Eddie Bautista’s presentation provides a brief overview of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance’s (NYC-EJA’s) Waterfront Justice Project, NYC’s first citywide grassroots community resiliency campaign. The Project is a research and advocacy project designed to reform the City’s waterfront policies to reduce cumulative health exposure risks posed by climate change. In NYC, there are concentrations of polluting industrial facilities in low-income waterfront communities of color designated as Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (or SMIA’s). In 2010, NYC-EJA discovered that all six of the City’s SMIA’s are in storm surge zones – and that the City of New York hadn’t analyzed the public health exposure risks associated with clusters of heavy industrial uses in such vulnerable locations. The Project promotes climate adaptation and community resiliency strategies in industrial waterfront communities by analyzing environmental indicators and data documenting storm surge projections, pollution, and demographic and socioeconomic vulnerabilities. This research has galvanized industrial waterfront communities to advocate that the City’s Coastal Zone Management Plan and other regulatory structures work with vulnerable industries and community-based organizations to identify technical/financial resources and strategies to implement “best management practices” for climate adaptation interventions that yield healthier and more sustainable/resilient waterfronts.
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