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1. WHO IS INVOLVED IN NEW YORK CITY’S HAZARD-MITIGATION PLANNING?

To ensure success for this hazard-mitigation planning process, New York City forged many partnerships and brought together a cross-section of government agencies, community members, and other stakeholders to share ideas, discuss current and future initiatives, and form a consensus on how to invest in long-term mitigation strategies.

Planning Team

The Hazard Mitigation Planning Team (Planning Team), which served as the overall lead in updating New York City’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP), was comprised of New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) staff -- four planners from the Hazard Mitigation Unit, one specialist from the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Unit, and additional staff from the Planning and Preparedness Division.

The Planning Team facilitated development of the overall plan to ensure that the updated HMP met the requirements of the Disaster Mitigation Act (DMA) of 2000. NYCEM’s GIS specialist customized and executed hazard models and created the maps and data tables that are incorporated within the plan.

The Planning Team’s responsibilities were to:

  • Organize and manage working-group sessions with partners
  • Develop and implement the community-involvement process
  • Guide plan development to ensure that it adheres to the DMA 2000 requirements
  • Manage the identification, collection, and analysis of mitigation actions by the Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners
  • Help and support all hazard-mitigation planning process participants to carry out their responsibilities
  • Coordinate with Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners to identify and review relevant material for the HMP

Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners

The planning process kicked off on December 19, 2017. NYCEM held an event to introduce participants to the planning process and to explain the HMP.  New York City’s Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners included over 200 individuals representing approximately 100 organizations.

NYCEM invited the following Hazard Mitigation Planning Partners, to participate in the 2019 HMP update process. This includes thirteen new partners that were not part of the 2014 HMP planning process.

  • American Institute of Architects (AIA)*
  • Columbia University, Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation*
  • Con Edison
  • City University of New York (CUNY)
  • NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)
  • NYC Department of City Planning (DCP)
  • NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC)
  • NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
  • NYC Department for the Aging (DFTA)
  • NYC Department of Buildings (DOB)
  • NYC Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • NYC Department of Education (DOE)
  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)
  • NYC Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Housing Recovery Office (HRO)
  • NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT)
  • NYC Cyber Command (NYC3)*
  • NYC Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY)
  • NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC)
  • NYC Fire Department (FDNY)
  • NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (H+H)
  • NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
  • Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)
  • National Weather Service
  • NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)
  • New York City Police Department (NYPD)
  • New York University (NYU) Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • NYC Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  • Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO)*
  • Mayor’s City Office of Environmental Remediation (OER)
  • Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD)*
  • Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (OR)
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)
  • Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSEG)
  • NYC Small Business Services (SBS)
  • US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • WSP Global, Inc.*
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • NY State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES)
  • NYC Department of Investigation (DOI)*
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)*
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)*
  • Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York (OCME)
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Transit (MTA)
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)*
  • Science and Resiliency Institute of Jamaica Bay *
  • University at Buffalo*
*Teal indicates new planning partners for the 2019 HMP

Working Groups

Hazard-Specific Working Groups were convened as part of the 2019 planning process to encourage dialogue about specific threats to New York City and to foster relationships among the different partners – a change from the Mitigation Planning Council (MPC) approach utilized in the 2014 HMP.

The Working Groups had several major goals – to bring together New York City agency partners and subject-matter experts, to raise risk awareness among agency partners, to discuss hazard impacts and risk-reduction strategies, and to ensure that the updated plan contained accurate, up-to-date information.

Working groups were organized in two rounds to answer the following questions:

  1. What is New York City’s risk to specific hazards?
  2. How does the City mitigate this risk?
  3. What are the City’s capabilities to accomplish mitigation actions?

Session 1: Identifying New York City’s Risk

Five hazard-specific working group sessions held in January and February, 2018 were organized around the following topics -- Climate Hazards, Cyber Threats, Infrastructure Failures, and Earthquakes.  The Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Releases hazard working group session was held in July, 2018.

