Timeline: Improving the Ease and Convenience of Recycling

Sean Proctor

Professor MacBride

Timeline Research

March 18th, 2012


Improving the Ease and Convenience of Recycling

1881: New York City Department of Street Cleaning created. First New York City department created to control waste management. (5)

1895: Commissioner George Waring creates plan that forbids dumping waste into the Atlantic Ocean (as was then done), and mandates recycling for New York City residents. (5)

1897: New York City creates its first materials recovery center , from which people sift through the City’s trash and pull out specific items that could be recycled such as papers and metals. (13)

1904: The nations first aluminum can recycling plants open in Chicago and Cleveland. (13)

1918: Because of the lack of resources cause by World War I, ocean dumping is reinstated and government run recycling is halted. (5)

Federal government creates The Waste Reclamation Service to ease the flow of waste during the war. (13)

1920s: Landfilling gains popularity across the United States due to its ease of disposal. (13)

1930s: Due to the economic depression, recycling becomes popular because many people cannot afford new goods.  (9)

1933: New York City Department of Street Cleaning changes its name to the Department of Sanitation. (5)

1955: Life Magazine runs a piece on the upside of single use disposable items, going so far as saying they are necessities. This reflects the population’s ambivalence toward recycling. (13)

1965: Congress passes the Solid Waste Disposal Act, which recognizes the growing problem of waste but does little to combat the problem. (13)

1970: First national Earth Day is hosted, bringing recycling back into mainstream focus. (9)

1972: Oregon becomes the first state to require consumers to pay a deposit on bottles and cans. (13)

1976: Federal Law gives states and localities the responsibility for disposing of their trash and for recycling. (5)

The Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is passed, which requires landfills to be more closely monitored. (13)

1982: New York City implements the Returnable Container Act, commonly known as the ‘Bottle Act’. Consumers now get their deposit returned when they recycle beer and wine bottles, as well as soda cans. Act was (and is) a tremendous success, decreasing roadside litter by 70%, and eliminates up to 200,00 metric tons of greenhouse gasses each year. (2)

1986: Recycling begins in New York City as a voluntary program. (5)

1987: Media reports on ‘solid waste crisis’ after a barge carrying garbage from New York cannot empty its load in surrounding states. After a six-month journey, the barge and its contents are forced to return to New York. (13)

1988: Government allows price preferences to paper that is at least 50% recycled and 10% postconsumer content. (13)

1989: Recycling is mandated in New York City as stated in Local Law 19, which requires superintendents of buildings with eight or more units to designate storage areas for recyclables. (5)

1993: Department of Sanitation consolidates recycling program. Increased effort to collect, metal cans, foils, glass bottles, plastic jugs, bottles, newspapers, magazines, phone books, and corrugated cardboard. (5)

President Clinton orders all federal agencies to only buy paper that is made with at least 20% postconsumer content. (13)

1996: Department of Sanitation begins collecting mixed paper, bulk metal objects, different cardboards, and wax paper cartons. (6)

1997-For the first time all fifty-nine districts in New York City use curbside/containerized receptacles to recycle the same material. An aggressive advertising campaign by the City helps to accomplish this milestone. (5)

Visy Paper Mill is opened on Staten Island. It is one of the worlds most technologically advanced paper recycling mills, and it still collects approximately half of the City’s recycled paper. (5)

1998: City council passes local law to require weekly collection of recyclables in hopes to increase citywide participation. (6)

2000: The EPA reports that nationally only 5.4% of all plastics generated in the USA are being recycled. (10)

2002: January: Bloomberg elected, announces that recycling is costing the city too much. Proposes end to collection of metals, glass, and plastic in hopes of saving around fifty million dollars. (6)

June: Diversion rate for recyclables at 19% of waste stream, and the capture rate of targeted recyclables reaches 46%. (6)

July: New York City Waste Prevention Coalition challenges Bloomberg’s recycling cuts. Mayor compromises and keeps metal and paper and cardboard collection because the city was making a profit from those operations. Plans to reinstate plastic collection in 2003 and glass collection in 2004. (6)

