From the Mayor’s Office

Climate change will cause rising temperatures and more frequent and intense heat waves, posing a growing challenge in New York City, especially for our most vulnerable residents. In Mayor de Blasio’s One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (OneNYC), the City is focused on initiatives to better understand and mitigate the effects of extreme heat in our communities, and we know that the risk of death from extreme heat is highest among those without adequate cooling, in neighborhoods with higher poverty rates, and where there is less land covered by trees and other vegetation.

Extreme heat meets at the intersection of science, public health and safety, and quality of life in cities and exacerbates social vulnerabilities. It therefore requires interdisciplinary responses—and any response to extreme heat must include residents impacted by heat, policy-makers, architects, urban designers, and landscape architects. With this program Extreme Heat: Hot Cities – Adapting to a Hotter World, DfRR and the design community have provided a call to action for the design community to play a role in solving this challenge.

The symposium was a convening of leaders to focus on urban heat management and needed responses by built environment and design experts to the immediate impact of heat waves. The City of New York is committed to convening and learning best practices from stakeholders who are working to address the risks associated with extreme heat, as shown with the launch of the City’s Urban Heat Island working group.

The dialogue from this symposium brought a new focus to heat risk planning in cities, and provided a stage for us to come together around concrete actions. We look forward to forging new partnerships and advancing strategies to reduce heat vulnerability for all New Yorkers.


Writ­ten by Daniel A. Zarrilli, PE, Senior Director, Climate Policy and Programs