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Confronting the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world threatened by climate change requires expanding on the traditional influence and capabilities of architects, landscape architects, and urbanists. Climate science, natural systems, and compact urban forms must be integrated to configure dynamic, desirable, and healthy communities. Global climate challenges are major threats to modern cities, and New York City in particular will be affected in many ways. By 2050, the average temperature in New York is expected to increase by 4.1°F (New York City Panel on Climate Change). This will greatly impact the city’s residents, who will face longer and more frequent heat waves as well as an increase in the number of heat-related deaths. At the same time, sea level is projected to rise by 11 to 24 inches, making coastal floods and storms more violent and inflicting major stress on infrastructure and populations.

The program’s panel members will draw from their contributions to the publication Climate Change and Cities (Cambridge University Press, 2017) by the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), and to the recent publication Climate Resiliency Design Guideline by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Case studies and evidence-based factors will be used as tools to assess ways of mitigating the impact of climate change in New York City.

The panel will argue for prioritizing cost-effective planning and design measures that help mitigate emissions while enhancing adaptive benefits. They will show that embedding climate change in planning and urban design delivers co-benefits across multiple sectors and spatial scales. Doing so makes it possible to design people-centered public spaces that enhance energy efficiency, improve public health and quality of life, and create social resiliency.

The point of the panel is to bridge science and urban design practice and to endorse the potential for urban design workshops to conceive climate-embedded prototypes for implementation at the urban district scale.

Organized by: AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee and ASLA-NY.

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