Construction News | Infrastructure News | Data, Analytics, Alerts & Weather
Construction News Everyday. Real Time News and AEC Industry Market Data. Powerful News For The Architectural, Engineering & Construction Industries.

Financial District & Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan Released: To Protect Lower Manhattan, Offer Many Architectural, Engineering & Construction Opportunities


New York, New York – ARCADIS, The New York City Economic Development Corporation and Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency released the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan to get ahead of climate change and protect Lower Manhattan. An expansive floodwall system that also serves as open public space is part of a community-driven plan that is expected to cost between $5 billion and $7 billion and take 15 to 20 years to complete, but it will strengthen the Financial District and the historic South Street Seaport neighborhood along the East River.

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on both nearby seaside areas. The city expects the design to protect 140 acres of Manhattan, which is home to one of the world’s largest central business districts, thousands of residents, and multiple critical transportation hubs, while preventing $1 billion in climate-related damages beginning in the 2050s, when the project is complete. Flooding of the Financial District and Seaport on a monthly basis by 2050, and daily by 2080s, according to New York City Panel on Climate Change (NYCPCC) 90% forecasts. As early as the 2040s, according to a NYCEDC and MOCR press release, frequent tidal flooding would be experienced.


The blueprint for the design was released on December 29, 2021, with no official start date for construction the presentation notes a timeline .

Tentative Timeline Provided In Report


The design consultancy, Arcadis, has been performing the procedure and consulting outreach in conjunction with local experts, people, and technical professionals credited within the report found below. Arcadis is a renowned worldwide company in delivering sustainable solutions for natural and built assets. This Arcadis-led master plan will launch a nearly one-mile-long barrier along the coastline of Lower Manhattan. This Netherlands-based engineering firm, 18 other consultants, and large amount of public input, tests and local experts provided this master plan for review that will ensure the potential safety of the citizens of New York.

Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Plan
Credit: Timothy Krause,
Credit: Timothy Krause,

Around one million individuals work and or live in this busy commuting area, and its protection is significant to the prosperity of its people. This rebuild will be about $5 to $7 billion, but the outcome will be transformative. Hurricane Sandy already did some damage to the area, so the world already got a taste of what these tropical thunderstorms can do. Taking initiate is the only way to get ahead of these colossal climate threats.

Construction Currently Started At The Rockaways With Army Corps Of Engineers

This master plan will eliminate the urgent threat of climate change to the Lower Manhattan area. With this risk at hand, infrastructure is needed along the shoreline to create a sturdy waterfront. This new flood defense project needs to have the resilience to withstand severe coastal storms and rising sea levels. The blueprint will potentially save Lower Manhattan, one of the nations largest central business districts. By extending the shoreline of the East River to 200 feet, this new multilevel waterfront will protect against high sea levels. It’s not a matter of will they rise, it’s a matter of when.


The master plan’s success is contingent on it being technically possible and capable of efficiently responding to climate change while preserving the vital functions provided by the waterfront today.
To do this, the project team undertook several assessments with the primary objective of developing a technically feasible plan.

Sediment & Organisms Sample From East River Next To Manhattan Bridge – Credit: Normandeau Associates

Engineering and Design Studies

Engineering and design studies were critical to the master plan’s development. The engineering and design teams collaborated to determine which flood defense tools would be feasible in the study area. The project team conducted in-depth engineering studies to determine the feasibility of various solutions, including how to integrate flood defense into buildings, how to cross subway tunnels, how to ensure the flood defense system’s long-term adaptability, and how to tie the new infrastructure to higher ground, which is critical for preventing water from flowing around the new coastal flood barrier.

While the master plan’s primary objective is to provide flood protection, the design team spent considerable time considering how this new infrastructure can integrate with and improve the urban fabric.

This process began with a better understanding of the infrastructure’s implications and the impact on the waterfront and daily experience of those who live, work, visit, and travel through this area.

Later phases of this project evaluated the best way to integrate the various technical components in order to create a universally accessible waterfront for all New Yorkers, complete with programming opportunities that reflect community and citywide needs.

Existing Conditions

To ascertain limits and potential within the research region, the project team conducted a thorough examination of the Financial District and Seaport communities’ existing conditions. This included an examination of both above- and below-ground infrastructure, such as subway tunnels, drainage infrastructure, utilities, and transportation networks, as well as soil qualities and the status of shoreline structures. Additionally, the project team analyzed the esplanade’s current state, including how people utilize and access the space, as well as the amenities that already exist along it.

