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Extreme Heat Adaptation

Climate change is causing more frequent and intense heat waves. Every year on average, more people die from extreme heat than from all other types of extreme weather. But heat deaths are preventable.

Using data to understand heat risk and prioritize those areas with elevated risk for heat adaptation measures

  • The Heat Vulnerability Index (HVI) a measure of how at risk a neighborhood is during extreme heat compared to other neighborhoods. It summarizes the most important social and environmental factors that contribute to neighborhood heat risk.
  • The city monitors indoor and outdoor temperatures to better understand how our natural systems and built infrastructure, such as green space and building conditions, impact temperatures on the hyper-local neighborhood scale.
  • The City is producing new, high resolution heat risk projections that will help it prepare and plan for future extreme heat conditions.

Adapting the built environment and public realm, and building social resiliency to keep New Yorkers cooler on hot days

  • Since 2017, 11,634 street and park trees were planted in the most heat-vulnerable (HVI-5) neighborhoods, with an estimated 14,530 more to be planted through Spring 2024. New York City has committed an additional $112 million for the program to plant an estimated 36,000 additional trees per year in HVI-4 neighborhoods through 2026.
  • Since 2009, the city has coated over 11 million square feet of rooftop. Since 2017, 70% of new cool roofs have been installed in high HVI areas. New York City will continue to prioritize outreach and new Cool Roofs in high HVI areas.
  • Cool It! NYC is an online interactive map that directs New Yorkers to outdoor cooling features like well-shaded streets, parks with sprinklers and water fountains, and fire hydrants with spray caps.
  • New York City will support legislation that pilots the use cool pavements, light-colored pavements and coating materials that are designed to reduce temperatures in streets and public spaces.
  • DOHMH and NYCEM conduct annual climate risk trainings for trusted messengers such as home health aides and faith leaders.
  • During heat emergencies, New York City operates an extensive network of cooling centers, primarily in libraries, community centers, and senior centers that provide safe, free access to cooling during heatwave events. CBOs can also sign up to be a cooling center partner.
  • Be a Buddy  is a proven community-led social resiliency program that connects residents who are most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather and other crises with volunteers who provide wellness checks and connect residents to city services.

 Improving access to indoor cooling, and strengthening social cohesion, to keep new Yorkers safe on hot days

  • To combat extreme heat, the city implemented Cool Neighborhoods NYC, a $100 million program designed to keep New Yorkers safe and cool through expanding the City’s tree canopy and investing in social resiliency programs.
  • Advocating to state and federal government for changes to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to help lower the barriers for in-home cooling for energy cost burdened households and for more efficient cooling technology.
  • In 2022, the NYC Department of Transportation was awarded a $320,500 FEMA BRIC to develop new heat mitigation strategies for streetscapes. This grant was one of only two heat mitigation FEMA BRIC grants awarded nationwide. The findings from this project will inform future street redesign projects and will help the New York City develop better benefit cost analyses for heat mitigation projects.
  • New York City will strengthen community networks by expanding Be a Buddy to new heat-vulnerable communities by partnering with community-based organizations (CBOs) and houses of worship.

 

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When we bring our voices, our action, and our advocacy to our schools, our homes, and our workplaces, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future for the 8.6 million people who call our five boroughs home.

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