Blue Zones of New York City

Eric Sanderson and Lucinda Royte

New York City faces the threat of increased flooding as a result of climate change. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 showed the city the power of coastal storms. Hurricane Ida in 2021 demonstrated the power of intense rainfall. Down-scaled climate models suggest both these kinds of storm events may increase in frequency and magnitude in the future. Through an analysis supported by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, NYBG has systematically analyzed where it once flooded (based on the historical ecology results from the Welikia Project), where it floods now (based on 311 calls, FEMA flood zones, and DEP’s stormwater resiliency maps) and where it may flood in the future (FEMA, DEP). The combination of these factors shows a surprising overlap, or what we call Blue Zones or Water Zones of the city.

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