Project Title

The Waterfront Project

Grant Amount


Priority Area


Date Awarded

April 15, 2013








Hurricane Sandy confirmed the vulnerability of New York’s waterfront communities and the need for resiliency planning for future severe weather occurrences.

Several of these waterfront areas have a large industrial concentration of chemical-manufacturing plants, garbage-transfer stations, and sewage treatment centers that are also in close proximity to residential areas. Prior to Hurricane Sandy, the City of New York had not analyzed the public health exposure risks associated with clusters of heavy industrial uses in these vulnerable locations. These industrial businesses generate large amounts of toxins and, if compromised, threaten the health and quality of life of some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. With funding from NYHealth, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) pursued a Hurricane Sandy recovery agenda that emphasizes an environmentally responsible rebuilding strategy.

Under this grant, NYC-EJA worked with its Waterfront Justice Project to reform the City’s industrial waterfront policies and to reduce cumulative contamination and public health risks posed by climate change. NYC-EJA conducted two assessments and three advocacy efforts. Pratt Institute assisted in conducting the two assessments; one will focus on existing public data concerning potential toxic public health risks, and a second will develop recommendations for reducing the risk of contamination and mitigating the consequences of future severe storms. NYC-EJA also formed a coalition to advocate for waterfront policy reform, a Hurricane Sandy environmental recovery agenda, and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-supported working group on climate change and industrial waterfronts. At the close of the grant, NYC-EJA produced a report on best management practices to address threats to industrial businesses and a policy brief on reducing the vulnerability of New York City’s industrial waterfronts.