This New York Island Will Be the Next Global Center for Climate Solutions

WXY Architecture + Urban Design’s proposal positions the Big Apple as a leader in the fight against climate change.

Nathan Bahadursingh Nathan Bahadursingh

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The Trust for Governors Island has unveiled plans to develop a center for climate solutions on New York City’s Governors Island. Designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design, the proposed center will serve as a public living laboratory, providing a central convening spot for researchers, advocates, innovators and students from around the world focused on combating climate change. 

Governors Island

The center for climate solutions will offer meaningful opportunities for public engagement and provide hands-on education, programming and advocacy initiatives relating to climate and environmental issues directly to New Yorkers. The proposal comes as the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for coordinated, cross-sector planning that centers equity around the world’s most urgent issues. 

Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island projects that the center will create 8,000 new jobs and $1 billion in economic impact for New York City. Currently under development, the proposal could include an academic or research anchor institution to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields.

Following that, a living laboratory will showcase solutions and invite conversations on the environment through public art and programming. The center will also serve as a platform for environmental justice organizations and environmental non-profits to research, host programs and meetings and connect with New Yorkers. 

The center for climate solutions will support the academic anchor through the creation of an immersive community of dormitories. Furthermore, it will provide a space for policy, advocacy and programming organizations to engage with the island’s nearly 1 million annual visitors.

“Governors Island has a distinguished past in New York City, and an even brighter future,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re proud to continue the growth of Governors Island as a resource for New York City to fight climate change, create jobs, and showcase our city’s world-class research and scientific talent,” he continues.

Governors Island provides an ideal location for such an ambitious proposal. It’s accessible by ferry and is in close proximity to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. In order to bring this vision to life the Trust for Governors Island will work with stakeholders, local elected officials, agencies and New Yorkers in the coming months.

A proposed rezoning of the south island will bring a resilient, mixed-use climate innovation district. The new district would allow for academic, commercial, non-profit, cultural, meeting and hospitality facilities. 

The rezoning proposal, expected to enter the City’s formal public land-use review process in October, would extend uses allowed in the North Island to designated South Island development sites to support a year-round, 24/7 mixed-use district, anchored by an educational or research center. Moreover, all buildings across the development sites will strictly adhere to flood-resistant construction methods.

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All images via WXY Architecture + Urban Design / bloomimages

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