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Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

May­or Bill de Bla­sio Announces Final­ists to Anchor City’s Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island

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May­or Bill de Bla­sio and The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island (the Trust) today announced the next steps in the City of New York’s ini­tia­tive to estab­lish a glob­al Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island. After receiv­ing 12 pro­pos­als as part of a com­pet­i­tive Request for Expres­sions of Inter­est (RFEI) process on Octo­ber 13, 2021, today the May­or and the Trust are announc­ing that four final­ist teams will move for­ward in com­pet­ing to build, pro­gram and oper­ate an insti­tu­tion on Gov­er­nors Island ded­i­cat­ed to research­ing and show­cas­ing how cities around the world can equi­tably adapt to cli­mate change. 

Final­ists announced today include teams led by the fol­low­ing institutions:

  • The City Uni­ver­si­ty of New York (CUNY) and The New School
  • Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (MIT)
  • North­east­ern University
  • Stony Brook University 

Fol­low­ing today’s announce­ment, final­ist teams will respond to a com­pet­i­tive Request for Pro­pos­als process to be launched in Spring, 2022, where they will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther refine their pro­gram and design.

Gov­er­nors Island is a jew­el of our har­bor, and today we’re tak­ing an impor­tant step toward trans­form­ing it into the nerve cen­ter for our city’s fight against cli­mate change,” said May­or Bill de Bla­sio. These final­ists have sub­mit­ted thought­ful, bold pro­pos­als to lead that mis­sion. We look for­ward to hear­ing more from them as we find the per­fect part­ner to make New York City an inter­na­tion­al leader in solv­ing the planet’s most exis­ten­tial challenge.”

Dur­ing the last eight years we’ve led with trans­for­ma­tive projects and poli­cies that advance equi­table cli­mate action, and the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will con­tin­ue that lega­cy in fur­ther­ing New York City’s role as a glob­al leader in edu­ca­tion and research to tack­le one of the defin­ing chal­lenges of our time,” said Deputy May­or for Hous­ing and Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Vic­ki Been. The final­ists announced today pro­pose ambi­tious visions that will cre­ate a safer and more resilient future for cities around the world, and we are thrilled to move for­ward with the next phase of this crit­i­cal invest­ment in cli­mate solutions.”

Address­ing the cli­mate cri­sis through inclu­sive and cross-sec­tor approach­es is imper­a­tive for cities, and an oppor­tu­ni­ty that New York City is poised to lead” said Clare New­man, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will advance New York City’s lead­er­ship in gen­er­at­ing the inno­v­a­tive solu­tions need­ed to cre­ate a resilient future for cities around the world, while expand­ing the train­ing and edu­ca­tion need­ed to pro­vide path­ways to green jobs. These four pro­pos­als show­case ambi­tious and inno­v­a­tive approach­es that under­score the urgency of address­ing chal­lenges posed by cli­mate change. We look for­ward to the next phase of this com­pe­ti­tion and bring­ing this project to life right here on Gov­er­nors Island.” 

Through­out his­to­ry, New York City has always been at the cen­ter of the con­ver­sa­tion in dri­ving solu­tions to the world’s great­est chal­lenges,” said Ali­cia Glen, Chair of the Board of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and for­mer Deputy May­or for Hous­ing and Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment. The pro­pos­als announced today match our ambi­tion for the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions, to build upon New York City’s diverse tal­ent, world-class insti­tu­tions, and resilience to be a mod­el that cities around the world will turn to as we devel­op prac­ti­cal solu­tions to adapt to cli­mate change and reduce the harm our cur­rent prac­tices are impos­ing on our planet.”

The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions is a ground­break­ing ini­tia­tive designed to fur­ther New York City as a glob­al leader in efforts to respond to the cli­mate cri­sis. On Gov­er­nors Island, the project will sup­port the research, devel­op­ment, and demon­stra­tion of equi­table cli­mate solu­tions for New York City that can be scaled and applied glob­al­ly. Through inter­dis­ci­pli­nary edu­ca­tion, train­ing, and broad pub­lic engage­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, the Cen­ter will sup­port the growth of green and cli­mate-relat­ed jobs dri­ving New York City’s recov­ery from the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. At full build, the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions is esti­mat­ed to cre­ate 7,000 direct jobs on Gov­er­nors Island alone and near­ly $1 bil­lion in fis­cal impact for New York City. 

