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Publication Date

Fall 11-19-2023


climate, smart, geography, communities, GIS, new york


Nearly all of New York’s residents live in a municipality designated as a Climate Smart Community, but few are familiar with one of the state’s major legislative accomplishments. The initiative allows municipalities to earn points toward a climate smart certification by implementing sustainable technologies in their communities, which in turn makes them eligible for increased grant funding from New York State. As climate change begins to have a greater impact on human and natural life, investing in green infrastructure has never been more important. New York’s Climate Smart Communities program is widespread, but adoption rates vary greatly throughout the state as the downstate and mid-Hudson Valley regions dominated the program’s development in the first ten years. Areas along the western and southern borders of New York have a significantly lower number of registered climate smart communities compared to other counties. Certified climate smart communities can unlock large sustainability grants, which are two to three times larger than funding from the Office of Environmental Justice, which selects for only major cities, regardless of their location in the state or median household income. With these high-stakes incentives, municipalities throughout the state have taken notice of the program and begun to register as climate smart at a rapid pace over the last five years. While the increase in green infrastructure is encouraging, the benefits to the physical environment are still unknown, as there was no improvement in water quality with the presence of a climate smart community.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.