The comprehensive 438-page report, unveiled last week, represents the most significant series of forward-thinking initiatives and concrete proposals since Sandy. It builds on new data, also released recently by the Mayor’s office, which warns that New Yorkers will face even hotter summers, more rainfall, and more frequent major storm events. The plan, A Stronger More Resilient New York, will dictate how NYC prepares for flooding and storm surges moving forward, including challenges related to buildings, economic recovery, community preparedness, insurance, utilities, telecommunications, healthcare, transportation, and parks (pdf).
The parks chapter omits Freshkills Park specifically (Freshkills is not yet mapped as parkland), though the site’s protective attributes – its mounds and wetlands – were well recorded post-Sandy. Wetlands in particular are thoroughly extolled for their flood mitigation capabilities. Building on the critical importance of areas like Jamaica Bay, the report outlines new initiatives to support coastal ecosystems and reintroduce improved natural barriers to many sections of the 520-mile NYC coastline.
“Wetlands, streams, forests and other natural areas offer substantial sustainability and resiliency benefits. The protection and restoration of these natural areas is, therefore, of critical importance.”
Within the 16 schemes in the parks chapter, wetland restoration complements other proposals that will design new bulkheads, fortify existing piers, and relocate vulnerable infrastructure, among many other initiatives.
Freshkills Park just received a great write-up in the New York Times! The piece, available in print today and online here, written by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, emphasizes the Park’s role in buffering surrounding communities from the impact of Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge. As a site still in-progress, Freshkills Park is already proving itself to be an important asset for local Staten Islanders, and for New Yorkers in general.
The article is accompanied by a great seven-minute video that features Freshkills Park Administrator Eloise Hirsh touring the site with Kimmelman. The video tour provides an opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.