Resilience Research and Policy

Resilient Infrastructure Fund for New York State

Rebuild by Design’s Resilient Infrastructure Advisory Group has authored a report that calls for the creation of a “Resilient Infrastructure Fund” to address the physical and social vulnerabilities exposed by increased flooding in New York State.

The new study finds that since the beginning of 2011, every county in New York State has had disaster declarations due to flooding—and 50 percent of counties have been inundated more than five times. Disaster declarations for these 19 events totaled $37 billion in state and federal aid for recovery efforts. With ninety percent of New York State’s population residing in waterfront communities, communities from Niagara County to Staten Island are experiencing the social and physical disruptions that flooding leaves behind. According to NYSERDA, by mid-century economic impacts from climate change in New York state will cost $10 billion annually.

In addition to providing funds to reduce flood risk to transportation and other critical infrastructure, housing, and main streets, the report also outlines ways in which the infrastructure can and should maximize benefits to ecology, public health, and social resilience. The proposed program also supports comprehensive planning to ensure that communities understand their long-term risks so they can direct growth to higher ground and support a comprehensive buy-out program for those areas which we cannot protect and instead need to move out of harms’ way.

Read the full report here (source).

© Buro Happold | Rebuild by Design

Building Bridges: A Community-Based Stewardship Study for an Equitable East River Park

The long-term maintenance of parks is a challenge in New York City, just as in many other cities around the world.

To respond to this challenge, Rebuild by Design and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) issued a Request for Proposals in mid-July of 2018 to select a consultant team to write a report identifying precedent park stewardship structures that depart from the typical “conservancy” mode in New York City or the U.S.

With input from a group of neighborhood leaders, including representatives from community boards three and six, Rebuild by Design selected The Trust for Public Land and James Lima Planning + Development in September 2018 to prepare a parks stewardship study. The recommended model is community-oriented and designed to avoid or mitigate externalities that can arise from non-governmental stewardship models such as gentrification, privatization of park resources, and amenities that lack affordability.

Rebuild hopes that the community will find the recommendations in this report useful, and that East River Park will have an equitable stewardship structure that the community can celebrate.

Read the full "Building Bridges" report here (source). Visit the GOLES website.

© Rebuild by Design

Safer and Stronger Cities: Advocating for Federal Resilience Policy

Mayors from Los Angeles to Miami, New Orleans to Washington DC joined 100 Resilient Cities, Rebuild by Design, and Enterprise Community Partners to call for the federal government to adopt the policy recommendations in “Safer and Stronger Cities”.

The report comes after a year of unprecedented challenges with many cities still recovering from natural disasters and defending against long-term stresses. The recommendations focus on infrastructure, housing, flood insurance, economic development, and public safety.

Read the full "Safer and Stronger Cities" report and recommendations here(source).

© Rebuild by Design

Research by NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge

Rebuild by Design surveyed residents in the storm affected communities after Hurricane Sandy and asked about the key factors that drove residents’ decisions to stay or leave their neighborhood.

As communities struggle to clean up and rebuild, the topic of relocation is often assumed to be taboo and politically fraught. However, more research is showing that voluntary, community-driven relocation can contribute to recovery for residents. Residents in communities that successfully organized for buyouts appear to have benefited psychologically.

View the full findings here(source).

© New York Times | Rebuild by Design

“Restore Mother Nature” Bond Act

The “Restore Mother Nature” Bond Act is an initiative developed by Rebuild by Design’s Resilient Infrastructure Advisory group to support innovative, data-driven, and community-led approaches to address flooding throughout New York State.

The Act creates a new Resilient Infrastructure Fund coupled with a program that leads communities through a process to uncover their specific vulnerabilities to address flooding as well as other climate hazards such as heat, wind, and drought. It will enable investment in priority projects from the regional/ systems scale to individual and community actions and marry social and physical resilience.

This initiative could create thousands of jobs, seed a new industry, and align diverse interests—such as environmental groups, business, labor, and government—to take action to prepare for increased flooding while enhancing communities’ quality of life and economic outcomes across New York State.

The New York State Legislature adopted the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act (also called the Environmental Bond Act) in its 2021 State Budget passed on April 2, 2020. The Act allocates a minimum of $1 billion toward flood risk management, $550 million to water quality projects, $550 million to open space, conservation and recreation, and $700 million to climate change mitigation. As a final step, voters will need to approve the $3 billion authorization in November 2020.

Read more on the Rebuild by Design website (source).

© TIMESUNION | Rebuild by Design