Yonkers businesses, Iona University partner to combat impact of climate change on city
The city of Yonkers is teaming with Iona University and business leaders to try to relieve the impact of climate change on urban neighborhoods.
Adjunct lecturer Robert Kissner is leading students at Iona University's Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation toward helping local communities for a second semester.
This time, the team will be tackling an important issue affecting Yonkers.
"We're working with MHACY to address issues of the Heat Island Effect in affordable housing,” Kissner says.
The Heat Island Effect is where urban areas tend to get much hotter than say a more residential area.
"Higher temperatures means more health risk to the people who live there, including higher rates of COPD, higher rates of asthma, and more trips to a hospital,” says Wilson Kimball, president of the Municipal Housing Authority of Yonkers.
Kissner says it’s clear to students that “this is an extremely complicated issue, there isn't one easy solution."
That's where working with the Business Council of Westchester and Groundwork Hudson Valley comes together in a partnership.
"An initiative called Westchester Innovation Network, called 'WIN,' makes sense, because if you have innovation, you are a winner,” says Martha Gordon, president of the Business Council Of Westchester.
All partners will design plans to help alleviate the Urban Heat Island effect in Yonkers based on insight and research.
"We're really looking to be a bridge between residents and the work that's being done,” Kissner says.
He adds that the next step is to dig deeper into the community and hear from residents firsthand. That means they'll go to tenant meetings at all affordable housing complexes in Yonkers, including the Palisade Towers.
The partnership comes on the heels of the New York state $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act passing on Tuesday.