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Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Announces Next Steps in Plans to Estab­lish Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solutions

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Photo by Roger Kapsalis

The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island (the Trust) today announced the next steps in the com­pe­ti­tion to estab­lish a glob­al Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island. As the final phase of a glob­al com­pe­ti­tion, four teams led by top uni­ver­si­ties will respond to a tar­get­ed Request for Pro­pos­als (RFP) released today. Announced as part of May­or Eric Adams’ Rebuild, Renew, Rein­vent: A Blue­print for NYC’s Eco­nom­ic Recov­ery,” the RFP will select an anchor aca­d­e­m­ic and research part­ner to build a new state of the art insti­tu­tion ded­i­cat­ed to research­ing and demon­strat­ing urban cli­mate solu­tions, and advanc­ing edu­ca­tion and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for New York­ers in cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal fields.

The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island will posi­tion New York City as the world­wide leader in devel­op­ing solu­tions to the cri­sis of our time while cre­at­ing thou­sands of new jobs to fuel our city’s post-COVID recov­ery,” said Deputy May­or for Eco­nom­ic and Work­force Devel­op­ment Maria Tor­res-Springer. The new­ly cre­at­ed Cli­mate Cen­ter Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee is made up of experts in their field that are com­mit­ted to the long-term health of our city and our plan­et, and we look for­ward to their guid­ance as we enter the next phase of this process.”

Today’s announce­ment rep­re­sents a cru­cial step in estab­lish­ing New York City as a glob­al leader in the devel­op­ment of equi­table cli­mate solu­tions,” said Clare New­man, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. Gov­er­nors Island’s sin­gu­lar envi­ron­ment, grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty of ten­ants and part­ners, and cli­mate-resilient land­scapes make it an unpar­al­leled place to devel­op, show­case, and scale new ideas. We look for­ward to work­ing with the final­ist teams, as well as the new­ly formed Cli­mate Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee, on the next phase of this project.”

New York City is at the fore­front of gen­er­at­ing inno­v­a­tive and equi­table solu­tions to some of our nation’s most com­plex chal­lenges,” said Ali­cia Glen, Founder and Man­ag­ing Prin­ci­pal of MSquared and Chair of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Board of Direc­tors. The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island will fur­ther estab­lish our City as a glob­al leader in com­bat­ing the cli­mate cri­sis. We are excit­ed to work with the final­ist teams and are grate­ful for the amaz­ing set of stake­hold­ers, aca­d­e­mics, and thought lead­ers for being our strate­gic part­ners on the next steps of this journey.”

New York City is fac­ing some of the most com­plex cli­mate adap­ta­tion chal­lenges in the world,” said Kizzy Charles-Guz­man, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the NYC May­or’s Office of Cli­mate and Envi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice. The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will bring togeth­er action­able sci­ence, com­mu­ni­ty-based part­ner­ships, and inno­v­a­tive and equi­table solu­tions to com­mu­ni­ties on the front­line of the cli­mate cri­sis. We look for­ward to learn­ing from the world-class work on Gov­er­nors Island and applaud the Trust for their cli­mate leadership.”

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 and will serve as a nation­al mod­el for grow­ing green- and blue-tech sec­tors. At full build, the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will cre­ate 7,000 per­ma­nent jobs on Gov­er­nors Island alone, and near­ly $1B in fis­cal impact for the city of New York.

The four teams invit­ed to move to the next stage in the com­pe­ti­tion by respond­ing to the RFP were select­ed as final­ists to anchor the Cen­ter based on visions put forth in response to a com­pet­i­tive Request for Expres­sions of Inter­est released in June, 2021 and are 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

As part of the RFP released today, select­ed final­ist teams will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fur­ther refine their pro­posed cur­ricu­lum and research pro­gram, design of facil­i­ties, phas­ing, and team mem­bers and struc­ture. Pre-qual­i­fied respon­dents will be required to fur­ther artic­u­late their vision for how their project will advance cli­mate-relat­ed fields and fur­ther the City’s goals, includ­ing con­nect­ing New York­ers with edu­ca­tion­al and work­force train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, show­cas­ing inno­v­a­tive approach­es to sus­tain­able and resilient design, and enhanc­ing Gov­er­nors Island’s unique phys­i­cal set­ting, and cre­at­ing broad­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for New York­ers. Respons­es to the RFP are due July 27, 2022. To read the full RFP doc­u­ment, please vis­it gov​is​land​.org.

