New York Flood Control Plan Takes Lessons From the Dutch

The Netherlands has a long history of flood mitigation. U.S. cities, threatened by coastal flooding and erosion, are taking note.

2 minute read

December 24, 2023, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Concrete flood control infrastructure under construction in New York City.

Placement of precast esplanade pieces in December 2023. | New York City Department of Design and Construction / East Side Coastal Resiliency

Writing in Yale’s E360, Andrew S. Lewis outlines New York City’s effort to fortify its shoreline to prevent flooding and erosion. The project, dubbed East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR), is “the largest urban resiliency project currently underway in the United States. Over the next three years, at a total cost of $1.8 billion, ESCR will reshape two-and-a-half miles of Lower Manhattan’s shoreline.”

The project is part of a “$2.7 billion initiative called the BIG U — a series of contiguous flood resilience projects that runs from Asser Levy, near 25th Street, around the southern tip of Manhattan, and up to Battery Park City, along the Hudson River. When finished, the BIG U will amount to 5.5 miles of new park space specifically designed to protect over 60,000 residents and billions of dollars in real estate against sea level rise and storm surges.”

While the project takes some lessons from flood control systems in the Netherlands,“Unlike the kind of permeable buffers championed by the Dutch, the raised park would function more like a hard barrier.” Around the country, other cities are looking to the Dutch model to shore up their own coastal defenses.

Advocates like Henk Ovink, former Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, acknowledge that “Adaptation is still lagging behind massively, and so is mitigation,” but “when it comes to the concept of living with water, the knowledge gap between governments, businesses, and local communities is gradually narrowing” as environmental threats become more apparent.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 in E360

Aeriel view of white sheep grazing on green grass between rows of solar panels.

Coming Soon to Ohio: The Largest Agrivoltaic Farm in the US

The ambitious 6,000-acre project will combine an 800-watt solar farm with crop and livestock production.

April 24, 2024 - Columbus Dispatch

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

Workers putting down asphalt on road.

U.S. Supreme Court: California's Impact Fees May Violate Takings Clause

A California property owner took El Dorado County to state court after paying a traffic impact fee he felt was exorbitant. He lost in trial court, appellate court, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Then the U.S. Supreme Court acted.

April 18, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Divvy Chicago

Divvy Introduces E-Bike Charging Docks

New, circular docks let e-bikes charge at stations, eliminating the need for frequent battery swaps.

34 minutes ago - Streetsblog Chicago

Freeway sign with "severe weather - use caution" over multilane freeway in rainy weather.

How Freeway Projects Impact Climate Resilience

In addition to displacement and public health impacts, highway expansions can also make communities less resilient to flooding and other climate-related disasters.

1 hour ago - Transportation for America

Wind turbines and solar panels against a backdrop of mountains in the Mojave Desert near Palm Springs, California

California Grid Runs on 100% Renewable Energy for Over 9 Hours

The state’s energy grid was entirely powered by clean energy for some portion of the day on 37 out of the last 45 days.

April 24 - Fast Company

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.