To develop Rainproof NYC principles, Working Group participants were asked to to craft principles that reflected their most important aspects of how NYC should become Rainrpoof. The public was then asked to add their perspectives as a New Yorkers.

Together, that feedback became a comprehensive list of guiding principles to how the City should work towards becoming Rainproof NYC. 



Prioritize the needs, access, and voices of historically marginalized communities, ensuring they have decision-making power and ownership over rainproof policies and initiatives. 

Recognize & Understand Intersectional Challenges: Recognize and address systemic inequities, including historical injustices, systemic racism, and the legacy of colonialism. Develop solutions that recognize the intersecting factors that contribute to vulnerability and inequity by considering race, ethnicity, gender identity, socio-economic status, and age in decision-making processes and policy development.




Create avenues to foster collaborative partnerships across sectors, acknowledging the expertise, experiences, and contributions of each stakeholder group including private, public, and community stakeholders. 

Create & uphold cross-sector collaboration among different stakeholders, including activists, community organizations, elected officials, government agencies, the private sector, educational institutions, and community organizations, as equal partners in developing and implementing rainproof initiatives.



Prioritize sustainable and nature-based infrastructure solutions that prioritize green over gray infrastructure, promote co-benefits, and amplify natural ecosystems.



Ensure long-term success and resilience of rainproof infrastructure by prioritizing bold, visionary approaches and providing support and resources for maintenance and stewardship, including education and ownership initiatives.

Maintain a balance between transformative, long-term goals and short-term adaptive approaches to address immediate needs without losing sight of broader objectives.



Establish clear accountability mechanisms (including metrics for success), transparent decision-making processes, and ongoing community feedback loops to ensure accountability and track progress effectively.

  • Build agency and ownership at all scales – from the individual resident or homeowner to leadership in City government – by identifying responsibilities, valuing work, and expanding decision-making processes.
  • Prioritize transparency in planning and decision-making processes. 
  • Be honest and transparent about limitations and challenges.



  • Address intersectionalities by building a better understanding of the specific impacts of increasing heavy rainfall on groups such as the disabled, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and others.
  • Prioritize the most impacted communities in decision-making processes and balance placing unfair burdens or expectations on already marginalized communities.
    • Recognize community members for their expertise and provide support to community groups for project planning, implementation, and maintenance.
    • Adapt strategies, approaches, and solutions based on community feedback and evolving climate data.
    • Ensure equitable access to maintaining infrastructure and provide funding and support to community groups for maintenance, stewardship, and workforce development.
  • Implement solutions that adapt to the unique needs and characteristics of different communities, recognizing the diverse challenges posed by stormwater management in NYC.
  • Create policies and initiatives that aim to rectify these injustices and ensure fair distribution of resources and benefits.
  • Ensure equitable access to information, resources, funding, and programs for all communities, including language-specific outreach and visual communication methods and considerations. 
  • Integrate accessibility considerations (i.e. language, physical and mental access, etc.) into infrastructure planning.
  • Ensure that incentives for rainproofing measures are accessible to all, prioritizing frontline communities. Provide transparent support and financial assistance programs, including grants, loans, and subsidies, for installing rainproof infrastructure, retrofitting housing, and integrating climate resilience into new projects.


  • Promote innovation in green infrastructure technologies and practices.
  • Prioritize holistic, nature-forward strategies that mimic natural processes, considering the interconnectedness of infrastructure, environment, and community well-being, to manage stormwater effectively.
  • Prioritize green space development in historically underserved areas to address environmental inequities.
  • Integrate a multi-benefit and nature-forward framework into all aspects of housing policy and land use planning. Rezonings should prioritize green infrastructure alongside affordable housing developments to mitigate environmental impacts and ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Prioritize the restoration of natural habitats and historic water pathways to improve biodiversity and ecological resilience.
  • Consider soil health, groundwater dynamics, and other ecological factors in the planning and development processes of new infrastructure projects, and new infrastructure and land use decisions.

institutionalizing COLLABORATION: 

  • Create mechanisms to gather input from the private sector and establish clear goals and timelines with key stakeholders. 
  • Facilitate knowledge exchange between stakeholders.Institutionalize interagency collaboration by establishing permanent interdisciplinary groups that meet regularly to address rainproof issues. Integrate communication and workflow by establishing shared communication platforms and workflow channels across relevant city agencies to facilitate collaboration and information sharing.
  • Coordinate efforts regionally to leverage resources and expertise, particularly in areas with shared vulnerabilities.
  • Engage the public through education and outreach efforts to promote the benefits of nature-based solutions.


  • Build agency and ownership at all scales – from the individual resident or homeowner to leadership in City government – by identifying responsibilities, valuing work, and expanding decision-making processes.
  • Establish clear guidelines and regulations for rainproofing initiatives, including clear timelines and deadlines for progress reports and milestones, to ensure accountability for implementation and compliance. 
  • Prioritize transparency in planning and decision-making processes by providing public data on initiative progress, initiative owners, the disposition of funds and buyouts, etc. and creating opportunities to provide public input and feedback including difficult questions. 
  • Managing Expectations: Be honest and transparent about limitations and challenges.  Develop flexible and adaptive planning frameworks to address the nuance and uncertainty of changing environmental conditions.


  • Create avenues for active participation of different communities and stakeholders to foster a culture of environmental stewardship including encouraging sustainable development practices that minimize environmental impact, reduce reliance on non-renewable resources, and promote long-term ecological health.
  • Establish sustainable funding mechanisms and long-term financial support systems to ensure the ongoing maintenance and effectiveness of rainproof infrastructure, prioritizing resilience and sustainability.
  • Build on active efforts by incorporating existing best practices and lessons learned from within and outside NYCs.
  • Commit to long-term, sustainable strategies that address both immediate needs and future challenges, while continuously adapting to evolving circumstances and community feedback including incentives for post-disaster recovery and short-term support for local needs. 
  • Continuously evaluate and adapt rainproofing strategies based on scientific research, community feedback, and changing environmental conditions.