Capability Assessment

The Capability Assessment describes the tools in the city’s toolbox for implementing mitigation actions to reduce disaster losses. These tools can be grouped into the following categories:  planning and regulatory, administrative and technical, financial, and education and outreach.

Within those broad categories, New York City, through its various agencies and departments, has local policies, regulations, funding, and practices currently in place that will help facilitate its Mitigation Strategy. These mechanisms include: building and construction codes, floodplain management plans, land use plans, local laws and ordinances, master and comprehensive plans, and zoning and land use regulations.

The Planning Team and Mitigation Planning partners created the following table to describe New York City’s current capabilities to implement mitigation actions. The table contains the capability classification, agency responsible, and description for each initiative or capability. The mechanisms described in these tables will serve to help implement many of the actions described in the HMP.  For information about how the planning team collected and assessed capabilities, click here.

DateCapability Type: Plans/Ordinances/RegulationsAgencyDescription
2014 HMPZoning ResolutionDCPA legal instrument to regulate and establish limits on the use of land and building size, shape, height and setback.
Flood Resilience Zoning Text AmendmentDCPRemoves regulatory barriers that hinder reconstruction of storm-damaged properties and enables new and existing buildings to comply with new, higher flood elevations issued by the FEMA.
NYC Waterfront Revitization Plan DCPEstablishes the city’s policies for waterfront planning, preservation, and development projects to ensure consistency over the long term.
Hazard Mitigation PlanNYCEMThe Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) is federally mandated compliance document that identifies the risk of hazards affecting NYC and current/potential actions the city is doing to reduce the risk.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Compliance DOBAs part of the NFIP, New York City has adopted floodplain maps developed by FEMA.
Plan Review Requirements - Plan ReviewDOBExcept for minor alterations and repairs, construction work generally requires a construction permit, which can only be obtained if the work is found to be in compliance with the codes. If an owner choose not to have the project be professional certified by a NYS registered design professional, the work must then be reviewed by a DOB plan examiner before an approval for permit is given. DOB possesses an extensive plan review system to ensure lawful compliance with the City's Building Code, Electrical Code, Zoning Resolution, New York State Labor Law, and New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. Plans are always submitted by a RDP. RDP's are allowed to professional certify that the plan they file are in compliance with all applicable laws
and does not require plan examination.
New York City Construction CodesDOBThe New York City Construction Codes are patterned after the International Code Council (ICC) family of codes. The codes are updated on a 3-year cycle similar to the revision cycles of the ICC codes.
NYC Green Infrastructure PlanDEP Presents an alternative approach to improving water quality that integrates "green infrastructure" such as swales and green roofs, with investments to optimize the existing system and to build targeted, cost-effective "grey" or traditional infrastructure.
Downstream Flooding Reduction ProgramDEP Program to reduce the downstream flooding through attenuation of runoff by lowering reservoir elevation at a controlled rate in anticipation of forecasted storms and snow melting.
Wildland -Urban InterfaceDEP Enforces 25-foot setback around vegetated areas where possible to help mitigate potential for wildfire in the Staten Island Bluebelt.
Watershed Rules and RegulationsDEP Enforces and develops regulations to protect New York City's reservoirs from contamination from human activity and storm water.
NYC Wastewater Resiliency PlanDEPThis study examined buildings/infrastructure at DEP’s 96 pumping stations and 14 wastewater treatment plants, identifying infrastructure most at risk of flood damage and recommended design standards and protective measures to improve resiliency from future flood events.
DEP Long-term and Strategic Planning DEPAssesses and communicates DEP's long term and strategic goals, vulnerabilities and opportunities for management of the water supply system for optimal dependability/reliability.
Drainage Plan for Areas Lacking Sewers DEPDrainage plans are developed to provide adequate storm and sanitary infrastructure for areas of the City lacking a fully built-out sewer system.
Fire CodeFDNYEstablishes the operation and maintenance of buildings and fire safety systems, emergency planning and preparedness, regulation of hazardous materials, and regulation of businesses and activities involving fire safety concerns.
