City should consider heat effect in Gowanus rezoning: report

A portion of $600M in additional value could go to pay for green infrastructure

TRD New York /
Jan.January 08, 2018 03:50 PM

The Gowanus canal and James Lima (Credit: JLP+D)

A portion of an estimated $600 million in value that could be created by rezoning Gowanus could be captured to help fund infrastructure investments to help mitigate the “urban heat island” effect, according to a new report.

As the city considers rezoning the industrial Brooklyn neighborhood, the Urban Land Institute put out a report that recommends the city take into consideration how new developments could impact heat and temperature in the neighborhood.

Gowanus, unlike neighboring areas such as Park Slope and Carrol Gardens, was developed without the abundant tree coverage and shade that cools neighborhoods. As a result, Gowanus is more vulnerable to heat than its neighbors.

“Offsetting the impacts of this [urban heat island] phenomenon should be a high priority during any redevelopment plan for Gowanus,” said James Lima, president of James Lima Planning + Development, who chaired the ULI panel that produced the study. “The anticipated rezoning process presents a timely opportunity to coordinate and implement numerous important measures that can help ensure the health and vitality of Gowanus residents for years to come.”

ULI put forward several proposals for how to mitigate the heat effect, such as creating a Green Infrastructure Fund – which could be funded through tax assessments or penalties on developers who don’t comply with certain requirements – or providing density bonuses for buildings that include things like green roofs. – Rich Bockmann


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