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Combating Climate Change with Technology

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By Lara Croushore, Assistant Director at NYCEDC's Center for Economic Transformation

Removable storm surge barriers, wireless mesh communication networks, batteries charged by solar and wind, disaster preparedness software...

These are just a few of the technologies in the running for NYCEDC’s $30 million technology competition, RISE : NYC, Resiliency Innovations for a Stronger Economy.

How can innovative technologies help strengthen New York City’s economy by preparing small businesses for natural disasters? To answer this question, we put out a global call in January 2014 for technologies that have the greatest potential to prepare small businesses for extreme weather by improving the resilience of their buildings, energy infrastructure, and telecommunications networks. With up to $30 million of funding on the line, the response was overwhelming—applications poured in from over 20 different countries around the world.

Last week, we announced that 37 applicants have been invited to compete in the competition’s final stage. Read more about the finalists and their proposed technologies on the RISE : NYC finalists page.

RISE : NYC finalists represent a highly competitive group of some of the most creative and innovative technologies from around the world, including:

  Energy technologies that can provide power to critical building systems including heating, lighting, and communications, even after flooding or when the grid is down;

 Floodproofing solutions and advanced technologies such as high-strength, modular flood barriers that are thinner, lighter, and more affordable than conventional systems and can be installed in less than 90 seconds;

 Software products that help businesses prepare and respond to emergencies by mapping gasoline supplies, using real-time weather data to predict storm impact, and analyzing physical site information in order to develop recommendations for resiliency improvements; and

 Telecom/data services that enable businesses to continue communicating, even when mobile phone service is not available and wireless mesh networks that facilitate community response during an emergency.

Final applications are due this summer and we expect to announce winners later this year. Winning technologies will be installed for free at participating New York City small businesses that sustained significant losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy and/or are most vulnerable to the effects of future storms, sea level rise, and climate change.

To receive competition updates and information on upcoming events, please register for the RISE : NYC mailing list or follow us on twitter at @RISE_NYC.

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