Wave and Hydrodynamic Modeling

The research team did comprehensive wave and hydrodynamic computer modeling to gain a better understanding of the study area’s current and future tides and storm surge. The project team conducted a suite of wave models (ADCIRC and SWAN) early in the master plan process to estimate the design flood height (DFE). The DFE represents the height of flood defenses required to protect the study region from future coastal storms, including waves.

After determining that the shoreline would need to be extended into the East River to accommodate flood defense infrastructure, the project team conducted further hydrodynamic models (ADCIRC and Delft3D) to evaluate how building new land would affect how water flows in the East River. Additionally, the project team assessed potential implications on nearby communities and across the East River in Brooklyn to ensure that the Financial District and Seaport’s resilience solution did not worsen flooding elsewhere.

Interior Drainage Modeling

To defend the study area effectively, flood defense infrastructure must be coupled with a stormwater management strategy. The project team conducted an analysis of the current drainage system and the amounts of rainwater that must be managed during coastal storms in order to determine drainage requirements. Future conditions were simulated using computer modeling software (InfoWorks ICM), and the volume and location of flooding were estimated. The study team then devised measures to mitigate these effects, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Sampling and Testing

During the early stages of the master plan process, the project team conducted a year of sampling and testing in the East River to gain a better understanding of the river’s existing ecological state. Sampling and testing were critical because there was scant previous information describing the species and ecosystems in the East River, and what was available was out of date.

The sample and testing results directly influenced the design of the master plan and will be used to guide any future studies of the master plan’s possible detrimental environmental implications.

Maritime Analysis and Vulnerability Studies

This waterfront area is densely packed with ferry terminals, vessel operations, and piers. To gain a better understanding of how climate change would affect maritime services and assets in the research area, as well as how to plan for future operations, the project team examined each asset in detail. The Whitehall Ferry Terminal, the Battery Maritime Building, Piers 11, 15, and 16, and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport were all included in this. The project team established methods to guarantee that marine assets in the area are resilient and planned for long-term adaptability to changing needs and conditions based on findings from maritime assessments and sea level rise vulnerability studies.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio Statement

“This Plan for a protected and resilient waterfront in Lower Manhattan will help us fully confront the urgent and accelerating threat of climate change,” said former Mayor Bill de Blasio. “A recovery for all of us must ensure families, businesses, and communities in Lower Manhattan are able to withstand extreme weather and rising sea levels, which this vision guarantees.”

This new plan will open the flood gates for construction companies who will have the opportunity to participate in this rebuild. The City needs this aggressive approach to ensure that every possible preventive action is in place. There will be the need for all hands on deck because New York City needs the best of the best. Many construction businesses will be called to complete the necessary task at hand, from small to large corporations. 

Types Of Features In The Proposed Plan

“Flood walls buried in the landscape that create a line of ridges along this waterfront, permanently protecting Lower Manhattan from coastal storms and creating new open spaces with expansive views of the harbor. Resilient stormwater infrastructure, including a new pump station along with green infrastructure. Resilient ferry terminals for Staten Island, Governors Island, and NYC Ferries, among other operators. Universally accessible entrances and pathways, designed to ensure people of all ages and abilities can get to and move around the waterfront. New public open spaces with playgrounds, plazas, lawns, seating, and cafes. Coves that promote habitat restoration and provide opportunities to learn about the ecology of the East River. Resilient piers for docking historic ships, bolstering the historic character of South Street Seaport.”

The damages from a potential storm, even in the short term, could be catastrophic if this plan does not follow through. Massive flooding to the Lower Manhattan region could result in up to $20 billion in reconstructive cost purposes. The community needs to will have to continue to pull through with input and the help of engineers, architects, carpenters, and anyone who has experience or a passion. This project, one of the most complex in recent history will be very time-consuming and a huge undertaking with current talent and labor shortages.

New York City’s future also seems now to depend on the current labor and talent shortages already facing the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industries. The FiDi & Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan is in the hands of the working class as well and many expected small, women, and minority contractors. These same contractors moving many of the current workers rights issues forward that the industry is facing nationwide.

You can read a copy or download a copy of the The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan here:



This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More