2003: July: Department of Sanitation changed recycling collection to once every two weeks. This angers many because materials must be stored for a longer period of time. (6)

2004: April: Department of Sanitation announces weekly recycling collection all materials to be restored. (5)

June: Department of Sanitation announces that citywide diversion rate fell to 15.8% and capture rate fell to 36.6%, both down from the first year of collection. (6)

2007: Mayor Bloomberg announces the PlaNYC initiative, which will focus on various recycling strategies among other pressing environmental issues. (5)

PlaNYC announces its hopes to divert 75% of New York City’s solid waste from landfills. (7)

2009: Bottle Bill expanded to include collection of water bottles. (2)

New Yorkers use more than one billion plastic bags each year, but only one percent are recycled or reused. Nationally, this figure has a recycle/reuse rate of 9.1%. (11)

San Francisco, one of the worlds most efficient recycling cities, institutes the nation’s first mandatory composting law. (3)

San Francisco announces that all households must use three different colored garbage bins (Black for trash, blue for recyclables, and green for compost) or face fines of up to $1,000.  The City hopes to eventually send no waste to landfills by 2020 (12)

2010: PepsiCo introduces a futuristic collection machine called The Dream Machine. The machine incentivizes people to recycle through it by awarding points that can amount to redeemable prizes. (4)

2012: Bloomberg announces that all public schools and city agencies will create their own recycling initiatives.  (6)

July: Recycling plant in Brooklyn opens. The facility accepts any type of ridged plastic as opposed to only number one and two plastics, which is all the City currently collects. (6)

New York City Council announces plans to add 200 new recycle bins in public spaces over the next three years and a total of 700 recycle bins over the next decade. (6)

2013: Bottle Bill expanded to include flavored water collection, iced teas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and various juice bottles. (1)

Works Cited:

  1. “Bottle Bill Expansion.” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/external?sid=c5ef8d64-f5c4-4709-a309-f97a5bb96baf%40sessionmgr115&vid=6&hid=127.
  2. “Bottle Bill Original.” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8500.html.
  3. “Cool Recycling Initiatives.” Accessed March 18, 2013. http://inhabitat.com/top-6-recycling-and-reuse-initiatives-from-around-the-globe/olipot-in-action-photo-2/?extend=1.
  4. “Dream Machine.” Accessed March 18, 2013. http://www.dreammachinelocator.com/about.php.
  5. “History of NYC Recycling.” Accessed March 18, 2013. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/html/resources/history.shtml.
  6. “Optimizing Recycling in NYC.” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=c5ef8d64-f5c4-4709-a309-f97a5bb96baf%40sessionmgr115&vid=5&hid=127.
  7. “PlaNYC’s Solid Waste Initives.” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://nytelecom.vo.llnwd.net/o15/agencies/planyc2030/pdf/planyc_2011_solid_waste.pdf.
  8. “Processing & Marketing Recyclables in NYC – Chapter 2: Modern History of NYC Recycling – Pmrnyc04.ch2.pdf.” Accessed March 18, 2013. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycwasteless/downloads/pdf/pmrnyc04.ch2.pdf.
  9. “Recycling History.” Accessed March 18, 2013. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/recycling1.htm.

10. “Recycling in a Mega City (Not Very NYC Specific).” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=c5ef8d64-f5c4-4709-a309-f97a5bb96baf%40sessionmgr115&vid=6&hid=127&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=8gh&AN=12768848.

11. “Recycling? Fuhgeddaboudit (Article).” Accessed March 17, 2013. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=c5ef8d64-f5c4-4709-a309-f97a5bb96baf%40sessionmgr115&vid=13&hid=127&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=8gh&AN=38705281.

12. “San Francisco to Toughen a Strict Recycling Law.” Accessed March 19, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/us/11recycle.html?_r=0.

13. “The Brief History Of Recycling.” Accessed March 19, 2013. http://www.motorcityfreegeek.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=78.


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Memo 2: A Timeline of Vertical Farming

600 BC – King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon constructed the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his homesick wife, Amyitis. The Hanging Gardens encompassed an array of plants and trees, imported from Medes, overhanging the terraces within the city’s walls and up the sides of the mountain. Since the area suffered a dry climate, the gardens were watered using a chain pull system, which carried water from the Euphrates River and streamed it to each landing of the garden (Krystek).