The four final­ists announced today out­lined ambi­tious pro­pos­als to expand edu­ca­tion and applied research in New York City. Pro­pos­als pre­sent­ed a range of inno­v­a­tive approach­es to the unprece­dent­ed oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case scal­able solu­tions for urban envi­ron­ments. Appli­cants have focused on sus­tain­able and resilient build­ings, nature-based solu­tions, flood and stormwa­ter man­age­ment, ener­gy, cir­cu­lar econ­o­my and waste man­age­ment, cli­mate jus­tice and pub­lic health. In addi­tion, pro­pos­als out­line strate­gies to broad­en the study of cli­mate change across sec­tors, incor­po­rat­ing pol­i­cy and advo­ca­cy with sci­ence and advanc­ing urban adap­ta­tion strategies.

Pro­pos­als announced today were eval­u­at­ed based on how respon­dents artic­u­lat­ed a vision that address­es the City’s and the Trust’s goals as out­lined in the RFEI, includ­ing advanc­ing equi­table cli­mate solu­tions; mak­ing a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to Gov­er­nors Island’s phys­i­cal cam­pus and exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty of part­ners and vis­i­tors; and cre­at­ing broad­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for New Yorkers.

Details announced today regard­ing the final­ist pro­pos­als are out­lined as follows: 

CUNY and The New School (C3: Cli­mate Cen­ter Consortium)

Addi­tion­al Part­ners: Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, Barnard Col­lege, The Coop­er Union for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence and Art, New York Uni­ver­si­ty, Cary Insti­tute of Ecosys­tem Stud­ies, North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty, Uni­ver­si­ty at Albany, Woods Hole Oceano­graph­ic Institution

C3 is a new con­sor­tium of aca­d­e­m­ic, research, and com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions, focused on merg­ing the work of cli­mate adap­ta­tion, mit­i­ga­tion, and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice. Pro­gram­ming will include for­mal and infor­mal K‑16 learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, degree-grant­i­ng cours­es, career and work­force devel­op­ment, and con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cre­den­tials for edu­ca­tors and prac­ti­tion­ers. C3 pro­pos­es to uti­lize Gov­er­nors Island as a liv­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry for just cli­mate solu­tions through trans­dis­ci­pli­nary research, pro­to­typ­ing, and com­mer­cial­iza­tion, focused on build­ing design, tech­nol­o­gy, and nature-based solu­tions. Dis­ci­plines pro­posed include nat­ur­al and social sci­ences, engi­neer­ing, design, the arts, and human­i­ties. Adap­tive reuse of many of the Island’s his­toric build­ings will cre­ate class­rooms, research space, and dor­mi­to­ries. New spaces include areas for con­fer­ences and gath­er­ings, field and for­est research, and pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­to­ry and demon­stra­tion sites. C3 pro­pos­es to facil­i­tate col­lab­o­ra­tion across dis­ci­plines and sec­tors to devel­op cli­mate solu­tions with com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice orga­ni­za­tions, and stake­hold­er groups on Gov­er­nors Island, through­out New York City, and the world.

Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (MIT)

Addi­tion­al Part­ners: Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty and Barnard College 