At each session, a subject matter expert identified New York City’s current risks and vulnerabilities regarding the specific hazard. The topics addressed for Session 1 is shown in the table:

Session 1: What is our Risk?
Group Speaker Participating Agencies Date
  • Infrastructure Failures
Anthony Natale, Con Edison – “Overview of the Con Edison system and significant utility failures” Con Edison, DEP, DCP, DOT, DoITT, MTA, PANYNJ, FDNY, USACE, HPD 1/29/18
  • Cyber
Quiessence Phillips, Deputy CISO, NYC3 – “Cyber Threats Briefing” Con Edison, DoITT, DOI, DEP, FDNY, H+H, MTA, NYPD, NYC3 2/15/18
  • Climate Hazards
James Booth, CUNY – “Climate Change and Winter Weather” AIA, Con Edison, CUNY, Danish CleanTech Hub, DCAS, DCP, DDC, DEP, DOB, DOC, DOE, DOHMH, DoITT, DOT, DPR, DSNY, EDC, FDNY, DFTA, DSS, H+H, HPD, LPC, MTA, NYCHA, NYPD, OCME, OER, MOR, PANYNJ, SBS, USACE, AIA, NYU, SRIJB 2/21/18
  • Earthquakes
Dr. Sissy Nikolaou, PE, D.GE, F.ASCE & Guillermo Diaz-Fanas, PE, M.ASCE – "Earthquakes and New York City: Vulnerabilities and Consequences” and Andreas Stavridis, PhD, PE, University at Buffalo – “Unreinforced Masonry Buildings: Understanding the risk and developing solutions” Con Edison, DCAS, DEP, DOB, DOE, DOT, HPD, H+H, FDNY, NYCHA, PANYNJ, University at Buffalo, and WSP 2/28/18
  • CBRN
Melissa Umberger – presented an overview of the HMP, followed by a discussion on hazard trends to be included in the CBRN updated profile DOHMH, DEP, NYSDEC, FDNY, NYPD 7/16/18

Following the presentation, the Planning Team facilitated a discussion with the Working Group about New York City’s current risk, structured to answer the following questions:

  • In the past, what have been the consequences of this hazard and how has it had an impact upon your agency’s core functions?
  • What other vulnerabilities should be include in the HMP profile?
  • How do you think the hazard landscape has changed in the past compared to the present, and how will it change in the future?

Participants’ contributions during these discussions were incorporated within the hazard specific profiles.

Session 2: Reducing New York City’s Risk

For the second round, Working Groups examined the mitigation strategies being utilized in New York City to reduce the impact of hazard events.  A guest speaker presented one or more case studies of a successful mitigation project to each Working Group.

Session 2: How do we reduce our risk?
Group Speaker Participating Agencies Date
  • Infrastructure Failures
Kristin Bell, NYCEDC – “RISE NYC” Con Edison, DEP, DCP, DOT, DoITT, MTA, NYCEDC, PANYNJ, FDNY, USACE, HPD 3/5/18
  • Cyber
Jamie Nelson, SVP & CIO -Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) – “HSS Approach to Cyber Security” Con Edison, DoITT, DOI, DEP, FDNY, H+H, HHS, MTA, NYPD, NYC3 4/11/18
  • Climate Hazards
Alan Cohn, DEP and Klaus Lehn Christensen, Danish CleanTech Hub – “Preparing for Extreme Rain Events: NYC’s Cloudburst Pilot Program” AIA, Con Edison, CUNY, Danish CleanTech Hub, DCAS, DCP, DDC, DEP, DOB, DOC, DOE, DOHMH, DoITT, DOT, DPR, DSNY, EDC, FDNY, DFTA, DSS, H+H, HPD, LPC, MTA, NYCHA, NYPD, OCME, OER, MOR, PANYNJ, SBS, USACE,  AIA, NYU, SRIJB 4/16/18
  • Earthquakes
Dr. Ilya Sheylkov, Senior Associate, WSP – “Earthquakes and New York City – Vulnerabilities and Mitigation Approaches” Con Edison, DCAS, DEP, DOB, DOE, DOT, HPD, H+H, FDNY, NYCHA, PANYNJ, University at Buffalo, and WSP 3/27/18
  • CBRN
N/A NYCEM had one-on-one-agency meetings to discuss current mitigation strategies July-August, 2018

After the presentations, each group participated in a break-out session to discuss the following questions:

  • Since the 2014 HMP, have there been any mitigation trends that your agency is pursuing?
  • How does your agency prioritize implementation of mitigation projects?
  • What have been successes and barriers associated with implementing mitigation projects?
  • [For the Climate Hazards Working Group session only] How does your agency keep up the momentum for mitigation investments since Hurricane Sandy?

