In Battery Park City, Public Infrastructure Meets Climate Resilience

A massive project underway in Lower Manhattan seeks to protect the shoreline from future flooding and mitigate the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

2 minute read

August 1, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Rendering of tiered park with trees and benches at Battery Place

South Battery Park City Resiliency Project / Rendering of Battery Place

Writing in Bloomberg CityLab, Patrick Sisson reports on efforts to protect Battery Park City from catastrophic flooding like the kind that devastated parts of New York during Hurricane Sandy. As Sisson writes, local residents want authorities to remember that “amid the high-rises, there’s a real neighborhood here in this low-lying area at the southern tip of Manhattan, with roughly 16,000 full-time residents and its own Little League.”

Now, the Battery Park City Resiliency Project is working to prevent similar floods and bolster the coastline against future threats. “With global design firm AECOM working as lead architect and engineer, the project amounts to a wholesale reconstruction of the already artificial Battery Park City — 92 acres created from soil and rock dug during the construction of the World Trade Center.”

The project is part of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency plan, a broader effort to protect the city in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The article describes the various approaches that will be taken to address flood risks in different areas of the shoreline, with many of them doubling as public parks and amenities. Some areas will be protected by flood walls, while others will be built to withstand flooding with water-resistant materials and plants that can survive being submerged.

“The project is a rare exception, in many ways. The Battery Park City Authority can leverage bond funding and coordinate the endeavor in ways other local government entities can’t. It’s an example of an empowered local government entity in a wealthy neighborhood tackling rising water with immense financial resources.” But while not all communities may have the resources the Battery Park City Authority does, the project holds lessons for other climate resilience projects. “Ideally, [Thad Pawlowski, a professor and managing director at Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes] sees this raising the standard, and helping other neighborhoods — such as Red Hook in Brooklyn or Hunt’s Point in the Bronx, which don’t have Battery Park City’s resources and face some of the highest risks from climate change — demand and receive more.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2022 in Bloomberg CityLab

Large blank mall building with only two cars in large parking lot.

Pennsylvania Mall Conversion Bill Passes House

If passed, the bill would promote the adaptive reuse of defunct commercial buildings.

April 18, 2024 - Central Penn Business Journal

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

A view straight down LaSalle Street, lined by high-rise buildings with an El line running horizontally over the street.

Chicago to Turn High-Rise Offices into Housing

Four commercial buildings in the Chicago Loop have been approved for redevelopment into housing in a bid to revitalize the city’s downtown post-pandemic.

April 10, 2024 - Chicago Construction News

Purple jacaranda trees in bloom in Los Angeles with tall white Art Deco buildings in background.

LA County Releases Draft Community Forest Management Plan

LA County's Chief Sustainability Office just released the discussion draft of Room to Grow, the first Community Forest Management Plan for the county.

2 hours ago - Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office

Aerial view of downtown Seattle, Washington at dusk.

Seattle Downtown Plan Expands Permitted Uses

The Downtown Activation Plan shifts from Euclidean to form-based zoning to encourage more commercial development.

4 hours ago - Governing

Large water pipe with brown water pouring out into dirt ditch.

Southern Water Infrastructure at Risk From Climate Impacts

A water main breaks somewhere in the United States every two minutes, according to an estimate from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

6 hours ago - The Conversation

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.