For the next 15 years, PlanNYC aims to make the city more sustainable, efficient, and resilient – and New Yorkers won’t soon forget about it. Yearly progress reports are helping to keep goals on track.
“A more sustainable urban city will set an example for future generations,” says Rep. Gregory Meeks. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York City has emerged more united than ever with a common goal of creating better, more resilient communities.”
The de Blasio administration recently released a comprehensive progress report on the community development, infrastructure, and climate change programs outlined in PlaNYC, continuing and expanding on the work of the Bloomberg administration. For the first time, the report included resiliency initiatives.
“A more sustainable, more resilient New York is a stronger and safer New York,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are setting a global example for an urban future.”
In March, de Blasio announced the new Office of Recovery and Resiliency. The report shows substantial early progress on resiliency efforts, which are now being led by ORR. In total, there are some 257 measures in place, including:
Making progress on the city’s first comprehensive coastal protection plan for 520 miles of coastline, including 1.2 million cubic yards of sand as beach replenishment on the Rockaway peninsula, Coney Island, and Staten Island, with another 2.9 million cubic yards on track to be placed this year
- Securing reforms to the national flood insurance program to keep insurance available and affordable for New Yorkers
- Upgrading city building code and operations to protect buildings in the floodplain against floods, wind, and prolonged power tages through 17 local laws that have passed the City Council
- Settling a multi-year rate case for electricity, steam, and natural gas to hold ConEd delivery costs flat for the coming years, while requiring the utility to make resilient investments in its facilities to protect against future extreme weather
- Expanding efforts to ensure that post-Sandy rebuilding and hazard mitigation efforts lead to economic opportunities for all New Yorkers.
- Also noteworthy is the city’s 19% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in its cleanest air in 50 years. NYC Clean Heat, a successful initiative within PlaNYC, upgraded systems in more than 3,000 buildings and cut citywide sulfur dioxide pollution by 69%, explains Andy Darrell, NY regional director of Environmental Defense Fund, a national environmental organization headquartered in the city.
- “NYC Clean Heat is a blueprint for empowering New Yorkers to lead the transition to the cleanest energy available today,” Darrell says.
The report also includes 132 updates on the city’s sustainability efforts, including:
- Accelerating energy efficiency improvements by expanding the NYC Carbon Challenge to include multifamily buildings
- Reducing citywide greenhouse gas emissions by 19% since 2005, two-thirds of the way to the goal of a 30% reduction by 2030
- Moving forward with a solar energy system that will increase the city’s renewable energy capacity by 5%, to be constructed on the former Fresh Kills landfill site on Staten Island
- Cleaning and restoring 500 brownfield sites, 70% of which are in underserved communities, which will also enable new affordable housing and create thousands of new jobs in the process
- Launching the Food Waste Challenge to divert organic waste from landfills, reducing waste by 2,500 tons in the last six months.
The full report is available at www.nyc.gov.