2019 UpdateOne New York The Plan for a Strong and Just CityMayor's OfficeOneNYC is the city's long-term, for how the City will become the most resilient, equitable, and sustainable city in the world. .
Climate Resiliency GuidelinesMayor's OfficeProvides a consistent methodology for incorporating climate data into the design of the City's infrastructure and buildings.
Design and Construction Excellence 2.0 -- Guiding PrinciplesDDCOutlines shared aims that ensure equity, sustainability, resiliency, and healthy living are integral to the design and construction process.
City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR)Mayor's Office Environmental CoordinationProcess by which NYC agencies determine what effect, if any, a discretionary action they approve may have upon the environment.
Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP)DCPPublic review process associated with land use and zoning laws
Existing Building Code DevelopmentDOBDevelop an existing building code to simplify and streamline upgrades and alterations in existing buildings, which includes analysis of potential provisions aimed at resiliency improvements and hazard mitigation measures.
Resiliency ReportMTAThis initial report offers a broad view of the MTA’s climate actions to date, as well as a more detailed look at selected resiliency projects. These range from emergency protocols to the fortification of tunnels and the permanent elevation of flood exposed electrical facilities and signal systems. (
Acquisitions and Buyout ProgramHPDHPD runs the City’s Build it Back Acquisition and Buyout Program. HPD works with the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, the non-profit Project Rebuild, Inc., and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods to acquire properties substantially damaged by Sandy. Some of these properties will be redeveloped while properties in more vulnerable locations will be demolished and returned to wetlands. The Program offers financial incentives to applicants to purchase a home in New York City and to move out of the floodplain.
Handles Uniform Relocation Act to move tenants out of homes/buildings being rebuilt or demolishedHPD Under the City’s Acquisition and Buyout Program, HPD is required to support tenants in storm-damaged properties affordably locate new housing under the Uniform Relocation Act, administered by HUD. HPD works with CNYCN to provide financial benefits and housing search assistance to tenants permanently displaced by Build it Back acquisition.
Flood Resiliency GuidelinesParks This interdisciplinary manual was developed by NYC Parks and released in November 2017 to provide guidance for developing and renovating coastally resilient waterfront parks. The Guidelines are specifically tailored for NYC Parks with the hope that other planners, designers, consultant firms, agencies, communities, and homeowners can use them as a reference for coastally resilient park planning and design. (
Sustainable Design Guidelines (Includes Sustainable Building Guidelines (SBG) and Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines (SIG))PANYNJPANYNJ's Sustainable Design Guidelines are comprised of two components: "Part 1" is the Sustainable Building Guidelines (SBG) and "Part 2" is the Sustainable Infrastructure Guidelines (SIG). Originally launched in 2007, the SBG were primarily based on the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System (version 2.1) and applied to building projects (and sometimes concurrent site work). In 2011, PANYNJ expanded the Sustainable Design Guidelines by creating SIG. SIG applies to projects not part of a traditional building envelope, involving assets such as: docks, parking lots, runways, bridges, tracks, utilities, etc. SBG was updated again in 2017 to reflect best practices outlined in LEED Version 4.0 and streamline the compliance process. Currently, all PANYNJ building projects over 1000SF must comply with SBG. An update to SIG is planned for 2019. The update has already received committed funding and will include a guidance document on green infrastructure (Green Infrastructure Design Manual).

Together, SBG and SIG provide clear direction to optimize project sustainability through integrated design practice, with the complementary goals of enhancing cost effectiveness, extending project lifespan and, in some cases, reducing operational and/or maintenance costs. These guidelines are publicly available at:
Climate Resiliency Guidelines (CRG)PANYNJTo ensure that climate resiliency is considered in every Port Authority project, in 2015 the Port Authority adopted Climate Resilience Design Guidelines (CRG). Our building standards go well beyond code requirements and represent a risk-informed approach to building our region’s infrastructure. The guidelines consider three factors when determining the scope of flood mitigation measures that must be included in a project: 1) asset location 2) asset criticality, and 3) the projected lifespan of the asset. Location informs the project's design flood elevation (DFE), criticality informs the amount of freeboard required above the DFE, and asset lifespan informs which sea level rise estimations are accounted for. CRG was last updated in June, 2018. The update 1) simplified presentation of climate change projections, 2) streamlined the DFE determination process, and 3) clarified guidance for projects outside the current 1% annual-chance floodplain but potentially within future floodplains. These guidelines are publicly available at:
Enterprise Green Communities ChecklistHPDEnergy-Efficiency, Sustainability, Resiliency, Required for new construction
NIST StandardsFDNYFDNY follows NIST standards for Cyber Security.
