In “How De Blasio Will Transform The City,” a big takeout on the mayor elect, writers David King, Chester Soria and Cristian Salazar at our news partner Gotham Gazette, look at how Bill De Blasio will handle the issue of climate resilience policy:
Public policies surrounding resiliency to extreme weather were once considered somewhat esoteric and secondary to bread-and-butter issues like education and public safety. After Superstorm Sandy, and the pummeling the city took, this has moved to the forefront of the debate over the future of the metropolis.
During his campaign, De Blasio outlined a framework for sustainability and made it clear he would continue some of the landmark resiliency plans put forward by the Bloomberg administration in a post-storm June report.
To Dan Hendrick of the New York League of Conservation Voters, de Blasio’s commitment to the Bloomberg plans are solid. “The question becomes how much of a priority this becomes,” said Hendrick, whose organization endorsed de Blasio. “How high is this going to rank? We think pretty high … A mayor can realistically focus on a handful of things.”
Beyond prioritization, the problem comes down to money, making creative staff decision and getting commitment on resiliency from city agencies, he said.
Russell Unger, the executive director of the Urban Green Council, said regulatory changes needed to revamp building codes to ensure buildings are more resilient to extreme weather is underway but much works remains to be done.
His organization, comprised of both public and private entities, released a “roadmap” for the next mayor in May along with a coalition of labor and real estate interests that support “green building.”
Among the many recommendations, the roadmap called for the appointment of a deputy mayor for infrastructure and sustainability to coordinate resiliency planning, update school construction specs and create training operations for workers to learn sustainable building operations.
But he said the biggest challenge may be keeping policymakers’ focus on resiliency policy, saying that many of the projects that would have the biggest effect on the fabric of the metropolis would not be completed for a generation. “How do we keep people’s attention on that? How do we keep the resources in place to make that happen?” he said.
That last part about keeping the focus on resilience, by the way, is what we at AdaptNY consider our job! Read the full piece here