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New York City

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Central Park New York City1.jpg

Sustainability initiatives[edit]

  • Change by Us NYC
  • planyc, is an effort released by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007 to prepare the city for one million more residents, strengthen the economy, combat climate change, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers. The Plan brought together over 25 City agencies to work toward the vision of a greener, greater New York. Since then, significant progress has been made towards the long-term goals set by the Plan.
PlaNYC specifically targets ten areas of interest: Housing and Neighborhoods; Parks and Public Spaces; Brownfields; Waterways; Water Supply; Transportation; Energy; Air Quality; Solid Waste; and Climate Change.
Over 97% of the 127 initiatives in PlaNYC were launched within one-year of its release and almost two-thirds of its 2009 milestones were achieved or mostly achieved. The plan was updated in 2011 and has been expanded to 132 initiatives and more than 400 specific milestones for December 31, 2013. (Wikipedia), GreeNYC

Initiatives by topic[edit]


New York City Audubon - The Welikia Project, Ecology of pre-1609 New York City

Climate action[edit]

Video: New York City's greenhouse gas emissions as one-ton spheres of carbon dioxide gas, 19 Oct 2012

Wikipedia:Climate change in New York City (article appears to be not very up to date)

Community involvement[edit]

BetaNYC, building a better tomorrow for all. "We are NYC’s civic technology and open government vanguard. Since 2009, we have been leading elected officials to engage NYC’s technology community, helping pass transformative open government legislation, and supporting NYC’s civic oriented startups. We are America’s largest civic technology and open government community." - Participatory Budgeting in New York City

Community currencies activism[edit]

Community Connections TimeBank, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Community energy[edit]

Wikipedia: New York City, Energy efficiency

Cycling activism[edit]

9th Av 30 St bikelane jeh.jpg

Bike New York - Citi Bike, bicycle sharing system


Cycling in New York City is associated with mixed cycling conditions that include dense urban proximities, relatively flat terrain, congested roadways with "stop-and-go" traffic, and streets with heavy pedestrian activity. The city's large cycling population includes utility cyclists, such as delivery and messenger services; cycling clubs for recreational cyclists; and, increasingly, commuters. While New York City developed the country's first bike path in 1894, and recent trends place the city "at the forefront of a national trend to make bicycling viable and safe," competing ideas of urban transportation have led to conflict, as well as ongoing efforts to balance the needs of cyclists, pedestrians, and cars.

Bike New York is an organization based in New York City that encourages cycling and bicycle safety. They are best known for producing the Five Boro Bike Tour, the largest recreational cycling event in the United States. The Tour, which occurs on the first Sunday of May every year, takes 30,000 riders in a 42-mile ride around New York City. Bike New York also produces smaller rides, offers free classes to the public, and develops customized bicycle safety and education programs in and around New York City.

Citi Bike is a privately owned public bicycle sharing system that serves parts of New York City. It is the largest bike sharing program in the United States.[3][5] The system opened to the public in May 2013 with 330 stations and officially with 6,000 bikes, but six weeks later, the actual number in use appeared to be less than 4,300.

Environment quality[edit]

wikipedia:Environmental issues in New York City are affected by the city's size, density, abundant public transportation infrastructure, and location at the mouth of the Hudson River. New York's population density has environmental pros and cons. It facilitates the highest mass transit use in the United States, but also concentrates pollution. Gasoline consumption in the city is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s, and greenhouse gas emissions are a fraction of the national average, at 7.1 metric tons per person per year, below San Francisco, at 11.2 metric tons, and the national average, at 24.5 metric tons. New York City accounts for only 1% of United States greenhouse gas emissions while housing 2.7% of its population. In September 2012, New York was named the #1 "America's Dirtiest City," by a Travel+Leisure readership survey that rated the environmental quality of 35 prominent cities in the United States.