NFPA StandardsFDNYFDNY follows NFPA standards for Hazmat training, response, and equipment.
Collapse Rescue OperationsFDNYFDNY participates in Collapse Rescue Operations training and equipment, which is tied to earthquake preparednes
DateCapability Type: Administrative/Staff/TechnicalAgencyDescription
2014 HMPCity Planning CommissionDCPThe City Planning Commission is responsible for the conduct of planning relating to the orderly growth and development of the City.
Borough OfficesDOBPerforming plan examinations, issuing construction permits, inspecting properties, and the maintenance of construction codes and licensing trades.
Chief Building OfficialDOBNew York City Department of Buildings (DOB) ensures the safe and lawful use of more than 950,000 buildings and properties through enforcing the City’s Building Code, Electrical Code, Zoning Resolution, New York State Labor Law, and New York State Multiple Dwelling Law. DOB’s main activities include performing plan examinations, issuing construction permits, inspecting properties, and the maintenance of construction codes and licensing trades.
Floodplain Maps/Flood Insurance Studies – NFIP ComplianceDOBAs part of the NFIP, New York City has adopted floodplain maps developed by FEMA.
Floodplain AdministratorDOBResponsible for implementing and enforcing floodplain regulations that meet National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) criteria.
City Park Drainage Maintenance StaffParksMaintains catch basins and storm drains in all the city parks.
Natural Resources Group
ParksConserving natural resources for the benefit of the ecosystem and public health through acquisition, management, restoration, and advocacy using a scientifically supported and sustainable research.
Central Forestry Division: Tree Pruning Program
ParksOversees the block pruning and commitment-pruning program.
Parks Department Site Review StaffParksReviews site plans for capital work and ensures that all trees and horticulture are protected and reviews any work that might affect street trees and governs the removal or planting of any public tree in New York City.
Bureau of Water & Sewer Operations (BWSO): Sanitary, Storm, and Combined Sewer Maintenance and Programmatic Catch Basin Inspection and Cleaning
DEPResponsible for the maintenance of sanitary, storm and combined sewers.
Watersheds Stream MaintenanceDEPRehabilitates and stabilizes stream banks to mitigate turbidity as part of its filtration avoidance determination obligations, in New York City watershed areas.
Hydrological/Hydraulic Studies –
Reservoir Basin, high hazard dams, and problem areas
DEP Conducts H&H studies to confirm probable maximum precipitation and probable maximum flood for reservoir basins, high hazard dams and dikes, and areas experiencing sewer problems.
Coordinated Building Inspection and Data Analysis System (CBIDAS) FDNYA risk-based inspection system for collecting and sharing data in real time to prevent fires and protect firefighters.
Survey Property for Areas Subject to FloodingMTAIdentify and develop plans to protect against flooding under various weather scenarios.
NYC Brownfield PartnershipOERProvides expert pro-bono environmental services through the NYC Brownfield Partnership.
NYCEM/MTA/PANYNJThe National Hurricane Center performs SLOSH modeling for New York City to determine what areas would be inundated in a coastal storm. Some agencies use SLOSH zones for determining resiliency measures.
HAZUS Loss estimationNYCEMHazards U.S. Multi-Hazard (HAZUS-MH) is a nationally applicable standardized methodology and software program, developed by FEMA. The program estimates potential losses from earthquakes, hurricane winds and floods.
2019 UpdateMTA Climate Adaptation Task Force MTACoordinates information on climate adaptation efforts, while exchanging information with experts on the NPCC, ORR, and PANYNJ.
