To prepare New York City for increased heavy rain, Rebuild by Design, One Architecture & Urbanism, the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Housing and Recovery Operations, and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection are launching an open call for individuals and organizations to participate in the Rainproof NYC Working Groups. The working groups, co-facilitated and composed of NYC agency staff and community leaders, will meet regularly from January through June to identify and recommend strategies and policies to adapt to increased heavy rainfall.

We are looking for community leaders who have a diversity of experiences and backgrounds to take part in these working groups.

Applications are due on December 11, 2023 and selected participants will be notified on or around December 19. 

Image credit: Sugar Pond via Wikicommons


ADAPT TO LIVING WITH WATER by using the output from the symposium to inform a collaborative process to design programs, policies, or projects and an actionable and implementable agenda to catalyze New York City’s work forward to address increasing heavy rainfall.

UTILIZE STAKEHOLDER INPUT, expert advice, and best practices from other localities to inform programmatic components.


CREATE A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING of the intersection of increasing rainfall with climate justice, adaptation, housing, economic impacts, mental health, and social resilience, and a deeper understanding of local challenges and existing and new programmatic solutions.

CREATE A REPLICABLE MODEL of community and government collaboration in policy design



WORKING GROUP 1: How can we shift NYC’s policies and priorities to create a comprehensive plan to prepare for increasing rainfall? Address gaps in infrastructure and risk management to protect from and prepare New Yorkers for more intense precipitation.

WORKING GROUP 2: What does an equitable buyout program look like for New York City? Inform the development of the City’s Housing Mobility & Land Acquisition Program.

WORKING GROUP 3: How can we build capacity among communities, the private sector, and CBO’s to share responsibility of managing increased heavy rainfall? Every drop counts. Build out an education and communications campaign to build the capacities of communities, the private sector, CBO’s, local nonprofits, and other agencies to do their part in managing increasing heavy rainfall.

The Rainproof NYC working groups build on an initiative launched by Rebuild by Design and One Architecture to Rainproof NYC, a March 2023 symposium, as well as the City’s efforts to improve flood resiliency, including strategies outlined in PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done. 

The working groups have limited participation space and we value diversity in the composition of each group across lived and professional expertise, and across age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital or partner status, military experience, parental status, religious beliefs. As part of the application process, we are asking that you prioritize a working group you would like to be part of. Members of the working groups will be selected by the Steering Committee (see below.)


Members of the working groups will be asked to participate actively in regular meetings from January through June and are encouraged to:

  • be an active participant in regularly scheduled working group meetings, a midpoint check-in half-day workshop and a final public event/symposium.
  • conduct follow-up work between meetings and connect with experts outside of the working groups to inform the group’s policy and programmatic development. 
  • co-create recommendations for policy and programmatic solutions to the working group’s respective challenge.
  • co-create presentation materials to publicly share recommendations.

what does it mean to rainproof New York City?

Rebuild by Design and One Architecture take a hard look of the impediments to becoming rainproof in New York City.


After Hurricane Ida, Rebuild by Design invited 20 experts to write about the immediate steps New York City could take towards becoming rainproof. 


Is Green-Blue infrastructure feasible in New York City? We think so! We therefore asked Ramboll to develop a business case. The study shows that for every $1 invested in Blue-Green Infrastructure in New York City, there is a $2 return on investment.



Frequently asked questions

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Launched by the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (MOCEJ), the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the NYC Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, Rebuild by Design, and One Architecture & Urbanism, the Rainproof NYC working groups initiative aims to bring together individuals and organizations with expertise in various fields to identify strategies and policies to address the increasing rainfall in New York City, supporting New York City’s PlaNYC: Getting Sustainability Done initiatives, and simultaneously creating benefits for its residents.

