Resilience in Kingston, NY
The City of Kingston has 5 miles of tidal waterfront in an area of cultural, recreational, residential and commercial development. The riverfront community is facing climate risks on a greater scale than its small population and capacity-limited government can easily address. With 12 inches of sea level rise, Kingston has over 100 acres at risk of increased coastal flooding; by 36 inches those acres will be permanently inundated. Much of the area at risk of inundation is within or near a low to moderate income neighborhood, as well as the city’s waste water treatment plant, city beach, trolley line and museum, numerous restaurants, and many more assets. However, much of the waterfront is also vacant. The challenge is how to maintain the connection to the water and the waterfront character of the downtown area while building resiliency both in existing infrastructure and future planning.
In order to address waterfront resiliency -- both for flooding, storm surge and sea level rise -- the city has worked with students from Cornell University, in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program, to host the “Climate Adaptive Design Studio”, a student research effort using design to inspire climate adaptation.
With their participation in the SCI program, Kingston staff and institutional stakeholders are poised to move those designs beyond the concept phase and into implementation and construction. The city wants to continue public engagement to expand the number and diversity of stakeholders and educate those most at risk, but ultimately success will depend on advancement of resilient economic development along the Waterfront.