1150 AD – Aztec Indians created chinampas, which were floating gardens of rectangular plots built on swamps. Since they were incapable of growing crops on the lake’s marshy shore, they built rafts out of reeds, stalks, and roots, topped the rafts with soil and mud from the bottom of the lake, and then drifted out to the center of the water. Crops would grow on top of the rafts as their roots grew through the rafts and down into the water. The rafts often attached together to form floating fields the size of islands (Turner).

1627 – Sir Francis Bacon first introduced the theory of hydroponic gardening and farming methods in his book Sylva Sylvarum, in which he established the idea of growing terrestrial plants without soil (Saylor).

1699 – English scientist, John Woodward, conducted water culture experiments with spearmint and found that plants would grow better in less pure water than they would in distilled water and that plants derive minerals from soil mixed into water solutions (Turner).

1909 – The earliest drawing of a vertical farm was published in Life Magazine, depicting an open-air building of vertically stacked stories of homes cultivating food for consumption (Jurkiewicz).

1915 – American geologist Gilbert Ellis Bailey coined the term “vertical farming” in his book, “Vertical Farming,” in which he introduced a method of underground farming contingent on the use of explosives. Multiplying the depth of fertile land, such explosives allow and enable farmers to farm deeper, while increasing area and securing larger crops. Bailey focused on less land rather than expanding as he observed it was more profitable to double the depth than double the area (Globacorp).

1922 – Seeking efficient techniques to house sizeable communities of people, Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, “Le Corbusier,” developed Immeubles-Villas, his project consisting of five-story blocks into which one hundred singular apartments are stacked on top of one another. The plan’s basic unit is the single-person apartment, each isolated from its neighbors, giving them all secluded open space imbedded with greenery (Gallagher).

1937 – In a scientific journal article, William Frederick Gericke coined the term “hydroponics,” the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil combining “hydro” meaning water, and “ponos” meaning labor (Jones).

1940 – Hydroponic systems were used in the Pacific during World War II, where US troops cultivated fresh lettuce and tomatoes on barren islands (Jones).

1972 – SITE (Sculpture in the Environment) proposed the concept “Highrise of Homes,” which calls for a conventional steel tower framework accommodating dirt plots, as it supports a vertical community of private homes (SITE).

1975 – Allan Cooperman introduced the nutrient film technique in which a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels, which contain the plant roots (Jones).

1989 – Architect Kenneth Yeang envisioned mixed-use buildings that move seamlessly with green space in which plant life can be cultivated within open air, known as vegetated architecture. This approach to vertical farming is based on personal and community use rather than production and distribution matters (Mulder).

1999 – American ecologist Dr. Dickson Despomierre reinvented vertical farming, as it emerged at Columbia University, promoting the mass cultivation of plant and animal life for commercial purposes in skyscrapers (Globacorp). Vertical farms, several floors tall, will be sited in the heart of the world’s urban centers, providing sustainable production of a secure and diverse food supply, and the eventual restoration of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming (Despomierre).

2006 – Nuvege, the forerunner in technology for the innovative growth method of hydroponically grown vegetables, developed their proprietary lighting network, which increases the return rate of vegetable growth by balancing light emissions that also advance photosynthesis through amplified levels of carbon dioxide (Inada).

2009 – Sky Green Farms built a vertical farm consisting of over 100 nine-meter tall towers in Singapore where green vegetables such as bak choi and Chinese cabbage are grown, stacked in greenhouses, and sold at local supermarkets (Doucleff). Singapore’s vertical farm is the world’s first water-driven, tropical vegetable urban vertical farm that uses green urban solutions to maintain enhanced green sustainable production of safe, fresh and delicious vegetables, using minimum land, water and energy resources,” (SkyGreens). It uses sunlight as its energy source, and captured rainwater to drive a pulley system to rotate the plants on the grow racks, ensuring an even circulation of sunlight for all the plants (Despomierre).