From these discussions, the following findings emerged:

  • Most agencies need more guidance, resources and a directive to prioritize the implementation of mitigation projects.
  • Most new mitigation projects are focused on addressing flooding, coastal storms, and cyber threats.
  • When discussing how to mitigate infrastructure failure, it was challenging to identify specific actions that were related to resiliency initiatives, because most preventative actions are due to planned capital projects and investments, general operations, and maintenance.

In the third session, the Working Group participated in the Capability Assessment – identifying the tools available to New York City to implement mitigation strategies to reduce potential losses from disasters.

New York City’s four categories of tools are:

  • Planning & Regulatory
  • Administrative & Technical
  • Financial
  • Education & Outreach

The goal of the working group was to identify New York City’s current capabilities to implement mitigation projects and to assess their effectiveness.

Session 3: What are the City’s capabilities for implementing mitigation strategies?
Session Participating Agencies Date
Capability Assessment DEP, DOB, NYCEDC, PANYNJ, MTA, OER, DPR, ORR, HPD, USACE 10/3/18

The participants engaged in a series of interactive exercises that were designed to elicit answers to the several questions:

  • Is the 2014 HMP missing existing capabilities?
  • Should some capabilities be removed because they are no longer relevant?
  • How effective are the existing capabilities of New York City?
  • How does this current capability address risk assessment and mitigation?
  • Are there opportunities for new capabilities?

The Planning team created five assessment poster boards that listed the capabilities under each of the four capability categories specified in the 2014 HMP.

For the first exercise, the participants were asked to identify new capabilities. For the second exercise, agencies rated their capabilities for each of the hazards included in the 2019 HMP update by assigning colors -- green (good), yellow (okay), red (bad), and blue (Not Applicable).

For example, for the Construction Code capability, participants reviewed how well this capability enables the city to implement mitigation strategies for each of the hazards.

The graphics below provide a high-level representation of the findings. It is important to note that not all city agencies are represented in this analysis. Even though some capabilities are rated as not applicable, it does not mean that the city has no capabilities for those hazards; however, it could be that agencies that focus on strategies for that particular hazard were not present. Therefore, the results of this study are a starting point for future conversations regarding the city’s current capabilities.

Key takeaways include:

Planning Capabilities:
  • Coastal Storm and Flooding have numerous strong capabilities
  • The City does not have many applicable capabilities for Cyber, CBRN, Winter Weather or High Winds
  • There are a few earthquake capabilities

Planning and Regulatory Capability Ratings

Administration Capabilities:
  • Coastal Storm and Flooding have numerous strong capabilities
  • City does not have as many applicable capabilities for Earthquakes, CBRN, High Winds or Cyber

Administrative Capability Ratings

Financial Capabilities:
  • Few capabilities can be directed at specific hazards, except for coastal storms and flooding
  • Earthquakes, CBRN, and Cyber are lacking local financial capabilities

Financial Capability Ratings

Educational Capabilities:
  • Few capabilities can be directed at specific hazards, except for coastal storms and flooding. For other hazards, agencies felt capabilities were not applicable or not as strong

Education Capability Ratings

 

To facilitate community participation in the hazard mitigation planning process, the Planning Team undertook several initiatives – an assessment carried out by Columbia University graduate students, feedback on upcoming toolkits and publications, and participation in other community and professional outreach events.

Community-based Mitigation Planning - Pilot Project

NYCEM engaged Columbia University’s Graduate School for Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in a pilot project intended to serve as a template for much broader community assessment.

