Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines Version 4.0
New York City (NYC) faces challenges resulting from a rapidly changing climate. Many capital projects, including infrastructure, landscapes, and buildings (“facilities”), will experience flooding, precipitation, and heat events.1 Over the 21st century, the intensity and severity of these events will increase. Further, increasing global average annual temperatures will exacerbate sea level rise. With 520 miles of coastline across its five boroughs, several low-lying locations across the City will experience monthly tidal inundation that results from higher seas.
The Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines (“the Guidelines”) provide step-by-step instructions to go beyond building code and standards, which are informed with historic climate data, by also looking to specific, forward-looking climate data for use in the design of City facilities.
The primary goal of the Guidelines is to incorporate forward-looking climate
change data in the design of City capital projects. Codes and standards that
regulate the design of facilities already incorporate historic weather data to determine how to design for today’s conditions. However, historic data does not accurately represent the projected severity and frequency of future storms, sea level rise, heat waves, and precipitation.
The climate is already changing and will continue to change in significant ways over the full useful life of facilities designed today, threatening to undermine capital investments and impede critical services if they are not designed for future conditions. Future versions of the Guidelines will explore additional climate stressors as science evolves in coordination with the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). The Guidelines complement the use of historic data in existing codes and standards by providing a consistent methodology for engineers, architects, landscape architects, and planners to design facilities that are resilient to changing climate conditions.
The Guidelines are to be used throughout the design process—during project scoping and planning initiation, as a reference in requests for proposals (RFPs), during the preliminary design or study phase, through to final design—for all new construction and substantial improvements of City facilities. A successful resilient design is one that meets these Guidelines, provides co-beneficial outcomes, reduces costs over the life of the asset wherever possible, and avoids negative.