MIT pro­pos­es to cre­ate a ded­i­cat­ed cli­mate change solu­tions and inno­va­tion cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island to sup­port the research, devel­op­ment, pro­to­typ­ing, and deploy­ment of urban-based solu­tions focused on New York City com­mu­ni­ties, in part­ner­ship with indus­try and gov­ern­ment. Man­aged by MIT’s Envi­ron­men­tal Solu­tions Ini­tia­tive, which is ded­i­cat­ed to mobi­liz­ing the Institute’s sci­en­tif­ic, engi­neer­ing, pol­i­cy, and design capac­i­ty to con­tribute to address­ing cli­mate change, the Gov­er­nors Island cen­ter would host researchers and fac­ul­ty from MIT and oth­er part­ner insti­tu­tions who would focus on the test­ing, rapid com­mer­cial­iza­tion, and deploy­ment of cli­mate solu­tions. Solu­tions-devel­op­ment would focus on the areas of trans­porta­tion, ener­gy, build­ings, the cir­cu­lar econ­o­my, equi­ty and cit­i­zen sci­ence, and bio­di­ver­si­ty. MIT’s cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island is pro­posed to include research space with a shared pub­lic con­fer­ence hall, pro­to­typ­ing facil­i­ties, and overnight accommodations.

North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty (Coastal Cities Impact Team)

Addi­tion­al Part­ners: Woods Hole Oceano­graph­ic Insti­tu­tion, The Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo, Uni­ver­si­ty of Puer­to Rico at Mayagüez

North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty is propos­ing to build a cli­mate solu­tions research and inno­va­tion cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island that engages the cit­i­zens of New York with researchers from around the world. The pro­posed cen­ter will be ded­i­cat­ed to dri­ving ideas and dis­cov­er­ies that make coastal cities and com­mu­ni­ties sus­tain­able, resilient, equi­table, and vibrant for all. The Coastal Cities Impact team, with exter­nal part­ners, is propos­ing to dri­ve cli­mate sci­ence, cli­mate jus­tice, and cli­mate adap­ta­tion from the deep ocean to coastal envi­ron­ments to city neigh­bor­hoods. North­east­ern would expand its inter­na­tion­al­ly renowned Coop­er­a­tive Edu­ca­tion pro­gram to accel­er­ate and expand edu­ca­tion­al and career pipelines to cli­mate-relat­ed jobs for New York­ers. Pro­posed facil­i­ties include research and lab­o­ra­to­ry space, space for start-up com­pa­nies and entre­pre­neurs to col­lab­o­rate on research projects, overnight accom­mo­da­tions, and a pub­lic exhi­bi­tion hall with inter­ac­tive learn­ing displays. 

Stony Brook Uni­ver­si­ty (New York Cli­mate Exchange) 

Found­ing Part­ners: Stony Brook Uni­ver­si­ty, Brookhaven Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ry, Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford, Uni­ver­si­ty of Washington

Addi­tion­al Aca­d­e­m­ic Part­ners: Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, SUNY Mar­itime, Rochester Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Tokyo 

The New York Cli­mate Exchange, led by Stony Brook Uni­ver­si­ty, pro­pos­es to cre­ate an inno­va­tion cam­pus ded­i­cat­ed to urban coastal sus­tain­abil­i­ty, water, food and ener­gy, and cli­mate jus­tice. The pro­gram would include con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties, a solu­tions-focused semes­ter abroad on Gov­er­nors Island, a K‑12 sum­mer inten­sive pro­gram pro­vid­ing stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work on hands-on projects along­side researchers and edu­ca­tors, com­pet­i­tive­ly award­ed research, test­ing, and demon­stra­tion space, and a fel­low­ship and intern­ship pro­gram. Con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties are pro­posed to offer cre­den­tials and micro-cre­den­tials for access­ing green jobs, focused on front­line com­mu­ni­ties and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with labor, work­force devel­op­ment, and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions. Pro­posed facil­i­ties include class­room and lab­o­ra­to­ry space, overnight accom­mo­da­tions and dor­mi­to­ries, and a con­fer­ence center.

In June 2021, the City and the Trust released an RFEI seek­ing an edu­ca­tion­al and research insti­tu­tion to anchor the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions. Respon­dents were offered the option to lease land with­in 33 acres of devel­op­ment sites, and/​or up to one mil­lion square feet of adap­tive reuse oppor­tu­ni­ty with­in his­toric build­ings on Gov­er­nors Island. The Trust and the City of New York have part­nered to make avail­able up to $150 mil­lion of cap­i­tal fund­ing that may be allo­cat­ed to sup­port this project. 