2011 – Dutch agricultural company, PlantLab uses red and blue LEDs instead of sunlight in their vertical farms and grow plants in completely controlled environments. By giving the plants only blue and red light, PlantLab can avoid heating its plants up needlessly, leaving more energy for growth (Hodson).

2012 – Farmed Here, a sustainable indoor vertical farming facility opened in a 90,000 square foot post-industrial building in Bedford Park, IL. Fresh, healthy, local greens such as arugula, basil, and sweet basil vinaigrette are produced here, away from the bugs, diseases, and weather that impact most produce today (Despomierre).

2012 – Local Garden, North America’s first ever VertiCrop farm, was constructed in Vancouver, Canada, shifting sustainable farming and food production practices. VertiCrop, a new technology for growing healthy, natural vegetables in a controlled environment maximizes space usage and eliminates need for pesticides. The garden is capable of growing and harvesting up to 3,500 pounds of a variety of fresh greens every week, such as kales, spinach, arugula, endive, lettuce, bak choi, escarole, basil, parsley, chards, etc. (Despomierre).

Works Cited

Despomierre, Dickson. “Long Road from Farm to Fork Worsens Food Outbreaks.” The Vertical Farm Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

Doucleff, Michaeleen. “Sky-High Vegetables: Vertical Farming Sprouts In Singapore.” NPR. NPR, 9 Nov. 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.

Gallagher, Dominic. “Le Corbusier.” The Open University. N.p., 26 Nov. 2001. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“GlobaCorp.” Vertical Farming. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013

Hodson, Hal. “Shoots in the Dark: Farming without Sunlight.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.

“The Highrise of Homes.” SITE. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Inada, Shinji. “About Nuvege.” Nuvege. Green Green Earth Inc, 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Jones, J. Benton, Dr. “Hydroponic Growing.” Growing Tomatoes. Grow Tomatoes, 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.

Krystek, Lee. “The Seven Wonders – Hanging Gardens of Babylon.” The Seven Wonders – Hanging Gardens of Babylon. N.p., 1998. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

Mulder, Dave. “Do We Need to Build Vertical Farming Skyscrapers?” Eating Real Food. N.p., 10 Feb. 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Saylor, Donn, and John Allen. “What Is Hydroponic Farming?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“Sky Green – Home.” Sky Green – Home. Sky Greens, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013

Turner, Bambi. “How Hydroponics Works.” HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.

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Memo 2: Timeline

Topic: Environmentally Friendly Buses

1990 Two CNG buses purchased for testing
Two CNG buses were purchased for initial testing to reduce pollution. They were the guinea pigs in an experiment to help decrease pollution in all of New York City. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

1991 CNG Buses Introduced
Compressed natural gas (CNG) is a substitute for gasoline. It does create pollution but to a degree much lower than its alternatives. These buses were the beginning of a completely new era and was the first step taken to ensure that emissions from buses were reduced. CNG buses are still present today and are still being purchased for use. (Compressed Natural Gas).

1994 32 additional CNG buses purchased
32 additional CNG buses were purchased to further test their capabilities of being more environmentally friendly. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

1996 10 Orion VI purchased
10 models of the Orion VI hybrid buses were purchased. They are being used for evaluation. (Diesel Electric Hybrid Buses).

1998 10 Orion VI vehicles begin operating
The preliminary tests were positive and satisfied the evaluation. The ten models of Orion VI began operating at this point for evaluation in comparison to CNG buses. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

1999 190 CNG buses purchased
After testing, 190 CNG buses were purchased due to the positive results of using CNG as a fuel. This is to further add to NYC’s slowly growing number of more environmentally efficient buses. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2000 Governor Pataki Approved Spending Plan
A five-year spending plan was approved for the purchase of compressed natural gas and hybrid electric buses. A large budget was set aside for these buses that would greatly improve the fleet. (MTA NYC Transit).

2000 Conversion to ULSD
First transportation system to convert all buses to using ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. All buses that run on diesel fuel will be using this type to be more environmentally friendly. Also it prepares for the new upcoming exhaust filter program. (Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot).

2000 Particle filters installed
Particle filters on the buses have been installed to further help eliminate diesel emissions. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2001 5 NovaBus purchased
5 NovaBus Hybrids were purchased. Only one was delivered. They were retired due to the many problems with them. (Diesel Electric Hybrid Buses).

