Sustainable New York City (PDF) is a report from the Design Trust for Public Space examining concrete proposals for increasing the environmental sustainability of the city. New York is already arguably one of the most sustainable cities around, but to a great degree that sustainability derives from urban density, not conscious planning. The Design Trust's case studies show that it would be possible to move New York -- or, for that matter, any large city -- to an even more sustainable point, relying upon projects with proven good results.
The report, written by WorldChanging reader David Hsu, looks at three key areas: water and land protection; energy, air quality, and climate; and waste and materials. The case studies chosen as models are widely considered to be high-quality, successful efforts: Seattle's natural drainage systems; Chicago's green building program; and Santa Monica, California's, environmentally preferable purchasing program. Each case study is matched against a similar or complementary program in New York.
Sustainable New York City is a relatively short, well-illustrated document, and makes for interesting reading for those of us looking for practical steps for improving the environmental footprint of urban spaces.
For further reading on Sustainability in New York City I highly recommend the City Council produced report "Working Towards a Sustainable City".
INFORM has been providing technical support and testimony in support of environmental legislation over the last two years, and has witnessed a renaissance of ideas and initiatives in New York. The City has come a long way in recognizing the national impact of an entity the size of New York wields in adopting legislation that protects human and environmental health. In the last year alone the city council has passed legislation that addressing hazardous substances in products (including dioxin producing products and low mercury lamps), environmentally preferable building practices, recycled content products and energy efficient lighting.
Since its founding in 1974, INFORM, a national, 31-year-old nonprofit environmental research organization, has been a leader in examining the impact of business practices, technologies, and products on our environment and human health. We have led the way in identifying practical solutions to some of this countrys most challenging environmental problems.