Climate Research Center Coming to Governors Island

Mayor hails plan to “fight climate change, create jobs, and showcase our city’s world-class research and scientific talent”

01 Oct 2020 | 01:31

The Trust for Governors Island recently unveiled plans to develop a center for climate solutions, which could create 8,000 jobs and $1 billion in economic impact for NYC.

The proposed center will provide a central convening spot for researchers, advocates, innovators and students from around the globe focused on climate change solutions, while offering opportunities for public engagement, bringing hands-on education, programming and advocacy initiatives around climate and environmental issues.

“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.”

The proposal could include: an academic or research anchor institution to study the impacts of climate change to advance related fields, a platform for environmental justice organizations and environmental nonprofits to research, host programs and connect with New Yorkers. Governors Island, in New York Harbor, is south of Manhattan (of which it is a part) and near Brooklyn.

In the coming months, the Trust will work with stakeholders, local elected officials, agencies and New Yorkers to help bring the vision to life, including a proposed rezoning of the South Island. The new district would allow for academic, commercial, non-profit, cultural and hospitality facilities.

Flood-Resistant Construction

The rezoning proposal, expected to enter the city’s 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. All buildings across the development sites will strictly adhere to flood-resistant construction methods.

“As we recover from the ongoing pandemic, New York City will continue to do what we do best – bring forward bold and creative solutions to pressing problems,” said Trust for Governors Island Chair Alicia Glen. “As a city of islands with 520 miles of coastline, the devastating impacts of climate change remain one of the most urgent issues facing our communities. This exciting plan for Governors Island will bring a tremendous resource that not only represents an important step forward for the City’s recovery, but also acknowledges and builds upon our history as the global center for innovation and progress.”

The rezoning would expand the Island’s open space, increase its public connections and protect all open space on the South Island. No zoning changes are being proposed for the North Island/Governors Island Historic District. All earned revenue generated on the Island through the rezoning will stay on the Island and go toward funding park maintenance, property management, transportation, security, utilities and infrastructure, creating a long-term path for the Trust’s financial sustainability.

The Trust plans to continue to issue requests for proposals for historic buildings within the North Island, including cultural, educational and amenity uses to support expanded public access.

“Even before the pandemic, the need for preparation and innovation around our world’s most urgent crises was clear,” said Trust for Governors Island President & CEO Clare Newman. “As one of New York City’s great public places, Governors Island can serve as a powerful platform and living laboratory for research, innovation and advocacy. We’re thrilled to announce a vision that realizes the full potential of Governors Island, marrying its extraordinary open space, history, arts and culture with a visible center for confronting one of the defining issues of our time.”