Understanding Adaptive Capacity in Real Estate and the Built Environment

Climate Change and Extreme Weather in New York City

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With climate change well underway, cities worldwide are struggling to develop and apply knowledge that will help advance social, environmental and economic adaptation to extreme weather and changing ecologies. Nowhere is this need more pressing than in the design, development and management of the built environment in New York City. In particular, private sector actors are challenged with developing a capacity to adapt to both known and unknown manifestations of climate change in the future. This dissertation aims to contribute to a new conceptualization of the nature of adaptive capacity as it understood and applied across a variety of systematic scales, including the building, the real estate firm and the allied professionals operating within the built environment. This research sets the stage for designing and managing adaptive capacities that allow for the transformation of the real estate sector not just to accommodate climate change but also to address a variety of indirect consequences manifested from natural resource depletion, evolutionary markets and changing consumer demands.