2002 Improvements to engines
Old engines and exhaust systems were replaced to help make the older buses cleaner. (From Hybrid Batteries…).

2003 Two stroke diesel engines retired
All two stroke diesel engines have been retired at this point due to large emissions. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2003 125 Hybrid Electric Buses Purchased
In 2003, the MTA changed their bus fleet to hybrid electric. They ordered the Orion VII model from Orion International that contains a lithium ion battery rather than lead acid. 125 vehicles were ordered. These buses were the first step from the MTA to make their buses hybrid electric. The Orion VII model also has the patented HybriDrive system that makes it hybrid and electric. The engine is controlled by HybriDrive, which powers the generator. The generator powers the motor that makes the bus move. The generator also recharges the battery placed on top of the vehicles. The battery at the top of the bus is used for acceleration and when the bus needs to climb hills. A braking system is also present where it recovers energy during braking and stores it in the battery. With regenerative braking, it allows most of the energy from the generator to be recovered during the process. This technology is extremely crucial to buses in particular due to the constant stopping. In addition, it also slows down brake wear. Both the engine and the generator make up the hybrid electric system of the vehicle. With this combination, the bus produces very low emissions and has much higher gas mileage. Diesel fuel is only used to run the engine, which in turn powers the generator. The generator also assists in driving the traction motor to make the bus move. The buses also contain a diesel particle filter that further mitigates the exhaust emissions. It is said that these buses are expected to reduce up to 90% in total emissions. (NYCT Hybrid and CNG).

2004 200 additional Orion VII purchased
200 more additional Orion VII Hybrid electric buses were purchased due to the positive results from the first batch. (NYCT Hybrid and CNG).

2005 50 hybrid buses proposed for purchase
50 more additional hybrid buses was proposed for purchase by 2006. This resulted in 385 hybrid buses in the fleet. (MTA NYC Transit).

2005 30% Hybrid at five depots
At this point, the 385 hybrid vehicles represent 30% of the total number of buses in the assigned depots. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2005 (Late) 500 additional vehicles purchased
500 additional vehicles were purchased to bring the number of hybrid electric buses to almost 800. (Orion Hybrid/Electric Buses…).

2006 CNG numbers to rise to 641
The number of CNG buses are planned to rise to 641 in 2006 from the current 221. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2006 23% clean buses
The combination of CNG and hybrid electric buses will almost represent 23% of the total bus fleet. (NYCT Diesel Hybrid-Electric Buses).

2007 Storm Preparation
MTA began to prepare for storms such as emergency response centers and early warning capabilities. (August 8, 2007 Storm Report)

2008 Select Bus Service Introduced
In March 2008, Select Bus Service was introduced. Select Bus Service had a few goals in mind. One method was to give buses an exclusive part of the road. These partitions are strictly enforced and prevent other cars from sharing the lanes. These buses are also used to carry people to their location faster and more efficiently. With dedicated lanes on the road, buses spend less time idling and more time reaching their destination. Even though it was not the initial intention for the program, it mitigated pollution and helped conserve fuel. (Selective Bus Service).

2009 Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot
Newly constructed bus depot will have all vehicles on site using ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. (Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot).

2009 NYC leads hybrid bus
New York City has the most hybrid buses out of many developed countries. (As Hybrid Buses Get Cheaper…).

2011-2012 Orion VII Third Generation
90 newly upgraded Orion VII Third Generation models were purchased. These buses had slight improvements in the engine and generator that would help further assist in reducing emissions. (MTA Regional Bus Operations bus fleet).

2012 CNG and Hybrid buses in fleet
Currently have 1107 CNG buses and 875 diesel electric buses. One of the largest “green” bus fleets. (Greening Mass Transit & Metro Regions).

2015 Climate change adaptation plan
A full climate change adaptation plan will be in place with specifics regarding financing. (Greening Mass Transit & Metro Regions).