May­or Eric Adams and the Trust also announced today the for­ma­tion of an Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee to sup­port the selec­tion of an anchor aca­d­e­m­ic and research insti­tu­tion for the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions. This group of experts from cli­mate sci­ence, pol­i­cy, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, phil­an­thropy, and busi­ness will advise on the city’s efforts to cre­ate a Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island through­out the RFP process and will pro­vide input on prospec­tive aca­d­e­m­ic and research part­ners’ pro­pos­als to a selec­tion com­mit­tee made up of City and Trust officials.

The Cli­mate Cen­ter Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee announced today includes the fol­low­ing members:

  • Eddie Bautista, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, NYC-EJA
  • Dana Bour­land, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, Envi­ron­ment and Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives, The JPB Foundation
  • Chris­t­ian Bra­ne­on, Cli­mate Sci­en­tist, NASA God­dard Insti­tute for Space Studies
  • Mar­co Car­rión, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, El Puente
  • Mark Cham­bers, Senior Direc­tor for Build­ing Emis­sions and Com­mu­ni­ty Resilience, White House Coun­cil on Envi­ron­men­tal Qual­i­ty, Exec­u­tive Office of Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Biden, For­mer Direc­tor of Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, City of New York 
  • Dr. Luz Clau­dio, Pro­fes­sor of Envi­ron­men­tal Med­i­cine and Chief of the Divi­sion of Inter­na­tion­al Health, Icahn School of Med­i­cine at Mount Sinai
  • Cheryl Cohen Effron, Senior Advi­sor, Tish­man Speyer
  • Adam Freed, Prin­ci­pal, Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, Bloomberg Asso­ciates
  • Chante Har­ris, Direc­tor, Cli­mate Invest­ment and Part­ner­ships, Ven­ture for Cli­mateTech, Sec­ond Muse
  • Kyle Kim­ball, Vice Pres­i­dent, Gov­ern­ment Rela­tions, ConEdi­son
  • Michael Northrop, Pro­gram Direc­tor, Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, Rock­e­feller Broth­ers Fund
  • Michael Oppen­heimer, Albert G. Mil­bank Pro­fes­sor of Geo­sciences and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs, Prince­ton University
  • Henk Ovink, Spe­cial Envoy for Inter­na­tion­al Water Affairs, King­dom of the Netherlands
  • Julie Tighe, Pres­i­dent, New York League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters

Fol­low­ing the response dead­line, the City and the Trust will launch a process in Fall 2022 where infor­ma­tion on received pro­pos­als will be shared with the pub­lic for input to inform the selec­tion of an aca­d­e­m­ic and research partner.

I am proud of our com­pe­ti­tion final­ists, who embody New York City’s lead­er­ship in envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment,” said Sen­a­tor Kirsten Gilli­brand. I want to thank New York City lead­ers and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary invest­ments and resources to help our envi­ron­men­tal lead­ers of tomor­row seek bold, inno­v­a­tive, and inclu­sive solu­tions to cli­mate change.”

The release of the tar­get­ed RFP for the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island brings us one step clos­er to estab­lish­ing a world class insti­tu­tion to tack­le the exis­ten­tial threat of cli­mate change”, said Con­gress­man Jer­ry Nadler. When this process is final­ly com­plet­ed, New York will be a leader in edu­ca­tion, research and col­lab­o­ra­tion around cli­mate change and help bring green jobs and infra­struc­ture to our city.”

The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will play an inte­gral role in our city’s work to respond and adapt to cli­mate change, and I’m excit­ed for the next phase of this process,” said Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Mark Levine. These four final­ist teams will have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to ensure the Cli­mate Cen­ter rev­o­lu­tion­izes how we under­stand and plan for the future. I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the Trust and local com­mu­ni­ty through­out the selec­tion process, and could not be more proud that this work will be tak­ing place on Gov­er­nors Island.”

Encour­ag­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and inno­va­tion from experts and part­ners to help find new ways to com­bat the chal­lenges of cli­mate change is expect­ed to move the nee­dle fur­ther,” said Brook­lyn Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Anto­nio Reynoso. I look for­ward to see­ing what our final­ists put forth for the future Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island.”