In this semester-long studio project, students studied the community of Gowanus, Brooklyn and completed a risk assessment for this community. The findings of this pilot project are available in the Community area of this website.

If your university is interested in conducting a similar study, please contact us at mitigation@oem.nyc.gov.

Community Emergency Preparedness Toolkit – Resiliency Component

NYCEM is currently assembling hazard mitigation information to expand the Community Emergency Planning in NYC toolkit. The current version helps communities increase their resiliency through a process -- identifying existing networks, building new connections, and increasing their capacity to organize internal and external resources.

To develop hazard mitigation content that is useful for community groups, NYCEM conducted 10 community interviews with the following organizations:  The Point, LES Ready, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, We Act, East Harlem COAD, SI COAD, South Brooklyn COAD, CO-OP City Bronx, and Resilient Red Hook. This process increased community awareness about the Hazard Mitigation Plan, allowed NYCEM to learn what community groups were already doing for hazard mitigation projects, and to learn more about the needs of these groups. To view the interview questions, click here: Mitigation Toolkit Questions.

Community Outreach Events

On September 26, 2018, the Hazard Mitigation Planning Team participated in the quarterly NYCEM Emergency Preparedness Council event, at which NYCEM, DOHMH, and LES Ready made presentations on emergency preparedness best practices. Afterward, the Hazard Mitigation Planning Team facilitated further community discussion about hazard mitigation best practices and learned more about neighborhood initiatives. This community dialogue guided the development of a mitigation component for the Community Emergency Planning toolkit.

On November 16, 2018, the Hazard Mitigation Planning team organized a panel discussion at the American Planning Association’s New York City Metro Chapter – Encouraging Community Driven Hazard Mitigation Projects.  The panel’s participants included Lisa Blake and Melissa Umberger from NYCEM, Frank Ruchala from DCP, Gita Nandan from Resilient Red Hook, and Greta Byrum New School Digital Equity Laboratory, New School.  Both NYCEM and DCP presented on government strategies employed to assist communities with mitigation projects, while Resilient Red Hook and the Digital Equity lab discussed community driven mitigation projects.  The goal of the panel was discuss methods for bridging the gap between government agencies and community groups.

On December 10, 2018, the Hazard Mitigation Planning team presented at a webinar to the Partners in Preparedness consortium of businesses and industries including arts and entertainment, education, banking and finance, healthcare, and hospitality and service.  This program aims to support organizations in preparing their employees, services, and facilities for emergencies. The planning team presented on the top hazards of concern for New York City, mitigation projects that businesses could implement to reduce disaster losses, and the Hazard History and Consequence tool.

NYCEM will launch its revised toolkit as part of a broader community outreach campaign. As part of the launch, NYCEM will make presentations to community boards and elected officials about updated to the HMP and toolkit.

Regional Coordination

The Hazard Mitigation Planning team presented to the Urban Area Working Group (UAWG) at two of the 2018’s quarterly meetings (May and November 2018). The UAWG consists of the following jurisdictions: New York City, Yonkers, Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Westchester County. The planning team presented on the plan’s development and provided a demonstration of the HMP website. Following the presentation, members of the UAWG provided feedback on changes they would like to see to the website.

The planning team launched the HMP website for a 30-day comment period from January 2, 2019 to February 1, 2019.

To publicize and elicit feedback to online HMP, NYCEM emailed notifications to a wide range of organizations, stakeholders, and officials -- New York City's Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Community Preparedness Council, Partners in Preparedness members, NYCEM’s Advance Warning System contacts, volunteer organizations, neighboring jurisdictions (New Jersey and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties), regional partners, elected officials, Borough Presidents' offices, Community Board offices, professional organizations, academics, and non-profits.

The Planning Team also publicized the HMP and the website via the NYCEM Community Preparedness unit and the NYCEM Public/Private Initiatives unit. The Community Preparedness Council and Partners in Preparedness newsletters were also used to publicize the HMP website comment period and encouraged feedback from their constituents.