Con­grat­u­la­tions to today’s final­ists. There is no issue more press­ing than the health of our envi­ron­ment and I com­mend city lead­ers and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for invest­ing in this impor­tant project,” said Sen­a­tor Gilli­brand. New York has always been at the fore­front of tack­ling this cri­sis and the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will con­tin­ue our state’s lega­cy of seek­ing bold, inno­v­a­tive, and inclu­sive solu­tions to cli­mate change. We must be relent­less in our efforts and I will always serve as a fierce advo­cate in the Sen­ate in our fight to com­bat cli­mate change.”

Today’s announce­ment of the four final­ist teams brings us into the excit­ing next phase of estab­lish­ing an insti­tu­tion right here on Gov­er­nors Island which seeks to take an inno­v­a­tive, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to meet the exis­ten­tial threat of cli­mate change”, said Con­gress­man Jer­ry Nadler. The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will allow New York to be a leader in edu­ca­tion, research and col­lab­o­ra­tion around cli­mate change and help bring green jobs and infra­struc­ture to our city.”

I am thrilled to see the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions one step clos­er to being real­ized,” said Coun­cil Mem­ber Mar­garet Chin. The pro­pos­als from these four final­ists all bring so much poten­tial to cement­ing Gov­er­nors Island’s iden­ti­ty as a world-class research hub for cli­mate resilien­cy and sustainability.”

Gov­er­nors Island is a gem of our har­bor, and today’s announce­ment rep­re­sents anoth­er excit­ing step toward mak­ing the island acces­sible to the pub­lic year-round,” said Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Gale A. Brew­er.​“Con­grat­u­la­tions to the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and the four final­ists. I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to work togeth­er to ensure that the new Cli­mate Cen­ter com­ple­ments Gov­er­nors Island’s beau­ti­ful open space and places access to oppor­tu­ni­ty for New York­ers from less for­tu­nate back­grounds at its center.”

I con­grat­u­late all those advanc­ing to the next round of this process, and May­or Bill de Bla­sio, Clare New­man, and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for attract­ing so much inter­est from so many uni­ver­si­ties and research insti­tu­tions with the poten­tial to make the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions a tru­ly inno­v­a­tive and impact­ful place,” said State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Kavanagh, whose dis­trict includes the Island. There are many fac­tors that will need to be con­sid­ered as the respec­tive pro­pos­als pro­ceed, includ­ing the scale of devel­op­ment and how well it can be har­mo­nized with the open spaces, the exist­ing struc­tures, and the unique char­ac­ter of Gov­er­nors Island. But today’s announce­ment val­i­dates the basic premise that it may be pos­si­ble to cre­ate an impor­tant new pub­lic-spir­it­ed insti­tu­tion on the Island to focus on one of the world’s great­est chal­lenges: pro­tect­ing the hab­it­abil­i­ty of our plan­et and the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of our com­mu­ni­ties from the grow­ing threat of cli­mate change.”

I was thrilled last June when May­or de Bla­sio and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island announced the world­wide com­pe­ti­tion to iden­ti­fy a con­sor­tium of insti­tu­tions to cre­ate and lead the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions – a world-lead­ing research and edu­ca­tion­al insti­tute to devel­op solu­tions for the world’s cli­mate chal­lenge and to pre­pare the cli­mate lead­ers of tomor­row. The May­or and I have worked togeth­er over the decades to make New York City a nation­al leader in cli­mate solu­tions, but this Cen­ter will put the world’s great­est city where it right­ful­ly belongs – as the home and incu­ba­tor for world-lead­ing cli­mate sci­ence inno­va­tion and the indi­vid­u­als who will turn that inno­va­tion into real­i­ty,” said Coun­cil Mem­ber James F. Gen­naro. Today, we announce four world-class teams of final­ists that will par­tic­i­pate in the next phase of the selec­tion process. As Chair of the NYC Council’s Com­mit­tee on Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, I look for­ward to the next phase of this excit­ing com­pe­ti­tion, and to col­lab­o­rat­ing with the suc­cess­ful con­sor­tium to make City gov­ern­ment a full part­ner in its glob­al mission.”