Works Cited

August 8, 2007 Storm Report. Rep. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

Barnitt, R., and K. Chandler. New York City Transit Hybrid and CNG Transit Buses. Rep. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a Transportation Fuel.” Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a Transportation Fuel. California Energy Commission, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“From Hybrid Batteries to Old Bus Windows Efficiency Is in High Gear at NYC Transit.” From Hybrid Batteries to Old Bus Windows Efficiency Is in High Gear at NYC Transit. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

Greening Mass Transit & Metro Regions. Rep. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

Maynard, Micheline. “As Hybrid Buses Get Cheaper, Cities Fill Their Fleets.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Oct. 2009. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot Replacement Charrette Report.” Mother Clare Hale Bus Depot Replacement Charrette Report. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

MTA NYC Transit. N.p.: MTA NYC Transit, 2001. Diesel Hybrid Electric Buses. US Department of Energy. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

MTA New York City Transit. N.p.: n.p., 2003. MTA New York City Transit. US Department of Energy. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“MTA Regional Bus Operations Bus Fleet.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

NYCT Disel Hybrid-Electric Buses. Rep. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“Orion Hybrid/Electric Buses Are Key To Cleaner Air And Improved Economy.” MTA Press Release. MTA, 29 Nov. 2005. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

“Select Bus Service.” MTA Planning. MTA, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. .

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PlaNYC Initiative #3: Incentivizing Recycling Timeline

PlaNYC Initiative #3: Incentivizing Recycling

1776: The patriots invent the first form of metal recycling when they melt down King George III’s statue and turn them into bullets (unicycler.com).

1866: The New York City Metropolitan Board of Health “declares war on garbage” by prohibiting New York City residents from leaving dead animals, garbage, and ash on the streets (unicycler.com).

1881: New York City’s government creates the New York City Department of Street Cleaning, which targets cleaning litter and garbage in New York City (NYC.gov).

1895: George Waring, the Commissioner of City’s Department of Street Cleaning, enacts a waste management plan that includes a law which requires mandatory separation of household waste into 3 components: ash, rubbish, and food waste. This regulation helps to promote recycling (NYC.gov).

1918: Recycling is brought to an end after World War 1. This is largely due to labor and material shortages as well as the reinstatement of ocean dumping. This effectively eliminates incentives for recycling (NYC.gov).

1933: The New York City Department of Street Cleaning is renamed the Department of Sanitation (NYC.gov).

1936: New York City’s Department of Sanitation creates the New York Sanitation Police force. Currently, these officers have at least two years of experience with the Sanitation Department and 600 hours of police training. They are responsible for enforcing recycling regulations and handling violations such as littering, mixing recyclables with non-recyclables, and dumping of toxic wastes (Peake).

1982: The New York State Returnable Container Law is enacted. Also known as the Bottle Bill, this law is created to decrease litter, reduce strain on solid waste facilities and encourage recycling. Customers are paid 5 cents for each bottle returned. 26 years since its enactment this bill has resulted in a reduction of roadside litter by 70%, 90 billion recycled containers and eliminated 200,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year (dec.ny.gov).

1986: Voluntary recycling programs begin in New York City at the beginning of the year (weill.cornell.edu).

In July, recycling becomes mandatory after Local Law 19 is passed (weill.cornell.edu).

1988: At the end of the year, over two and one-half million tons of aluminum waste was generated, with approximately 31.7 percent of the waste recovered for reuse. Aluminum recycling becomes a target of state and municipal legislation “either in the form of container deposit bills or trash separation ordinances” (Allen, Davis).

1989: Local Law 19 passes, making recycling mandatory in New York City. This is part of a larger recycling program initiated during the same year (nyc.gov).

1990: The New York City Department of Sanitation notices New York City’s poorest areas are least likely to recycle.  They contemplate setting up more recycling banks in Harlem and the Bronx, but the residents are opposed to it because they are afraid of the foul smells and noises (Gold).

1991: American consumers save around $4 billion through use of cents-off coupons.  This wide coupon use sparks interest and research to create effective coupon incentives for recycling aluminum (Allen, Davis).

1992-1996: During this time, there was the initiation and expansion of Christmas tree collection as well as fall leaves for composting. This results in a 12.8 % diversion rate (Farrell, Hirst 17).

