Lower Manhattan, New York City is home to approximately 220,000 people. This area contains some of the largest central business districts in the country, which are at the core of an economy with an annual GDP of approximately $500 billion, influencing economic activity throughout the world. More than 52 million visitors annually come to Lower Manhattan to see sites as the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, Battery Park and take ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Lower Manhattan area also contains 35,000 affordable housing units, many of which were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and over 94,000 of the residents in this area are low-income, elderly, and/or disabled. The most vulnerable of the population live along the East River.
Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the city was challenged to create protection for Lower Manhattan to ensure that New York City’s financial district and other key infrastructure can operate during and after a storm while maintaining and enhancing, local residents’ connection to the waterfront. Flood protection would be designed to enhance everyday life and address existing social, economic and health challenges.