Watershed Moment

NYC asks architects to brace for climate change

City Terrain East Professional Practice
NYC asks architects to design for climate change. Pictured here: Breezy Point, Queens, in December 2012, a month and a half after Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast. (Courtesy USEPA)
NYC asks architects to design for climate change. Pictured here: Breezy Point, Queens, in December 2012, a month and a half after Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast. (Courtesy USEPA)

New York City architects who build or repair city-owned buildings must design with climate change in mind, per emerging guidelines.

The Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency last week issued preliminary design guidelines that ask architects and engineers to factor climbing average temperatures, cloud bursts, and—crucial for a coastal city—sea level rise projections into their designs.

It used to be that AEC professionals would consult National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather data when submitting plans for public projects to the city. Now, WNYC reports that the industry will consult New York City Panel on Climate Change’s projections, the same ones that shape the city’s resiliency planning.

The guidelines will be tested this year, and a final report will be released in December. After that, the city will decide whether to adopt the new guidelines or continue making additional changes.

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