Mayor's Office of Climate Change Adaptation Task ForceORR Facilitates knowledge sharing and develops strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change on critical infrastructure.
Urban Heat Island Working GroupORRDeveloping strategies to guide future capital investments and operational strategies and identify tactics for the city's most vulnerable communities to adapt the city to the increasing impacts of urban heat.
Silver JacketsUSACEFacilitate collaborative solutions to state flood risk priorities
New Resiliency Offices at City AgenciesTBDAgencies that have created resiliency units with dedicated staff to implement mitigation projects.
Data and Maps from Build It Back ProgramHPDHPD has been recording the project performance of houses in the Build it Back program through energy, water, and living environment data collection (
Security Steering CommitteeMTAComprised of Security, Safety, Emergency Management, and law enforcement representatives from across the MTA enterprise this group meets monthly to coordinate security, risk, and preparedness issues potentially impacting the MTA. 
Resiliency Planning StaffHPDSince Sandy, HPD formed the Resiliency Policy, Planning, and Acquisitions team in the Office of Neighborhood Strategies. The Agency maintains full-time resiliency planning personnel focused on storm recovery and making affordable housing more resilient to climate change.
Borough Forestry ManagersParksTree removal operations and tree hazard identification
Long Range Planning and Policy TeamParksManages Resiliency planning efforts
Departmental Environmental CoordinatorsPANYNJPort Authority's Aviation, Ports, and Tunnels/Bridges/Terminals line departments all have dedicated environmental coordinators (PATH and World Trade Center do not).
Office of Energy and Environmental Programs (OEEP)PANYNJOEEP develops and implements policies, provides technical support, and implements programs that add environmental value to Port Authority programs and businesses such as energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and mitigation management. OEEP provides support to implement the Port Authority Environmental Sustainability Policy, Sustainable Design Administrative Instruction and Climate Resilience Design Guidelines. OEEP implements the agency-wide Sustainability Policy (SP) which includes: strategies that reduce the risk posed by climate change to Port Authority facilities and operations, as well as collaboration with other regional stakeholders to reduce the risk to the region posed by climate change in a manner that will promote a sustainable environment. The SP commits to reducing GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 2006 levels). OEEP brings relevant PA parties together to ensure resiliency is incorporated in all aspects of planning, project design, construction and operations.

OEEP has an approximately $550,000 annual budget and 1 full-time-equivalent staff dedicated to resilience. Their mandate primarily addresses air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, sea level rise, and climate-related hazards.
Storm Mitigation and Resilience Office (SMRO)PANYNJFollowing Superstorm Sandy, the Port Authority created a Storm Mitigation and Resilience Office to coordinate both short-term storm recovery projects as well as long-term climate resiliency planning efforts across PANYNJ. Resilience projects include backflow prevention and drainage infrastructure at airports designed to accommodate future sea level rise, climate-informed flood protection measures across the PATH rail system, and an integrated, campus-wide flood protection system for the World Trade Center. A cross-departmental resiliency working group is working to integrate resilience strategies and risk assessment into all aspects of capital planning and facility operations.

SMRO partners primarily with FEMA, FTA, NJOEM, and NYS DHSES. They have an approximately $3,000,000 annual budget, 12 full-time equivalent staff and 6 contract staff. Their mandate primarily addresses flooding, sea level rise, coastal flooding and climate change generally.
Resilience and Sustainable Design Group (RSD)PANYNJThe Resilience and Sustainable Design Group (RSD) is responsible for leading the Engineering Department's efforts to incorporate climate resiliency and sustainable design into all aspects of the Agency's capital program and related activities. Responsibilities include the development, implementation and updating of the Agency's Sustainable Design Guidelines (SIG/SBG) and Climate Resilience Design Guidelines (CRG) to incorporate industry best practices and align with peer agencies throughout the region. In addition, the group develops outreach programs to build internal capacity among engineers, architects, project teams, and line departments.

RSD partners primarily with FEMA, NYSDEC, NYCOEM, and NJ OEM and NJ DEP. They have an approximately $775,000 annual budget, 4 permanent full-time staff, and 2 contract staff.
