Climate Change ‘Laboratory’ for Governors Island

An island near Manhattan with an interesting backstory and a whole lot of potential in terms of real estate might soon host a climate change laboratory.


(in NYC) has a history that is uncommon. You might know it as the patch of land with an ice cream cone-like shape to it, or you might be familiar with some of the history of the 170 plus acre area of land. At one point, it was a Civil War prison. Close to the end of the Cold War, it served as a gathering place for President Ronald Reagan when he met with Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader. Where does come in to the picture? Keep reading!

Climate Change Laboratory: How Will It Work?  

Control of the island was turned over by the federal government to the state of New York in 2003, and since this point, the search has been on for how to pay for the island’s maintenance – this is where climate change comes in. The island has needed a revenue source and a purpose. A new concept has come to light regarding its use and climate change – the island could serve as the host of a climate change “laboratory”. More than 4 million square feet on the island’s southern section could become a climate change laboratory. The climate change test center could be utilized for educational and commercial use – to put it simply, it could ultimately serve as a learning center for managing climate change.  

As per a request for suggestions sent by the city to contractors, the climate change-focused plan discusses transforming Governors Island into a center for climate change adaption exploration. Points examined regarding climate change would include policy making and commercialization.  

Addressing Climate Change Concerns

This climate change proposal is a reflection of the challenges that global warming brings to NY and other coastal cities – for instance, demand for building along the water is rising even though storms are worsening and seas are rising as a result of climate change.  

The New York Harbor location of Governors Island means it is exposed to storms and flooding, as per Michael , who was once in charge of the trust that runs Governors Island. His belief is that this is an ideal place to focus on climate change education and adaption.  

What Will the Climate Change Adaptation Lab Look Like? 

Consultants have been asked to consider ideas for a climate change lab. A pitch deck for this climate change lab is one option, in which ideas could be sold to universities and foundations. 

 served as deputy mayor until just recently. Now, Glen heads Governor Island’s Board of the Trust. She discussed how the goal is to turn this location into a “living laboratory” that focuses on how to deal with certain problems regarding climate change in an urban setting. Moreover, the climate change laboratory project would assist in paying for maintenance for the island. Generating money with development opportunities will help the island to be sustainable.  

As per Samuelian’s successor, transforming Governors Island into a place for climate change-adaptation research could not only keep the public engaged but it could tap into a certain concentration of workers in NY, like engineers and architects.  

In accordance with those familiar with this plan, the climate changefocused vision for Governors Island reverberates its tech-themed improvement of Roosevelt Island. (You might recall that almost a decade ago, universities were invited to New York to compete for an opportunity to build a graduate center on Roosevelt Island for applied sciences. Cornell University, the winner, opened a campus there in 2017).  

In regard to Governors Island, while a judicious approach might have been to just avoid developing there altogether, Samuelian discussed how he could see more value in making the island an example of how development can coexist with rising water. He mentioned how that could involve buildings raised up on stilts, or structures that could be pulled apart and relocated.  

Climate Change Action

Keep following climate change news to stay on top of happenings across the country. We must pay attention to climate change, which is occurring right before our eyes, and take action 



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