Three University-Led Proposals Offer Visions for Leading Institution Dedicated to Education, Training, and Development of Equitable Climate Solutions
Building on “Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery,” Mayor Adams’ Vision for Governors Island Will Position New York City as Climate Leader With 10-Year Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy Approaching, Creating 7,000 Permanent Jobs and $1 Billion in Economic Impact
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island unveiled the three finalist proposals under consideration as part of the city’s global competition to create a new, state-of-the-art educational and research institution on Governors Island dedicated to researching, developing, and demonstrating equitable urban climate solutions. As the final phase of this competitive process, finalists announced in December 2021 were invited to respond to a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) released in April 2022 as part of Mayor Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery.” The winning program and design for a premier educational and research institution as part of the Center for Climate Solutions will be chosen from among the three remaining proposals, summarized anonymously due to the ongoing competitive procurement process.
“Under our administration, New York City will be a global leader in studying and tackling climate change while rapidly growing our green economy – and the Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island is at the heart of that vision,” said Mayor Adams. “These finalist proposals reflect our bold vision for a climate hub that will train and employ the next generation of climate experts, not only creating economic opportunity for New Yorkers but also positioning us at the cutting edge of critical research and at the front of the line to benefit from the big ideas that will emerge from here. I look forward to advancing a project that will surely be a game-changer for this city and the entire world.”
“The Governors Island Center for Climate Solutions could not be more timely as New York City is poised to become the worldwide leader in addressing the crisis of our time,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria-Torres Springer. “We are thrilled to see these inspiring proposals from the three finalists reflect the city’s ambitions to make New York Harbor the obvious choice for climate education.”
“As one of our city’s great public places, Governors Island is poised to serve as a visible destination for New Yorkers to research, test, and engage with equitable urban solutions to the climate crisis,” said Clare Newman, president and CEO, Trust for Governors Island. “We’re thrilled to receive three inspiring proposals to anchor a Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island, which will bring together research, education, training, convening, and public engagement around one of the defining challenges of our time, all while preserving and expanding our open space, cultural, and historic resources. We look forward to working with the Adams administration, responding teams, and New Yorkers as this visionary project comes to life.”
The Center for Climate Solutions is a groundbreaking initiative designed to cement New York City as a global leader in efforts to respond to the climate crisis. On Governors Island, the project will support the research, development, and demonstration of equitable climate solutions for New York City that can be scaled and applied globally.
Through interdisciplinary education, training, and broad public engagement opportunities, the Center will support the growth of green and climate-related jobs driving New York City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and serve as a national model for growing these sectors. At full build, the Center for Climate Solutions will create 7,000 permanent jobs on Governors Island alone and nearly $1 billion in economic impact for New York City.
Proposals received include several ambitious visions to advance interdisciplinary research focused on urban adaptation, urban environments, public policy, environmental justice, and public health while expanding educational and workforce development opportunities for New Yorkers. The three finalist proposals unveiled today contain a range of research and educational programs, including programs and engagement opportunities for K-12 students; undergraduate and graduate-level programs; adult education and workforce training opportunities in the green and blue jobs sectors; incubators and accelerator spaces for nonprofits and entrepreneurs working in the climate space; and broad public programming, convening, and engagement opportunities for visitors to the Island.
Responses to the RFP included proposals from the following university-led teams:
- Coastal Cities Impact Team, led by Northeastern University, in partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Fordham University, Cooper Union, Manhattan College, Johns Hopkins University, Jackson State University, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, University de Los Andes, Pontifica University Catolica de Chile, Imperial College London, Ben-Gurion University, University of Ghana, Ashesi University, University of Tokyo, and additional non-profit and on-Island partners;
- New York Climate Exchange, led by Stony Brook University, in partnership with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Georgia Institute of Technology, Pace University, Pratt Institute, University of Washington, Duke University, Moody’s Corporation, Rochester Institute of Technology, State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College, Oxford University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, URBS Systems, General Electric (GE), and additional business, nonprofit, and on-Island partners; and
- New York Coastal Climate Center, led by the City University of New York and the New School, in partnership with Barnard College, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Columbia University, Cooper Union, New York University, University at Albany (SUNY), Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty, and additional nonprofit and on- Island partners.
A selection committee made up of representatives from the Trust for Governors Island, the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, the Mayor’s Office of Equity, and the New York City Department of City Planning will evaluate proposals based on selection criteria outlined in the RFP. The selection committee will receive comments that will inform the selection of a winning proposal, including public input from community briefings and input from the Trust’s Climate Advisory Committee, which was announced in April 2022 and is made up of experts in climate science, philanthropy, business, policy, and environmental justice. The winning university-led team is expected to be designated in 2023.
Community briefings on the three finalist proposals will be held on November 14. Interested parties can RSVP online.
