Climate Safe Neighborhoods

The Climate Safe Neighborhoods Initiative

The climate crisis threatens to make our communities hotter and wetter than they have ever been before, but not all neighborhoods within a city will suffer the social, health, and financial consequences equally. Many neighborhoods subject to government-sanctioned racist housing practices in the 1930s and 1940s are most at risk today for experiencing extreme heat and flooding.

Extensive impermeable pavement and sparse tree canopies increase the risk of flooding and amplify the heat island effect. Our neighborhoods do not look the way they do by accident, and the mitigation measures needed to reduce risk will not appear by accident. The Climate Safe Neighborhoods Initiative is partnership that brings together Groundwork Trusts across the country to explore the relationship between historical race-based housing segregation and the current and predicted impacts of climate change.

Groundwork Hudson Valley has compiled, mapped and organized available data related to heat intensity across Yonkers, while adding GIS layers related to demographics, health, and environmental risks, which will be compared to other cities in the partnership. Technical support is being provided by the New School Urban Systems Lab, the City of Yonkers, Sarah Lawrence College Department of Economics, Groundwork USA, Westchester County, CAPA Strategies, and NASA DEVELOP.

The data will be used to engage community, business, and government stakeholders in a shared effort to identify and prioritize mitigation efforts to abate the worst impacts of extreme heat and flooding.

Check out our Climate Safe Neighborhoods Story Map!

This interactive map shows the relationship between historic redlining, heat islands, tree canopy, and impervious surface in Yonkers, NY.

Modeling Flood Risk from Intense Rain Events and Potential mitigation with Green Infrastructure - a Project by The New School Urban Systems Lab and Groundwork Hudson Valley
Click the page to see the full report. 

Climate Safe Yonkers Task Force

Under the Climate Safe Neighborhoods initiative, the Climate Safe Yonkers Task Force is a dynamic group of 30 individuals who are deeply rooted in the Yonkers community. These dedicated members, encompassing residents, workers, and students, possess a shared commitment to fostering a well-informed and climate-resilient Yonkers. They ensure that the community is equipped with comprehensive knowledge about climate risks, preparedness measures, and equitable adaptation strategies to address the impacts of climate change, with a particular focus on combating extreme heat. By actively participating in community-based initiatives, the Task Force strives to represent and advocate for the diverse needs and interests of Yonkers' population.

Goals and Vision

The goals and vision of the Climate Safe Yonkers Task Force are:

  • Learn about extreme heat and its effects on communities, as well as what other cities are doing to address this issue.
  • Build community-based leadership for climate preparedness.
  • Provide input to the Yonkers Climate Action Plan.
  • Promote policy tools.
  • Identify local vulnerabilities.
  • Promote physical heat mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Yonkers Climate Action Plan

The Yonkers Climate Action Plan launched in June 2023, is a comprehensive plan highlighting a year of research, examination, and partnerships. The plan aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while improving residents' quality of life, strengthening the economic vitality of local businesses, creating new jobs, fostering a healthy community and natural environment, and making Yonkers more resilient.

Groundwork Hudson Valley’s Climate Safe Yonkers Task Force played a crucial role in the planning and development process of the Yonkers Climate Action Plan. Championed by Mayor Mike Spano, the City of Yonkers actively engaged Groundwork Hudson Valley's Climate Safe Yonkers Task Force, soliciting valuable feedback and insights from residents, ensuring an equitable and context-specific approach to shaping the plan's objectives and strategies.

Explore the Yonkers Climate Action Plan to discover its resilient and community-driven vision for a greener future.

Groundwork Hudson Valley, city officials, and members of the community at the Yonkers Climate Action press announcement.