Vision 4 Goal


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Since the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, the City has been leading efforts to adapt New York City’s existing building stock to evolving climate risks through a multilayered approach, including: upgrading physical systems in 1- to 4-family homes and multifamily buildings; changing zoning and land use policy; working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to produce more accurate maps; and educating building owners about climate risk and mitigation options.


IndicatorIncrease the number of flood insurance policies in across the cityIncrease the square footage of buildings upgraded against flood riskIncrease the number of elevated homes in the Build It Back program
Latest Data55,000
Previous Data55,700

Build It Back: Helping 32,100 households rebuild after Hurricane Sandy


New York City is nearing the completion of the Build It Back program, prioritizing homeowners, tenants, and waterfront communities—ensuring that these New Yorkers have the resources necessary to recover and make their homes and communities more resilient. Build It Back is helping 8,300 homeowners and landlords of 1-4 unit homes, housing a total of 12,500 families. The program has started construction, reimbursement of repairs or acquisition for 99 percent (8,266) of these homeowners, up from 44 percent (3,644) in April 2015.

Build It Back has completed 4,541 construction projects, up from 567 in April 2015. Build It Back has assisted an additional 7,300 multifamily households since 2015, with more than 19,600 total assisted to date, and completed 80% of the development pipeline (115 total). Of the 143 developments in the pipeline, 32 developments, or over 9,000 units, have received resiliency measures, which may include elevating utilities; adding back-up power generation; implementing energy-efficient measures; implementing dry and wet flood-proofing measures; and improving storm water management systems.

Continuing to invest in the resiliency of public housing


The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is moving with urgency on 33 critical recovery and resiliency projects with more than 27 major Sandy recovery projects underway, executing over $3 billion in recovery and resiliency work. More than 750 new jobs have been created as part of this work, including over 350 filled by NYCHA residents. As of the end of 2017, NYCHA has spent over $730 million on its Sandy recovery program and anticipates spending and construction activities to continue to grow in 2018.

Promoted building upgrades in the floodplain


For homeowners and building owners in the city’s floodplain, mitigating risk by elevating properties can be especially challenging and can be complicated by regulatory barriers. Recognizing this, after Sandy the Department of City Planning (DCP) put in place temporary special zoning regulations in the floodplain to remove zoning hurdles and encourage flood-resilient building construction. Since then, DCP has been working to continually improve these regulations in ways that respond to local conditions and take into account future climate change. In 2017, DCP worked with communities and local leaders to establish Special Coastal Risk Districts to place limits on future development in the highly vulnerable areas of the Staten Island State Buyout Areas and in Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel, Queens. Now, DCP is working to update the citywide Flood Resilience Zoning rules to provide a permanent set of forward-looking rules for development in the floodplain. Over the past year, DCP has engaged over 2,500 New Yorkers at over 100 community events to inform this update, learning from their experiences and challenges, and collaborating to generate potential solutions.

To learn more about this work and to view the reports, online map, and animated video, visit:

Lobbied to improve the accuracy of critical flooding data and insurance rate maps


In December 2017, FEMA Region II launched a new coastal analysis for New York and New Jersey that will result in new Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the region. Current and accurate FIRMs are essential because the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) uses FEMA FIRMs to determine flood insurance requirements, affecting nearly half a million New Yorkers living in the city’s floodplain. The FEMA analysis will update the previous study as a result of New York City’s successful appeal of the 2015 Preliminary FIRMs and will provide more accurate data around flood risk and flood insurance. In addition to the FIRMs, FEMA and the City will work together to develop a first-of-its-kind climate-smart flood map product that will incorporate the growing risk of climate change and sea level rise. New Preliminary FIRMs are expected in 2021, and the City will conduct outreach and education to coastal communities when the new maps are released.