1993: Jeff Allen and Duane Davis conduct a study on the effectiveness of incentivizing recycling.  They offer coupon incentives for those who participate in recycling aluminum.  They discover income, gender, and occupation are the most prominent demographic variables associated with recyclers in the study (Allen, Davis).

1994: The New York City Department of Sanitation’s annual comparison of the per ton cost of recycling and the per ton cost of refuse collection and disposal show that the per ton recycling costs ($343) are higher than the per ton cost of refuse collection and disposal (DSM Environmental).

1997: Fifty-nine districts in all five boroughs of New York City have recycling requirement advertisements (NYC.gov).

2000: Recycling growth rate in the United States from 1967-2000 grows to 12.7 percent (Dyssel, Langenhoven).

2001: New York’s Department of Solid Waste’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling requires all New York City public schools to integrate a recycling and waste prevention curriculum in all elementary schools (Nichols).

2002: Since the establishment of the new recycling program in 1989 the recycling of waste of the city increases from less than 1 percent to 20 percent. However later this year, there are cutbacks on recycling programs. As a result, collection of metal, glass, and plastic are suspended and recycling collection occurres on alternating weeks (nrdc.org).

2004: Weekly recycling collection and all material collection are reestablished (weill.cornell.edu).

Ron Gonen founds RecycleBank, a rewards-based recycling participation program in New York City.  RecycleBank keeps track of how many individuals recycle, and rewards them with gift cards that can be used at local stores and on eBay (Koch).

2006: The New York City Council tries to enact a bill that would make it mandatory for residents to recycle computer, television, and handheld electronics in an attempt to reduce the amount of toxic materials used to make electronics; the residents would be compensated for recycling (Industry NEWS).

2007: PlaNYC is established by the New York City government, with Mayor Bloomberg in charge (PlaNYC).

RecycleBank is implemented in Wilmington, Delaware.  Wilmington’s landfill diversion rate grows to 35 percent and has a 90 percent biweekly participation. (Yepsen).

2008: The New York City Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling partners up with Verizon Wireless to urge all New York City residents to donate old mobile phones.  The cause is designed to recycle cell phones to aid survivors of domestic violence (Leisure & Travel Week 95).

2009: The New York State Returnable Container Law “The Bottle Bill” is expanded to include plastic water bottles. It is a huge success and contributes to the increase of 4.5 billion containers collected by deposit programs between New York, Oregon and Connecticut (Collins, Haight).

New York City becomes the first city in the United States to win the International Award for Sustainable Transport (Drug Week).

2010: CVS/pharmacy begins a recycling incentive program in all United States locations.  Every four times a customer chooses not to use a plastic bag, s/he receives a $1 store voucher (Koch).

Sprint executives found eRecyclingCorps, which allows Sprint customers to trade-in their old cell phone for a new one.  New York State participates (Koch).

2011: RecycleBank partners up with Brookhaven, the largest town in New York City, to create an inventive-based recycling program for all the town’s residents.  Residents who register on recyclebank.com earn points every time they recycle.  These points can be spent towards various restaurants and recreational activities around the town (Callegari).

2012: The Recycling Innovators Forum and Competition is enacted by Alcoa, the American Chemistry’s Council’s Plastics Division, Coca-Cola Recycling, eCullet, Resource Recycling, Inc., and Waste Management, Inc in Oregon.  The goal of this forum is to give ten innovators a chance to represent their recycling incentive ideas (Business Wire).

