Waterfronts are attractive areas for many-often competing-uses in New York City (NYC) and are seen as multifunctional locations for economic, environmental, and social activities on the interface between land and water. The NYC waterfront plays a crucial role as a first line of flood defense and in managing flood risk and protecting the city from future climate change and sea-level rise. The city of New York has embarked on a climate adaptation program (PlaNYC) outlining the policies needed to anticipate the impacts of climate change. As part of this policy, the Department of City Planning has recently prepared Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for the over 500 miles of NYC waterfront (NYC-DCP, 2011). An integral part of the vision is to improve resilience to climate change and sea-level rise. This study seeks to provide guidance for advancing the goals of NYC Vision 2020 by assessing how flood insurance, flood zoning, and building code policies can contribute to waterfront development that is more resilient to climate change. © 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.