In March 2023, Rebuild by Design, One Architecture, and NYC convened government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and international experts to identify the barriers to Rainproofing NYC and the necessary questions to answer in order to plan for a future with more rain. Building on the momentum from this event, Rebuild by Design, One Architecture, and city agencies reconvened to conceptualize collaborative working groups that would work in tandem with ongoing city efforts to address increasing rainfall. The groups seek to bring together knowledge from those inside and outside of government with lived, professional, volunteer, or academic experience in the challenges created by heavy rainfall to put forward holistic solutions that leverage ongoing city initiatives and new funding opportunities.

To express your interest in joining a working group, please submit your application by December 11 using this link. The application will ask brief questions about your lived experience with rain and flooding in New York City, your expertise and skills, your background, and your time availability.

No, we strive to create an inclusive process, incorporating lived and work experiences. All New Yorkers are experiencing climate change, and our working groups aim to use these different experiences and expertise to create a comprehensive approach to combating heavy rainfall in NYC.

If your expertise and interest align with more than one area, you can express your interest in joining multiple working groups. However, please specify your preference order when applying, as you will only be selected to participate in one. Organizations may be represented across multiple working groups by different individuals.

Addressing heavy rainfall in New York City is urgent. The groups are on a time-bound timeline: they will meet from January 2024 to June 2024. Each will set their own schedule. In addition, participants are expected to attend larger events such as the half-day kickoff meeting on January 9, 2024, mid-point convenings (early Spring 2024), and a final symposium (late Spring 2024).

Selected working group participants will be notified by email on or around December 19. Selected members will be asked to accept by December 21. If you submit an application, please hold January 9 for the kickoff meeting.

Selected non-government participants who make this commitment will be given a $1500 stipend by Rebuild at the conclusion of the process. If there are individuals who do not wish to take this stipend, the dollars will be reallocated for other working group uses.

Please fill out the application HERE.

Working groups will be composed of City agency staff members and non-profit organizations. Each working group will be co-facilitated by pre-selected co-facilitators representing a New York City agency and a non-profit organization. At the outset, members of the working groups will work together to develop and delegate the roles and responsibilities of each participant and co-facilitators. Thus, each role will look different according to the group’s progression and needs.

The working groups are a collaborative process designed to bring together various stakeholders and their insights to find ways to address heavy rainfall and recommend new approaches. You will be asked to:

    1. be an active participant in regularly scheduled working group meetings, the midpoint check-in (tentatively set for February), the half-day workshop (tentatively set for May/June), and a final public event/ symposium (tentatively set for June).
    2. conduct follow-up work between meetings and connect with experts outside of the working groups to inform the group’s policy and programmatic development.
    3. with your group, brainstorm recommendations, public-facing materials, and more.

There will be more opportunities to get involved with Rainproof NYC in various capacities. These opportunities will be announced as they are developed. Check the Rainproof NYC Working Group website periodically for updates or email to and let us know how you would like to be involved.

The Rainproof NYC steering committee will select working group participants. Each group will strive for a diversity of lived and work experiences. Working groups will be limited to 15-20 members, half of which will be City Agency representatives while half will come from this application process.

The steering committee consists of Rebuild by Design, One Architecture, the working group co-facilitators, and select City agency staff who are helping coordinate/plan this effort.

The working groups for Rainproof NYC initiative seek to bring together people with different perspectives to address increasing rainfall in New York City. This may include differences in race, ethnicity, gender, and ability. People with all types of experience with heavy rainfall – lived experience, professional, volunteer, academic – are encouraged to apply, though experience working directly on rain issues is not necessary.

This process is created to bring a diversity of experiences and perspectives. Within each working group, you will learn from one another and from other localities, prioritize intentions, and work toward equity and accountability.

Each group will ultimately propose recommendations in a symposium that will recommend implementable policies and programs to address increased heavy rainfall in New York City. Working group members will work with their respective Co-Facilitators to develop and release recommendations to the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the NYC Housing Recovery Operations to inform PlaNYC initiatives. The City has committed to keep all working group members updated at least six months post-process.

Steering Committee

WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WORK WITHOUT the generous support of the NorthLight Foundation and Wells Fargo.