As readers of the 2020 book, RECONOMICS: The Path To Resilient Prosperity know, regeneration of our natural, built and socioeconomic assets is the key to building real resilience.
So it was good news when, on June 18, 2021, global design firm Arcadis—which employs 27,000 people and is active in more than 70 countries—announced its partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to launch a $53 million program designed to engage property owners across the city with resilience-boosting measures that will help revitalize local and regional environmental health.
Spanning all five boroughs and targeting properties over 50,000 square feet, the program will seek out private properties with large, impervious areas and offer funding, guidance and installation of green infrastructure practices.
In addition to greening the city, green infrastructure helps reduce and manage stormwater runoff and provides urban heat island reduction, healthier air and habitats for birds and pollinators.
“If you own a larger property in New York City, we will be coming to your door to offer funding and assistance to help upgrade your on-site drainage system and allow you to contribute to a greener and more livable New York City,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.
“This is the largest incentive program in the region, and it is a demonstration of our commitment to better manage stormwater generated from private properties across the five boroughs,” he added.
As large cities around the world grapple with increasing populations, inequalities and budget constraints, creative funding approaches that tackle city-wide regeneration are critical to long-term social, environmental and economic resilience.
With more than 70% of the city covered in impervious surfaces, installing green infrastructure city-wide will significantly reduce stormwater runoff and in turn, improve the health of surrounding rivers and harbors.
“Globally, people are eager for opportunities to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and we are thrilled to partner with DEP to help make that happen in New York City,” said John McCarthy, president of Arcadis’ water business in North America.
“This project reflects an innovative approach to stormwater management that will improve how New Yorkers experience water, adapt to climate change and provide lasting environmental benefits to the waterways that have shaped the city for generations,” he continued.
Over the past 15 years DEP has invested approximately $16 billion to upgrade and improve the city’s wastewater system and reduce sewer overflows. As a result, New York Harbor is cleaner and healthier today than it has been since the Civil War.