Originally here, for Project Survival Media — teams of journalists and media-makers all around the world.
Survival in our cities. How does a massive city like New York reconcile environmental and economic agendas? With such high concentrations of people, buildings, cars, public transportation, and even the competing agendas of capitalism and environmental awareness, this seemed like an issue worthy of exploration.
Constructing and retrofitting sustainable buildings are the most effective ways to reducing the pollution and carbon emissions in New York City. There are many aspects of the story yet to be uncovered. What technologies exist to do this? Which ones have been implemented so far? What are the factors that make policy so hard to achieve, and why are people resisting these changes?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has done a few things to make the city more sustainable. He has put in place initiatives towards environmental sustainability – ubiquitous new bike lanes, making Broadway in Times Square an open pedestrian space, and requiring hybrid models for all new taxis and buses.
But the sacred cow of the Bloomberg administration is real estate development. This is the one place where he can truly make a difference in cutting carbon. Last week he folded on a bill that would have required that all new buildings conform to energy efficiency standards.
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