Object Territories among six winning teams named by Trust for Governors Island to design Climate Solutions Challenge pilot projects

“Green Collar”

Object Territories among six winning teams named by Trust for Governors Island to design Climate Solutions Challenge pilot projects

Governors Island is on its way to becoming a hub for the study and research of climate change. (Rhododendrites/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

It may well be that the next big idea for thwarting climate change comes from Governors Island, the 172-acre landmass just 800 yards south of Manhattan.

The Trust for Governors Island—a city of New York subsidiary—announced recently the names of six teams that will implement pilot projects through its inaugural Climate Solutions Challenge. The announcement was presented through the Trust’s Living Lab program, which invites local small businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits to test and demonstrate urban climate solutions to global warming on Governors Island.

The prompt by Living Labs that teams were asked to respond to was called “Water Abundance Challenge” which sought proposals that utilize water to help power climate solutions, and create blue and green jobs along the way while fostering healthier communities. The six winners include early-stage startups, small businesses, and nonprofits working on living shorelines, greywater treatment, water quality monitoring, and ocean agriculture projects.

Of the six selected winners, 100 percent are New York–based, 50 percent are women-led, and 33 percent are minority-led. An inaugural “Demo Day” will take place in summer 2024 where the pilots will be revealed to the public, and the pilots will stay open for public viewing the following 6 to 18 months.

The six winners will have a site on the Island to demonstrate their project, and up to $25,000 in grant support to make them happen.

Among the six winners is Object Territories, a critical design practice based in New York and Hong Kong. That studio’s pilot project is called Intertidal Objects which proffers habitat-friendly coastal protection units designed in collaboration with the Center for Architecture, Science, and Ecology (CASE) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Fort Miller Group, and after NATURE.

Other winners include Duro UAS, a South Bronx–based company that focuses on user-friendly water monitoring systems and data services. On Governors Island, Duro UAS will test their project entitled Nearshore Sonde, a portable water monitoring device and cloud-based data dashboard.

At Governors Island, Just Ecocities, a nature-based solutions consultancy, will experiment with innovative new methods for cleaning New York City’s waterways. Their project, Tidal Planter, is designed to create salt marshes that remove pollutants from New York Harbor. Just Ecocities is partnering with a separate outfit, Biohabitats, on their contribution.

The SOM-led New York Climate Exchange is another project underway at Governors Island. (Courtesy SOM)

Cycleau is the name of LÆRO’s pilot project. LÆRO is a small business that works across water advocacy, manufacturing, and electromechanical engineering. Cycleau seeks to create a new compact greywater treatment system that will be employed at water refill stations and restrooms.

RETI Center, a youth-based nonprofit located in Red Hook, will pilot their Floating BlueBlocks Gardens project on Governors Island. And so will Seaweed City, a nonprofit “citizen science” initiative that explores the benefits seaweed aquaculture could afford New York’s waterways. Seawood City’s urban kelp farming infrastructure pilot project is fiscally sponsored by Newtown Creek Alliance.

Climate Solutions Challenge builds on the recently announced Green Economy Action Plan, an NYCEDC program which seeks to prepare New Yorkers for global warming. The Climate Solutions Piloting Program is part of Pilot:NYC and the “New” New York Plan, a joint initiative between New York city and state officials that attracts talent and knowledge companies to the Big Apple.

This latest climate initiative follows a major announcement last spring. SOM is designing a campus on the east side of Governors Island headed by the New York Climate Exchange, a partnership between Stony Brook University, Boston Consulting Group, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Pace University, Pratt Institute, the University of Washington, IBM, and Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES).

“Where some people see challenges, New Yorkers see opportunities, and Governors Island’s Climate Solutions Challenge is the perfect example of how New Yorkers’ creativity and ingenuity will continue to shape our world,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “By giving these climate solutions a chance to pilot, we will continue to grow New York City’s green economy, address climate change, and begin to create the good-paying, accessible ‘green-collar’ jobs of the future.”