Ethical consumerism[edit]

Package Free, a Zero Waste pop up shop in NYC opening May 1, 2017

Food activism[edit]

City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City, doing this through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions - New Amsterdam Market - Park Slope Food Coop, Brooklyn


Farmers Markets: In 1976 the Council on the Environment of New York City established the Greenmarket program, which provides regional small family farmers opportunities to sell their fruits, vegetables and other farm products at open-air markets in city public squares.
The Greenmarket program manages 45 markets in the five boroughs. More than 100 New York City restaurants source their ingredients from Greenmarket farmers each week; Greenmarket farmers also annually donate about 500,000 pounds of food to City Harvest and other hunger relief organizations each year.
In 2006 the City Council announced it would make farmers' markets the centerpiece of efforts to reduce hunger and increase awareness of nutrition in the city, especially in lower-income areas, and that 10 new farmers' markets would open serving low-income neighborhoods including public housing projects.
Park Slope Food Coop (PSFC) is a food cooperative located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. It is one of the oldest and largest active food co-ops in the United States. As a food cooperative, one of its goals is to be a "buying agent to its members, not a selling agent to any industry." Non-members are welcome to visit the store, but may not shop.
Formed in 1973, PSFC has grown to include over 15,000 members. The PSFC business model requires each of its adult members to contribute 2 hours and 45 minutes of work every four weeks, and that no member share a household with a non-member. In exchange, active members may shop at the store. The store sells a variety of foods and household goods, mostly environmentally friendly products, at a 21% markup (compared to 26-100% at a supermarket). The savings are possible because labor is contributed by its members. PSFC operates as a New York state cooperative corporation.

Open spaces[edit]

Design Trust for Public Space, nonprofit organization dedicated to the future of public space in New York City. "Our projects bring together city agencies, community groups and private sector experts to make a lasting impact — through design — on how New Yorkers live, work and play. [1] - The High Line & Friends of the High Line (Wikipedia) The High Line is a 1-mile (1.6 km) New York City linear park built on a section of an elevated former New York Central Railroad spur, redesigned and planted as an aerial greenway - People Make Parks supports community groups to contribute to NYC Parks’ building and design process

Wikipedia:Parks and recreation in New York City: Major municipal parks in New York City include Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Forest Park, and Washington Square Park. The largest is Pelham Bay Park, followed by the Staten Island Greenbelt. City Parks Foundation offers more than 1200 free performing arts events in parks across the city each year. The city has 28,000 acres (113 km²) of municipal parkland and 14 miles (22 km) of public municipal beaches.


Maps: SolidarityNYC

Sustainable transport activism[edit]

Mare Liberum, Hacking the Free Seas Since 2007. Mare Liberum is a freeform publishing, boatbuilding and waterfront art collective, based in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn, New York. Finding its roots in centuries-old stories of urban water squatters and haphazard water craft builders, Mare Liberum is a collaborative exploration of what it takes to make viable aquatic craft as an alternative to life on land. - Transportation Alternatives, advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit

Towards sustainable economies[edit]

SolidarityNYC, SolidarityNYC: Transforming Our City through Economic Democracy, article from Shareable - NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative - Up and Go, platform cooperative

Trees, woodland and forest[edit]

Million Trees NYC

Urban sustainability[edit]

DoTank, collective that carried out urban interventions in and around New York City between 2009 and 2011

Reclaiming Vacant Land in New York City[edit]

In 2010, in Brooklyn, New York, Paula Segal started to gather information about a vacant space in her neighborhood. It was empty for years, collecting garbage. After some research, it appeared the vacant, fenced lot was public, and had been planned as a public park — which was never built. After several community meetings and exchanges with the municipality, Myrtle Village Green was born as a community space. It includes a research and production farm, meeting space, and an open-air cinema.

Based on this first experience, Segal and other activists wanted to find out how many such vacant public lots existed. It turned out to be 596 acres, which became the name of Segal's initiative. Over the past six years, the grassroots organization reclaimed, remixed, and opened to the crowd public data about vacant lots through its Living Lots map. The map offers information about each lot and gives an avenue to chat with neighbors interested in doing something with it. "New community gardeners are contacting us because they are using the Living Lots map to explore what city-owned land is potentially available for community gardening," says Carlos Martinez, deputy director of Green Thumb, New York's program for community gardening that emerged to support civic use of land left vacant by the city's fiscal crisis in the 1970s.

However, the true strength of 596 Acres lies not only online: The organization also puts up signs calling neighbors to seize the land for their community. And it works. It has spurred the creation of 32 community gardens on previously vacant public land mostly in underprivileged neighborhoods that lack parks and community facilities. Another reason for the success of the organization lies in the productive relationship it has with local agencies for urban gardening: "With 596 Acres, we work closely with each other, they help us to find key people who have interest to be the steward or the leader of a community garden," says Martinez. As of January, more than 848 acres of vacant public land have been plotted on the map. [2]

News and comment[edit]


This Brooklyn, New York Clean Energy Experiment Is Going Global, Nov 20 [3]

