On October 3rd, NYC Soil & Water Conservation District took green infrastructure practitioners, city agency representatives, and advocates on a green infrastructure tour in Hoboken NJ. This year’s tour included a bike option, and we had over a dozen participants join the tour using Hoboken’s bike share program, Hudson Bike Share.
One of the most exciting stops on our tour was the Southwest Resiliency Park, which is the first of three stormwater parks that are being built to meet the neighborhood’s needs while taking on stormwater from the surrounding area. The design for the park was developed through several community engagement meetings, where city planners asked neighborhood residents what they wanted to see happen on this former parking lot. The park now features a dog park, multi-purpose lawn, and passive recreational space. In addition to rain gardens and bioswales that collect water from the surrounding streets and trees planted in cellular modules to maximize stormwater capture capacity, beneath the park are three stormwater basins that can hold up to 71,000 gallons of water. Next the city is developing the Northwest Resiliency Park on a former brownfield site, and a private developer is building a resiliency park as part of a residential development.
Earlier this week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that revealed that the dire impacts and threats of climate change are happening at a much quicker rate than previously thought. As a second major hurricane barrels down in the Southeast United States this season, and countless international climate disasters are in the news every week, climate change is becoming more urgent, especially for coastal cities like New York.
Replacing our concrete surfaces for more green infrastructure and natural systems is a great way to address climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation. Vegetation throughout our cities take in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, as well as other air pollutants. Green roofs and street trees are also proven to reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer, reducing our demand for fossil fuel energy. In terms of adaptation, soft shorelines with layers of vegetation help block wind and wave energy, protecting communities along the coast. These green infrastructure systems are often less costly and much less resource-intensive than their grey infrastructure alternatives (such as stormwater tanks and metal bulkheads).
If recent climate change news has you thinking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, such as using less electricity and driving less, also consider adding green infrastructure to your home and advocating in your community for more street trees and vegetated swales. If you own your home or a business, check out our green infrastructure guide for private property owners.
NYC Soil & Water Conservation District is seeking an IT consultant for a CSO public outreach project. The Request for Proposal is found here.
We believe this project is perfect for a graduate student with IT knowledge.
The project partners are Riverkeeper and the SWIM Coalition.
Join the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District on Wednesday October 3rd for our annual Green Infrastructure tour. This year, for the first time, we're going to Hoboken and touring by bicycle! Hoboken has small streets and great bicycle infrastructure, so touring by bike is an ideal way to see sites throughout the city! For those that do not wish to bike, you have the option to join us by van, but seats are very limited. We will meet at 8:45am (at the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal for cyclists, at the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District for the van), and will finish by 5pm.
Tour stops include:
Tickets are $5 and include lunch! Get your tickets at:
As cities across the country look more and more to investing in widespread green infrastructure, they must explore innovative ways to finance these new techniques. Traditionally, major grey infrastructure projects such as tanks and tunnels are paid for through a municipal bond, which the municipality will pay off over time through revenue generated through the water bill (in NYC’s case) or taxes. Environmental Impact Bonds (EIB) differ from municipal bonds as they use a “Pay for Success” approach, sharing performance risks with private investors. DC was the first city to trial an EIB last year. The tax-exempt bond finances DC to pilot green infrastructure projects, with an interest rate dependent on the performance of the green infrastructure project.
Building from DC’s model, Quantified Ventures launched a competition with Rockefeller Foundation and Neighborly to issue EIBs in two more US cities. Atlanta is the first to win this competition, funding eight green infrastructure projects for a total of $12.9 million. Baltimore is now looking to do the same. It will be a few years before we see the performance results in DC, and cannot yet measure the success of EIBs to fund green infrastructure projects. However, exploring innovative financing mechanisms for green infrastructure projects is an important measure to entice investors and quantify community and environmental benefits of green infrastructure.
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