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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.

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.”