A Forest Floats on the Bronx River, With Free Produce, Jul 7 [4]

New York’s new climate program includes making friends — seriously. Here’s why. Jun 16 [5]

In Brooklyn, you can now sell solar power to your neighbors, May 23 [6]

Stop 'N' Swap Events Make New York City More Sustainable, Apr 26 [7]

NYC will get its first zero-waste store this spring, thanks to Lauren Singer, Apr 12 [8]

How One Person’s Small, Brave Compost Pile Changed New York City, Apr 8 [9]

The Freelance Contract Gives Gig Workers Fair Working Terms, Mar 20 [10]

Solar Experiment Lets Neighbors Trade Energy Among Themselves, Mar 13 [11]

Cycling levels increase 80% in five years, says New York DoT, Feb 9 [12]

How Sharing Can Help Change Consumption Culture, Jan 25 [13]


Every Tree in New York City, Mapped, Nov 4 [14]

The Largest Church In Brooklyn Is Going Solar, Sep 24 [15]

New nonprofit, Civic Hall Labs, aims to build tech for the public good, Jun 9 [16]

5¢ Fee on Plastic Bags Is Approved by New York City Council, May 5 [17]

Streetfighting woman: inside the story of how cycling changed New York, Mar 11 [18]

Floating Food Forest to Dock In New York Waters, March 7 [19]


“GrowOnUs” floating water-filtering garden pops up on the Gowanus Canal, September 18 [20]

Mayor de Blasio Releases One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, April 22 [21]

Assessing Resilience Planning: Is the City Preparing Smartly for the Rising Risks of Climate Change? April 16 [22]

A Gorgeous Map of Every Street Tree in New York, Apr 14 [23]


World’s First Electric Wooden Bike Launches in Brooklyn, May 17 [24]

SolidarityNYC: Transforming Our City through Economic Democracy, Jan 27 [25]


The City As A Social Platform (VIDEO, just under 20 mins.), impressive presentation from Rachel Sterne, Chief Digital Officer for NYC, [26] August 16


Beekeeping no longer illegal in New York City, [27] March 16


Bloomberg offers windmill power plan. August 19. [28] Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is seeking to put wind turbines on New York City's bridges and skyscrapers and in its waters as part of a push to develop renewable energy.



May 4 TD Five Boro Bike Tour

September 20 - 21 People's Climate March

September 22 - 28 Climate Week NYC


August 25 Ecofest


Citizens data initiative[edit]

NYC Open Data


596 acres, showing sites of potential community projects, Living Lots NYC

DEP Green Infrastructure Program Map

Vacant NYC, crowd-sourcing information about vacant buildings

Farming Concrete, Harvest Map

Garden Geography: NYC community gardens in 2009/2010

NYC Street Trees by Species

Privately owned public spaces, Mapping New York's hidden gems, how crowdsourcing is taking the city back,, Nov 2011

SolidarityNYC's map


Farming Concrete is an open, community-based research project started by gardeners to measure how much food is grown in New York City’s community gardens. Third and final NYC Harvest Report released in March 2013.

The American Community Garden Association defines a community garden as "any piece of land gardened by a group of people." These spaces - peaceful enclaves where one can reconnect with their soil, food, and fellow gardeners - are meaningful across age groups and cultures, and serve as valuable assets for community identity. Healthy food production in community gardens is especially relevant today, when the number of New York City residents who rely on emergency food and lack access to affordable fresh produce in grocery stores is increasing. In the context of a dysfunctional food system, urban agriculture is becoming evermore indispensable.
No one knows just how much food NYC community gardeners are growing. That is what this project seeks to measure.
"In the tradition of all open source projects, our hope is that communities will be able to build upon what we’ve created–both software and methodology–to achieve their own goals."



See also[edit]

Interwiki links[edit]

Wikipedia: New York City, Environmental issues in New York City, Food and water in New York City, NYC, Global outreach, Transportation in New York City,

External links[edit]


This page includes Creative Commons Licensed content from the Sustainable community action wiki on Wikia.
The list of authors can be seen in the history, link via drop down menu at top left of page.

  1. Design Trust press release, (April 8, 2014)
  2. @Shareable
  5. @grist
  6. @grist
  7. @Shareable
  10. @Shareable
  13. Shareable
  15. @CleanTechnica
  17. New York Times
  18. The Guardian
  20. Inhabitat
  21. City of New York
  24. Inhabitat New York City
  25. @Shareable
  27. City Farmer News
  28. New York Times