Climate Ready DC, created in partnership with global architecture firm Perkins+Will, propelled the nation’s capital to recognition by Bloomberg Philanthropies as one of the world’s most inspiring and innovative cities in the world for major climate action. Washington, D.C. was named a recipient in the adaptation plans & programs (Cities4Tomorrow) category at the fifth annual C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards ceremony, held at the North American Climate Summit in Chicago.
The collaboration with the district government to create this innovative plan is part of Perkins+Will’s worldwide effort toward resilience in each of its 24 offices, including the New York studio.
“A summer of widespread flooding and devastating hurricanes—together with a succession of ferocious wildfires in California—demonstrate how critical it is for cities to prepare for what could be cataclysmic outcomes from climate change. Climate Ready DC underscores D.C.’s readiness to respond to threats and build resilience into our civic infrastructure and other life-essential systems,” said Jon Penndorf, FAIA, senior project manager and a sustainability leader at Perkins+Will. Penndorf, along with colleagues Amy Thompson, Janice Barnes and Doug Pierce, played lead roles in creating the climate adaptation plan.
In New York, Senior Urban Design Practice Leader Mike Aziz is at the forefront of resilience planning through significant New York City vision plans including Flushing Bay — the bay and boardwalk just beyond CitiField in Flushing, Queens, currently experiencing massive pollution. Aziz and his team have contributed to the community-driven planning program that outlines the potential future of this local waterway.
Aziz also spearheaded the vision plan for Newtown Creek, 596 acres of land on the border between Brooklyn and Queens, best characterized as the location of one of the United States largest oil spills. Light-industrial use, with workshops housed in mixed-use developments that include affordable housing, were some of the ideas proposed by Aziz and colleagues last year as part of a Crain’s New York Business initiative to find design solutions for the city’s future as its population swells toward 9 million.
“I fully stand behind the Perkins+Will motto that design has the power to positively transform people and the planet,” Aziz stated. “It is our job to envision what could be, and to help foster the development of underutilized assets that can be reimagined in order to achieve the long-term needs of the city.”
Aziz’s background includes over 15 years of large-scale design, waterfront revitalization, campus planning, and zoning approvals, with a focus on resilience planning. Other projects include the Kingston Riverport Master Plan, Seaview Teleport Master Plan, Queens Water Exploration Center Concept Design and the Bard College Master Plan, among others.
For Climate Ready DC, the District’s Department of Energy and Environment partnered with climate science and technical experts, including Perkins+Will, to assess the risks that climate change poses to infrastructure and public facilities, and identify 77 actions the District can take to reduce these risks.
The C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards honor ten sustainability projects, selected from 174 entries from 92 cities around the globe. An expert jury panel comprising former mayors and climate experts selected the winning urban sustainability projects based on excellence in urban planning and dedication to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving resilience.