Green Metropolis

Monday, November 29, 2010

David Owen explains why cities like New York are the greenest communities in the United States. People who live in urban centers consume less oil, electricity, and water, live in smaller spaces, throw away less trash, and spend far less time in automobiles than other Americans. Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability looks at why suburban sprawl may seem green, but it actually increases environmental damage. Owen looks at how to make cities more like the countryside, and how to make other settled places more like Manhattan.


David Owen

Comments [6]

Karla Fisk, LEED AP from Inwood, NYC

It sounds like David Owen doesn't know enough about LEED. The current version (LEED v. 3) is heavily weighted towards using all strategies possible to significantly reduce the use of fossil fuels, including access to public transit, no parking, support for cycling, as well as up to 35 credits in the Energy category. It only takes 40 credits to LEED-certify a bldg.

Nov. 29 2010 02:02 PM
valerie from nyc

Can we talk about population control as a factor in improving living conditions?

Nov. 29 2010 01:57 PM
Elizabeth Lyon from New York

I have not read the book, but my question is whether the author took account of things New Yorkers do like:

-- buy more clothes because they have to work more hours to survive in NYC
-- travel more for their high-powered jobs
-- throw out food, eat out more, eat takeout more, etc

and the fact that many people who live in the country actually grow and can their own food, never buy anything they don't need, don't rotate their wardrobes according to fashion, don't jet-set, etc etc

I agree that density and walking are desireable, but there is so much other wasteful and careless behavior linked to NYC life.

Nov. 29 2010 01:43 PM
Phil Henshaw from way uptown

Unfortunately David Owen could not be more completely mistaken, about living in a city reducing your energy and other environmental impacts. It's pure magical thinking based on not counting the resource used we command at a distance... which is what cities have always excelled in... right? We just export our impacts by making money from running the physical systems of the world around us.

Most sustainability thinking in fact is deeply undermined by this silly thinking, and one of the main reasons we're not getting anywhere with it.

The facts are quite easy to trace, but that our audience want's to avoid the question seems to be more of a stumbling point...

Nov. 29 2010 01:43 PM

What is so bad about growing up in New York? I grew up in Queens in the late 70s and 80s. My elementary school was 4 blocks from my house. I use to go home for lunch. I have advanced degrees and am not a nut or a criminal and I am better educated than a lot of my friends who went to catholic school or went to school in the suburbs.

Nov. 29 2010 01:43 PM

New Yorkers may be greener on average, but we also have the least green Americans. Someone like Michael Bloomberg leads about as un-green a lifestyle as is humanly possible.

And however green we are, we also have higher asthma rates, higher cancer rates, etc.

Nov. 29 2010 01:39 PM

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