equity on a citywide and neighborhood scale. Utilizing New York City as a case study, we will collectively think about how resilient thinking and integrated approaches can help solve some of the most intractable problems of our time. Participants will hear about New York City’s current and past approaches to addressing poverty on a citywide scale such as OneNYC’s goal to lift 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty and near poverty, launching the nation’s largest universal pre-k system, and a centralized mayoral office that uses evidence and innovation to fight poverty. Transitioning to the neighborhood level, we will head to Brownsville, Brooklyn to hear directly from community based organizations working together to promote thriving neighborhoods. 

Food System Vulnerability

Through sight and taste, participants will experience the interconnected nature of the global food system and consider its vulnerabilities as well as examine the potential for urban intensification to buffer against these vulnerabilities. The day will also offer the opportunity for an ideas exchange amongst cities on resilient food systems.

Civic Leadership: Leveraging Partnerships to Transform the Public Realm

This session will focus both on public space and place-making initiatives as areas of the public realm where leveraging partnerships among organizations, citizens, and city government have been instrumental in the implementation of large scale projects and initiatives. We will look at examples where civic leadership transformed underutilized sites into vibrant public spaces (The High Line, Business Improvement Districts, and parks) and will also examine CreateNYC, the first ever comprehensive Cultural Plan for New York City.

Resilient Energy Systems in the Urban Context

This session will explore ways in which nature and technology can be harnessed to create, transmit, and store energy cleanly and efficiently within an urban context. We will visit sites featuring elements such as green roofs and distributed energy systems as examples of clean, green/blue and sustainable energy.