I con­grat­u­late the final­ists on mak­ing it to the next stage of this process, and the Gov­er­nors Island Trust for attract­ing such strong con­tenders seek­ing to help cre­ate the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions,” said State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Kavanagh, who rep­re­sents Gov­er­nors Island. I look for­ward to learn­ing more about the pro­pos­als in the com­ing months and work­ing with the new­ly formed Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee as the process moves for­ward. I appre­ci­ate the Trust’s con­tin­ued efforts to engage with the com­mu­ni­ty on this and its ded­i­ca­tion to address­ing the cli­mate cri­sis and sup­port­ing equi­table cli­mate solutions.”

Cli­mate change is the exis­ten­tial chal­lenge of our time, and New York City can lead the way in cre­at­ing real solu­tions for our com­mu­ni­ties, and for cities around the world,” said Coun­cil Mem­ber Jim Gen­naro, Chair of the Com­mit­tee on Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion. Locat­ed at the cen­ter of New York Har­bor, Gov­er­nors Island is well posi­tioned to be a hub for sci­en­tif­ic research, learn­ing, and job train­ing to make New York the place for glob­al cli­mate action. I com­mend May­or Eric Adams and the Trust for mov­ing this project for­ward, and look for­ward to work­ing with them in cre­at­ing this cen­ter for cli­mate solutions.”

Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty Board 1 is excit­ed to see for­ward progress towards the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island. The Board is eager to embark on the next steps of engage­ment with the pub­lic when respons­es are received for this tar­get­ed RFP. We look for­ward to work­ing with the Trust towards com­mon goals of address­ing the cli­mate cri­sis, and also in bal­anc­ing progress on the Island with preser­va­tion of its beloved bucol­ic open spaces and pub­lic assets,” said Tam­my Meltzer, Chair­per­son of Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty Board 1.

This RFP is an excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for the final­ists to refine their visions for how cli­mate research, inno­va­tion and demon­stra­tion can be inter­wo­ven into the fab­ric of our unique pub­lic space,” said Mer­ritt Birn­baum, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Friends of Gov­er­nors Island. The select­ed aca­d­e­m­ic part­ner will bring new resources to enliv­en the Island’s indoor and out­door spaces year-round. We look for­ward to work­ing along­side the Trust and the Island’s com­mu­ni­ty of cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal-focused orga­ni­za­tions to con­tin­ue enhanc­ing the public’s expe­ri­ence of Gov­er­nors Island.”

The Gov­er­nors Island Cli­mate Cen­ter is tak­ing anoth­er impor­tant step clos­er to real­i­ty,” said Tom Wright, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Region­al Plan Asso­ci­a­tion. Since RPA first launched the Gov­er­nors Island Alliance in 1995 to pro­mote pub­lic uses for the island, we have been pleased to see Gov­er­nors Island become a vital and impor­tant pub­lic ameni­ty. Now, as the region grap­ples with the cli­mate cri­sis, we are proud to stand with the Trust as it becomes a leader for urban cli­mate research, green jobs train­ing, and resiliency.”

Every step in this process brings New York City clos­er to being a leader in an endeav­or that is vital to our future,” said Jes­si­ca Lap­pin, Pres­i­dent of the Alliance for Down­town New York. The Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter will ulti­mate­ly bring two things we des­per­ate­ly need: jobs and hope in our bat­tle against the inex­orable forces of cli­mate change.”

The Asso­ci­a­tion for a Bet­ter New York (ABNY) is pleased to see the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions is one step clos­er to real­i­ty. By issu­ing the Request for Pro­pos­als (RFP) to these four pres­ti­gious final­ists, the Cli­mate Cen­ter Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee undoubt­ed­ly will receive inno­v­a­tive plans focused on cre­at­ing a green, equi­table future for all New York­ers for gen­er­a­tions to come. We applaud May­or Adams and The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for their ded­i­ca­tion to cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for New York­ers in the fast-grow­ing cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal fields, and we look for­ward to the pub­lic review process,” said Mel­va Miller, CEO of the Asso­ci­a­tion for a Bet­ter New York.

