Theses Master's

Offshore wind ports and the Just Transition: Community-based planning and power in New York City’s industrial waterfront communities

Bartfay, Natalie

This work analyzes the conditions and capacity for equitable development processes in industrial maritime neighborhoods subject to New York State’s burgeoning offshore wind industry, anew development instrument will direct hundreds of millions of dollars into waterfront communities in decline. In particular, this research engages with the waterfront redevelopment of planned “offshore wind ports” with a Just Transition framework. The Just Transition framework is a best practice for green infrastructure development and champions equitable development processes in a shift towards green economies. This research focuses on its principle of self-determination and engages in the complex physical relationships of these industrial sites, asking: how can community-based planning priorities, strategies, and actors work to guide this green waterfront development?

Using a case study-based approach, planned community-level development is elevated for Sunset Park, Brooklyn, the home of New York’s first planned wind port (South Brooklyn Marine Terminal) and the southwestern shore of Staten Island (Arthur Kill Terminal, Rossville Municipal Site, and the Staten Island Marine Terminal), projects support by the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s 15-year, $191 million development program Offshore Wind NYC. The case studies compile the respective neighborhood’s existing community-driven visioning, planning instruments, priorities, and perceptions of local industrial waterfront sites slated for OSW-related development and evaluate them against public and private development plans.

Ultimately, this research concludes that offshore port development in New York City offers significant equitable development potential to underserved waterfront communities. However, the scale of community benefits and equity largely depends on existing community advocates, power, and planning tools, benefiting communities with a robust socio-political infrastructure and indicating that a Just Transition is by no means inherent—or easily achieved—to this green industry. Moving forward, the planning profession must support and expand hyperlocal community-based planning and engagement to truly leverage novel offshore wind development in the name of the Just Transition.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Sarmiento, Hugo
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 16, 2023