About the Center for Climate Solutions
The vision for the Center for Climate Solutions builds upon over a decade of planning and advocacy that has led to Governors Island’s remarkable transformation. On Governors Island, the project will support the research, development, and demonstration of equitable climate solutions for New York City that can be scaled and applied globally. At full completion, the Center for Climate Solutions is envisioned to include:
- An academic or research anchor institution to study the impacts of climate change, advance related fields, and bring science, policy, communications, and solution development under one roof;
- A living laboratory and/or cultural uses that showcase solutions and invite conversations on the environment through public art and programming;
- A platform for environmental justice organizations and nonprofits to research, host programs and convenings, and connect with New Yorkers;
- Space for commercial innovation supporting technological advancement in the climate field;
- Dormitories and/or faculty housing to support an academic anchor institution and create a uniquely immersive community for learning and innovation; and
- Convening space that offers opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors to engage in conversations about climate change.
In 2021, the city and the Trust launched a global competition inviting universities and research institutions to share their vision for how they would program, build, and operate a premier anchor facility to develop solutions that ready communities for climate change and create cross- sectoral educational programs to support the growth of high-quality green jobs in New York City.The selected anchor educational and research institution will include a mix of new facilities located within the Eastern Development Zone, as established by the 2010 Governors Island Master Plan, as well as adaptive reuse of the Island’s existing historic buildings. The project will also support an increase of publicly accessible open space and facilities on Governors Island, while preserving and expanding the Island’s existing open space and community of tenants and partners. At the same time, 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.
For more information on the Center for Climate Solutions, visit govisland.org.
“New York City is facing some of the most complex climate adaptation challenges in the world,” said Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Executive Director Kizzy Charles-Guzman. “The Center for Climate Solutions will bring together actionable science, community-based partnerships, and innovative and equitable solutions to communities on the frontline of the climate crisis. We are thrilled to see the finalists and look forward to reviewing their proposals.”
“As we mark the 10-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy this week, we are reminded of how urgently the global climate crisis demands solutions,” said New York City Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. “Bringing an advanced climate research center to Governors Island is the right move at the right time.”
“The climate crisis is the most urgent threat facing our world, our country, and our city. Just as New York City leads the way in business, technological advancement, and innovation, we should lead the way in developing solutions to this most existential of challenges,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. “Today’s announcement of three finalist proposals for establishing a world-class Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island will ensure that New York City will be a world leader in finding solutions and ways to overcome the perils of climate change. And with these solutions, we can bring green jobs to our city and provide meaningful opportunities for education and research, while figuring out how to protect New York City from the future effects of climate change and sea level rise. I look forward to examining these proposals and hearing from the public as we go through the process and choose one of these finalists to lead the future Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island.”
“This center will be key to achieving the city’s goals of environmental justice and resiliency, and the educational and research opportunities available will push the city toward a more sustainable and resilient future,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “As we continue the RFP review process for the Center for Climate Solutions, I look forward to hearing how the community and institutional stakeholders evaluate the proposals.”
“I wholeheartedly support the Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island and am thrilled to hear that the final three proposals have been unveiled,” said New York City Councilmember James F. Gennaro, chair, Committee on Environmental Protection. “I have no doubt that the institution that emerges from this competition will strengthen New York City’s position as a global leader in the fight against climate change. I look forward to hearing the result of the committee decision.”
“The vision of the Governors Island Trust and the mayor’s office will put New York City at the center of developing solutions to the world’s most existential challenge,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president, Northeastern University. “Northeastern has assembled a global consortium of academic partners — including prominent New York institutions — that will tackle climate change and fuel economic development in the city. By harnessing the collective knowledge of our partners, we believe New York will become the world’s premier hub of climate science and innovation.”
“In times of crisis, New York always leads the country toward a better future. We are honored and excited about this historic opportunity to establish New York City as the world leader on the most pressing issue of our time: climate change,” said Maurie McInnis, president, Stony Brook University. “Our holistic approach — designed with our diverse coalition of partners — centers social justice, economic opportunity for those most impacted, and world-class research to develop real solutions for New York. We will put the collective passion of our students, faculty, and staff, and our scientific expertise, resources, deep community connections, and research capabilities to work in order to make this the world-class institution that Governors Island, our city, and our planet need.”
“The climate crisis demands innovation, action, collaboration, and a commitment to justice across all sectors of society,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez; and Dwight A. McBride, president, The New School. “The City University of New York and The New School are committed to working with frontline communities across New York City, and our academic, nonprofit, and industry partners to develop and implement impactful, equitable, and just climate solutions. Our consortium offers the New York Coastal Climate Center (NYC3) — an entrepreneurial center for research, education, and convening. NYC3 reflects the aspiration of the Trust for Governors Island and New York City to be a model for coastal cities everywhere.”