Green City Force is excit­ed about the holis­tic approach and com­mit­ment to econ­o­my, ecol­o­gy and equi­ty, fea­tured in the design and vision of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions. The glob­al Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions will be a crit­i­cal fac­tor in NYC’s next chap­ter pri­or­i­tiz­ing real and col­lec­tive action to address cli­mate and resilien­cy in all bor­oughs and cor­ners of our #future­greenci­ty. Recog­ni­tion of the vari­ety of inputs and stake­hold­ers need­ed to build long-term, sol­id careers in the green econ­o­my for all New York­ers is a crit­i­cal part of the frame­work. We look for­ward to work­ing with the cen­ter as a vital new part of the NYC ecosys­tem work­ing to build the resilient and thriv­ing NYC we all need for a just tran­si­tion,” said Tonya Gayle, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Green City Force.

This extra­or­di­nary and vital ini­tia­tive is a great source of excite­ment here at the Cli­mate Muse­um,” said Miran­da Massie, Direc­tor of the Cli­mate Muse­um. We’re proud to have part­nered with the Gov­er­nors Island team from our very begin­ning, and delight­ed to be part of this crit­i­cal next step in a momen­tous time.”

The future of Gov­er­nors Island, one of the jew­els of New York City, is right­ly con­nect­ed to cli­mate solu­tions need­ed for our col­lec­tive future in the com­ing decades and cen­tu­ry,” said Cort­ney Koenig Wor­rall, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Water­front Alliance. Today’s announce­ment is excit­ing as it rep­re­sents one of the final steps in deter­min­ing the direc­tion the City and its future insti­tu­tion­al part­ner will take to bring local and glob­al cli­mate solu­tions, inno­va­tion, and cli­mate jobs to New York City. The cli­mate cri­sis calls for trans­for­ma­tion­al solu­tions for com­mu­ni­ties, indus­try, plan­ning, and infra­struc­ture and we are pleased the oppor­tu­ni­ty at Gov­er­nors Island reflects this challenge.”

New York has so much poten­tial to be a glob­al leader in find­ing solu­tions to cli­mate change,” said Jonathan Bowles, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor for Cen­ter for an Urban Future. Anchor­ing this research cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island will help the city get there and help spark loads of good jobs in a part of the econ­o­my that’s poised for con­sid­er­able growth.”

Con­grat­u­la­tions to the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for its progress in estab­lish­ing a Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions,” said GrowNYC Pres­i­dent and CEO Mar­cel Van Ooyen. GrowNY­C’s part­ner­ship with the Trust, allow­ing for the oper­a­tion of our Teach­ing Gar­den on the island, is invalu­able. We are so thank­ful for the many years of sup­port from the Trust and look for­ward to work­ing close­ly with the team that wins the bid.”

It’s encour­ag­ing to see a com­mit­ment to edu­ca­tion and work­force devel­op­ment estab­lished in the foun­da­tion of The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions,” said Pete Mali­nows­ki, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of Bil­lion Oys­ter Project. Gov­er­nors Island ten­ants, like Bil­lion Oys­ter Project and the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School, view the new Cen­ter as a sig­nif­i­cant step towards build­ing a vibrant, restora­tive, and acces­si­ble New York Harbor.”

Gov­er­nors Island con­tin­ues to lead the charge in being the pre­mier envi­ron­men­tal resource for the stu­dents of the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School and the NYC Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion,” said Jef­frey Che­tirko, Prin­ci­pal of the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School. The wide array of com­mu­ni­ties, who inhab­it Gov­er­nors Island, rep­re­sent the ide­al cur­ricu­lum for our city’s stu­dents’ as they pre­pare for their future: edu­ca­tion, play, well­ness, art, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, hor­ti­cul­ture, restora­tion and now Cli­mate Solu­tion Research. The NYC May­or and Gov­er­nors Island lead­er­ship have cre­at­ed a fair and equi­table process for the inter­est­ed insti­tu­tions. With the inclu­sion of a Cli­mate Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee, experts in their fields will ensure our NYC stu­dents will ben­e­fit in edu­ca­tion and work expe­ri­ence from the cre­ation of the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tion for years to come”

Gov­er­nors Island select­ed a fan­tas­tic group of con­tenders for the site,” said Amy Chester, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Rebuild by Design. We are excit­ed to see the inno­v­a­tive cli­mate solu­tions the teams will bring to both the Island, and to our City.”