An essential part of NYC Parks sustainability agenda, "park resiliency" is the ability of parks and open spaces to withstand and recover from disruptive events such as coastal storms and catastrophic flooding. Resiliency also refers to these parks' ability to withstand more gradual threats, such as sea-level-rise, associated with global climate change.
Planning for the long-term resiliency of our open spaces is a primary objective of NYC Parks. In addition to approaching capital projects for individual parks with a goal of increasing resiliency, the agency oversees a number of ongoing initiatives to support citywide resiliency measures. Key projects range from the creation of overall sustainability goals for planning and design of all New York City Parks to the establishment of a unique multi-party management structure for Jamaica Bay, one of the region's most ecologically valuable, and vulnerable, areas.
For more on overall sustainability practices at NYC Parks, visit our Sustainable Parks page.
High Performance Landscape Guidelines
High Performance Landscape Guidelines is NYC Parks' comprehensive manual for the design and construction of sustainable parks and open space, created in 2010 in partnership with the Design Trust for Public Space. The best practices in this manual inform the way New York City’s parks are designed, built, and maintained, ensuring that our parks clean our air and absorb storm water, reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat, and address the challenges of climate change.
Design and Planning for the Flood Zone
Building on 2010's High Performance Landscape Guidelines, NYC Parks is developing a second manual, Design and Planning for the Flood Zone, that specifically addresses design and planning for coastal storm resiliency in parks. Drawing on lessons learned in coastal storms such as Sandy, the guidelines will address a variety of site types, from beaches and boardwalks to ballfields to salt marshes and coastal forests, as well as recommending a palate for plantings and materials in this at-risk zone. The guidelines are expected to be released in 2015.
Jamaica Bay Resiliency Planning
Jamaica Bay is a 22,000-acre wetland estuary that includes approximately 10,000 acres of parkland managed by the National Park Service and NYC Parks. Comprising an area almost equal to the size of Manhattan, the bay consists of numerous islands, a labyrinth of waterways, meadowlands, and two freshwater ponds. Enclosed by the Rockaway Peninsula and protected from the Atlantic Ocean, the region is an important ecological asset to the region, and is highly vulnerable to damage from coastal storms. The City, led by Parks, has a formal partnership agreement with the National Park Service to promote a cohesive vision for Gateway National Recreation Area and surrounding public properties that embodies an enhanced and seamless user experience offering an array of recreational and educational opportunities throughout the park. Key components of the partnership include a Wetlands Interpretive Center (currently in the conceptual planning stage), a Science & Resiliency Institute being planned in coordination with CUNY, and a General Management Plan for the park which will guide long-term decision-making over the next 20 years.
Rockaway Conceptual Plan
This neighborhood-scale conceptual plan addresses the agency's resiliency goals in the wake of Hurricane Sandy: to replace facilities lost from the storm, improve existing parks across the Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel, and create a long-term vision that enhances resiliency and community protection. The plan complements ongoing reconstruction efforts by integrating recreational facilities adjacent to the boardwalk and providing a broader vision for resilient parks and open space. The Conceptual Plan reflects extensive community input, including discussions with Rockaway and Broad Channel residents.