If NYC Was Completely Sustainable, This Is What It Would Look Like

New masterplan II Dec19

New York City is many things, but sustainable it is not.

The people of New York City require some 4 million acres of food-producing land — roughly the size of the entire state of Connecticut — just to produce all the food they eat annually, according to Terreform Research Group, a sustainable architecture firm. That’s a problem, especially since the energy used to transport foods from around the globe to American dinner plate is a significant contributor to climate change.

Even food grown within North America travels more than 1,200 miles on average from where it was grown. Those so-called “food-miles” are why researchers at Terreform set out to determine what the biggest city in the U.S. would look like if itcould produce all the food and energy needed to power itself.

And in a city with so little available space, it’s no surprise that figuring out how to pack all that food production within the city limits proved quite a challenge.

What they developed was the New York (Steady) State project, a self-described “thought-experiment” that envisions a wholly self-sufficient New York. In this dream scenario, the city meets the needs of its citizens by repurposing structures into food-producing towers.

Their architectural renderings reflect a New York that produces all that food within the five boroughs using a “cradle-to-cradle” system with minimal pollution. (The team assumed that New York’s 8.5 million residents each require 2,500 calories per day.)

For now, the tremendously ambitious plan remains a pipe dream. But the design firm’s president, Michael Sorkin, said it provides the city with an “encyclopedic” roadmap to a more sustainable future.

“[The New York (Steady) State project] allows us to truly test the limits of the possibility for direct action to save the planet,” Sorkin wrote in an email to HuffPost. “Our investigation takes place at every scale, from the window box to the apartment, to the building, block, neighborhood, and city.” Here’s some of what they envision:

Green roofs would cover nearly every Manhattan building.

green roofs

City block courtyards would be surrounded by walls of vertical, outward-facing farms.

apt towers

These vertical farms, or “food towers,” would have outdoor terraces where livestock could roam.

food towers

They would also be constructed on top of existing train lines, so that food can be directly loaded into converted trains and delivered to residents.

linear towers

A refurbished bus rapid transit station on Fulton Street would help minimize dependance on cars and taxis.

bus stations

Some roadways traffic would be replaced by community gardens, like on Amsterdam Avenue in upper Manhattan.

amsterdam ave

147th Street in Harlem would be repurposed for food production and distribution.


And this center in Brooklyn would serve as a hydroponics education center, teaching a sustainable method of growing plants in water without the use of soil.

brooklyn education

Source: The Huffington Post

Russell Simmons to NYC: Ban Milk Along with Soda

Hip hop mogul, animal rights activist and vegan Russell Simmons has jumped on NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s bandwagon to fight obesity in his home state. Last month, Mayor Bloomberg proposed (not without controversy) that the city prohibit the sale of soda in 16 ounce or larger containers citing the sugary drink as a major contributor to the obesity problem in this country.

On behalf of PETA, Simmons has penned a letter to New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley asking him to include dairy drinks in the proposed ban. The letter states:

As a native New Yorker, I applaud your initiative to combat obesity in our city by proposing a 16-ounce size limit on sugary drinks. Limiting soda consumption is a good step, but to achieve real results, people need to eliminate dairy products, too. Drinking milk and other dairy products can lead to weight gain and other health problems. A 2005 nationwide study led by a Harvard Medical School researcher showed that children who drank more than three 8-ounce servings of cow’s milk per day were 35 percent more likely to become overweight than kids who drank only one or two servings (or a maximum of 16 ounces) per day. The study also found that replacing soda with cow’s milk, which is loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol, provided no weight-loss benefit—none. In light of this information, my friends at PETA and I urge you to include cow’s milk and other dairy-based drinks in your proposed beverage regulations. Continue reading