Make NYC a sponge: Report calls for green infrastructure to protect from extreme rainfall

SI Advance: When the remnants of Hurricane Ida barreled through New York City, Staten Island saw levels of rainfall not witnessed in recent memory. Residents in parts of the borough spared from the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath now found themselves vulnerable to a different type of flooding.

A report issued last Wednesday by Rebuild by Design and One Architecture & Urbanism, entitled “Toward a Rainproof NYC,” tackled a question that is rapidly pushing its way to the forefront of the minds of people throughout the five boroughs: How can we be protected from extreme rainfall?

As global emissions continue to insidiously warm the planet and atmosphere, enabling storms to unleash more-powerful torrents of rain, the effort to mitigate flooding effects has become more pronounced, but still lacks the necessary attention to confront the extent of the crisis, said Amy Chester, managing director of Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit that works on making infrastructure more resilient to storms and climate change.

“I think last year proved that we have no time,” said Chester, referring to Ida. “Every day we don’t have a heavy rainfall, we’re kind of on borrowed time.”

The 26-page report details a list of impediments standing in the way of New York City using green and blue infrastructure on a wider scale to reduce flooding impacts and also provides recommendations to increase government efficiency.

Before taking intensive measures like expanding the city’s sewer system, a costly and time-consuming process, advocates contend green infrastructure should receive enhanced investment to offer more-immediate protection against severe storms while also providing other ancillary benefits. Read more>>