WMD Advisory CommitteeMTAComprised of CBRNE specialists and safety and security personnel from across the MTA enterprise, this group meets quarterly to share best practices, information, and status updates of projects within the subject area of CBRNE as it relates to the mass transit environment. 
Flood Hazard Mapper (internal only)PANYNJ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Depicts the Greater NYC region's projected 2050s 1% annual chance floodplain (90th percentile NPCC SLR scenario). NYC maps were created by the City of New York. NJ maps were created by the PANYNJ Planning Department using consistent methodology. The mapper is hosted internally via an organization ArcGIS Online account.
Citywide Stormwater Resiliency StudyDEP & ORRThe overall goal of Citywide Stormwater Resiliency Study is to develop unique modeling and risk assessment tools to advance the City’s ability to assess present and future risk from urban flooding to stormwater systems, the built environment, and communities, and use these data to identify the most vulnerable parts of NYC as well as identify interventions to offset urban flood risks.
DateCapability Type: FinancialAgencyDescription
2014 HMPPublic Assistance Grant Program (PA)FEMAProvides funds States, Tribes, local governments and certain Private Nonprofit (PNP) organizations with debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, public owned facilities and facilities of certain Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations.
406 Mitigation FundingFEMAProvides funds the restoration of facilities that have sustained damage due to a presidentially declared disaster. It also funds mitigation measures in conjunction with the repair of disaster-damaged facilities.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)FEMAProvides funds for implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures following Presidential disaster declarations.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM)FEMAProvides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of mitigation projects prior to a disaster.
Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)FEMAProvides funds on an annual basis so that measures can be taken to reduce or eliminate risk of flood damage to buildings insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
HUD Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR)U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)HUD provides flexible grants to help cities, counties, and States recover from Presidentially declared disasters, especially in low-income areas, subject to availability of supplemental appropriations.
Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Initiative Security Grant (UASI)US DHSThe UASI program funds address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas, and assists them in building an enhanced and sustainable capacity to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism.
Green Infrastructure Grant Program (GIGP)DEPOffers funds for the design and construction of the green infrastructure systems for private property owners.
Water and sewer fundsDEPDEP's water and wastewater operating budget and debt service are paid by the New York City Water Board with revenue collected per water and sewer rates.
Capital ProgramMTAIdentifies and prioritized capital projects to be undertaken over a five-year period.
Financial Assistance Search Tool (FAST)OERFAST" (Financial Assistance Search Tool) to help the public find grants and other financial assistance for environmental investigation and cleanup in NYC.
Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) ProgramOERNYC Brownfield Incentive Grant (BIG) program to provide financial assistance to property owners seeking to investigate and clean up contaminated properties, as well as to community groups for public outreach, planning, and technical assistance.
2019 UpdateNYC Capital BudgetOMBFunding for City agencies to construct, maintain, or improve infrastructure.
2017-2026 Capital PlanPANYNJInfrastructure plan that focuses on modernization, resilience, safety, security, customer experience, and sustainability. Capital projects related to recovery and resilience projects are usually listed under the header "Sandy Program." PANYNJ's Superstorm Sandy Capital Program will cost approximately $2.0 billion, $1.8 billion of which will be spent between 2017 and 2026.
Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant ProgramUSDOTPart of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Public - Private Partnerships (P3s)AllPartnering with private sector organizations for resiliency projects
Clean Water State Revolving Fund SRF LoansUS EPAThe Clean Water State Revolving Fund provides interest-free or low-interest rate financing for wastewater and water quality improvement projects to municipalities throughout New York State. A variety of point source, non-point source, and national estuary projects are eligible for financing, including construction or restoration of sewers and wastewater treatment facilities, stormwater management, landfill closures, as well as habitat restoration and protection projects.
Funding from Elected OfficialsCity Council/Borough PresidentsFunding from City council members and borough presidents to implement mitigation projects.
Continuing Authorities Program (CAP)USACEThe Corps’ Continuing Authorities Program (CAP) is a group of nine legislative authorities under which the Corps of Engineers can plan, design, and implement certain types of water resources projects without additional project specific congressional authorization. The purpose of the CAP is to plan and implement projects of limited size, cost, scope and complexity.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)PANYNJFTA is a Modal Administration of the US Department of Transportation. F TA funding has supported post-Sandy recovery and resilience at PATH facilities. FEMA has provided comparable disaster recovery and resilience funding for projects at other PANYNJ line departments (Aviation, World Trade Center, Tunnels/Bridges/Terminals, and Ports).
PORTFDNYThe PORT grants support FDNY's marine division, training, equipment, collaboration with the Coast Guard, as well as other hazard related activities.
HOME Grant ManagementFDNYHOME gratn management financially supports FDNY's capabilities to respond to CBRN, natural disasters, and other hazards.
DateCapability: Education and OutreachAgencyDescription
2014 HMPRight-To-Know OutreachDEPProviding recommendations (via palm card and email blast) to private and public facilities to address chemical safety and spill prevention during flood events
Maps of Right-To-Know FacilitiesDEPMapping of facilities with hazardous substances located within the NYC flood map. Such maps may be used for planning purposes and as a resource to determine potential contamination during a flood event.
Fire Safety EducationFDNYThe Fire Safety Education Unit of the FDNY meets the fundamental mission of protecting the lives and property of New York City residents and visitors through fire safety education programs held and offered throughout the city. The Fire Safety Education Unit's strategy to reduce fire deaths and injuries is to focus on prevention by identifying and rectifying unsafe behaviors.
Fire Code OutreachFDNYContemporaneous with, and as part of the latest Fire Code revision process, the FDNY hosts information sessions for all affected industries.
Health Information CampaignsDOHMHRaise the public's awareness of personal and community health topics and issues through leaflets, posters, bulletins, billboards, and electronic media.
Ready New York Reduce Your Risk GuideNYCEMThe Ready New York campaign encourages New Yorkers to be ready for all types of emergencies. Develop a disaster plan and keep informed about the hazards that may impact New York City.
"Cleaning Up New York City"OER“Cleaning Up New York City” Community Education Video Series to educate public about environmental investigation, environmental cleanup, and community protection and engagement during the cleanup process.
2019 UpdateFloodHelp NYORR/GOSR/Center for NYC NeighborhoodsConsumer education program that includes public information to build awareness about changes to the FIRMs and impacts to flood insurance requirements.
Community Emergency Planning in NYC: A Toolkit for Community LeadersNYCEMContains information on how NYC plans for emergencies and provides guidance for how communities can create their own emergency plans.
Information BriefsDCPProvides information on flood insurance requirements a and educates the public on how mitigation investments can reduce flood insurance premiums. Additional briefs address topics that relate to resilient construction and zoning (available in 7 languages).
Flood Hazard MapperDCPA product of the New York City Department of City Planning, the NYC Flood Hazard Mapper provides a comprehensive overview of the coastal flood hazards that threaten the city today, as well as how these flood hazards are likely to increase in the future with climate change. It is intended to enable more informed decision-making by residents, property and business owners, architects and engineers, and policy-makers (
Flood Resilient Zoning Overview VideoDCPVideo to accompany the Department's Zoning for Flood Resiliency regulations.
Waterbody Advisory SystemDEPNotifies residents of CSO's that are happening in their area
SPEED 2.0OERSPEED 2.0 will identify the following environmental concerns in city flood plains and hurricane evacuation zones: properties in city cleanup programs managed by the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation and properties in state cleanup programs, including the state Brownfield Cleanup Program, the state Superfund program, petroleum spill sites, and petroleum and chemical bulk storage sites.
See Something Say Something CampaignMTAMTA security education campaign.
Neighborhood Outreach and Education TeamHPDInforms Public about FloodHelpNY
Pre-Coastal Storm OutreachHPDYearly outreach to building owners registered with HPD - includes have a plan, tenant outreach, etc.
"Stop the Bleed Campaign"FDNYTeaching the public self help skills for terror attacks and natural disasters