Works Cited

Allen, Jeff, and Duane Davis. “Using Coupon Incentives In Recycling Aluminum: A Market Approach To Energy Conservation Policy.” Journal Of Consumer Affairs 27.2 (1993): 300-318. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.
“Analysis of New York City Department of Sanitation Curbside Recycling and Refuse Costs.” Natural Resources Defense Council. N.p., May 2008. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
“A Brief History of New York City Recycling.” Weill Cornell Medical College Sustainability. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
Callegari, John. “Brookhaven Incentivizes Residents’ Recycling.” Long Island Business 2 Aug. 2011: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Farrell, Kevin P., and Martha K. Hirst. “NYC Recycles.” New York City Department of Sanitation. N.p., Fall 1999. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
Gold, Allan R. “The Poor Mainly Recycle Poverty.” The New York Times 30 Dec. 1990, Final ed.: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.
“History of NYC Recycling.” NYC.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Langenhoven, Belinda, and Michael Dyssel. “The Recycling Industry And Subsistence Waste Collectors: A Case Study Of Mitchell’s Plain.”Urban Forum 18.1 (2007): 114-132. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.
“Mobile Phone Buyback Offered at Carrier Stores.” ERecycling Corps. N.p., 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
“New York Is First U.S. City to Win International Award for Sustainable Transport.” Drug Week (30 Jan. 2009): n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
“New York’s Bottle Bill.” Department of Environmental Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Nichols, Sarah. “NYC School Recycling More than Child’s Play.” ProQuest. N.p., July 2001. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
“NYC Department of Sanitation and Office to Combat Domestic Violence Join Verizon Wireless to Recycle Cell Phones to Aid Survivors.” Leisure & Travel Week 24 Mar. 2008: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
“NYC Pushing Electronics Recycling Bills.” Industry News 01 Jan. 2008: n. pag. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
“NYC Recycling Made Easy.” Natural Resources Defense Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
“NYC Residential Recycling Law.” NYC.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
“On First Anniversary of NY’s Bottle Law Expansion, Early Returns Show Strong Signs of Success.” Bottle Bill Resource Guide. N.p., 29 Oct. 2010. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
“PlaNYC: Solid Waste.” PlaNYC. Campaign for New York’s Future, n.d. Web.
“Recycling History.” Unicycler. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
“The Recycling Innovators Forum Incentivizes Recycling’s Future.” Business Wire 25 Oct. 2012: n. pag. LexisNexis Academic. Web. 16 Mar. 2013.
Yepsen, Rhodes. “Encouraging Sustainable Recycling Behavior Through Financial Incentives.” Biocycle 48.12 (2007): 34-37. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

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Memo 2: 100 Years of MTA, Flooding and Platform Screen Doors

To: Samantha MacBride
From: Christopher Chang
Date: March 18th, 2013
Re: 100 Year Timeline – 100 Years of MTA, Flooding and Platform Screen Doors

1904 (October 27): New York City’s first official subway system opens. Operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit. It was a 9.1-mile long subway line that had 28 stations stretching from City Hall to 145th Street. (MTA 2013)

1938: A hurricane made direct impact with Providence, Rhode Island, submerging the downtown area under 12 feet of water. The Army Corp’s of Engineers projected that this could happen to New York City. (Britt 2005)

1955 (May 12): The Third Avenue El closes. It was the last elevated line in Manhattan. This is a cause of concern, especially after Sandy, because it means all subway lines in Manhattan are underground. (MTA 2013)

1955 (December 1): A track connection between Queens Boulevard line and 60th Street tunnel opens up. (MTA 2013)

1961: St. Petersburg, Russia opens station that has Platform STEEL Doors. Can be considered the beginning of a “revolution” of how platforms are created and managed. A total of 10 stations have these Platform Steel Doors. (Metrobits 2013)

1970: First phase of Seoul’s subway system was established. In order to take out water from tunnels, subway-pumping stations were formed. (Kim 2001)

1987: Singapore’s Subway system becomes the first to have Platform Screen Doors. (Metrobits 2013)

1994 (September 22): Construction begins on the connector between the Queens Boulevard line and the 63rd Street tunnel. (MTA 2013)

1999 (August 26): Quick and heavy rain fall, 2.5 – 4.0 inches over two hours, caused flooding in the subways of New York City. The MTA’s drainage system can handle 1.5 inches of rain per hour. (Chan 2007)

2000: Second phase of Seoul’s subway system is completed. Like the first phase, subway-pumping stations were utilized. (Kim 2001)

2001: The Houston Medical Center installs submarine type doors to prevent flooding. Earlier in the year, Tropical storm Allison had ravaged Houston leaving this hospital without power and flooded medical center streets with up to 9 feet of water. (Geller 2012)

2003 (November 3): The “redbird” subway cars are discontinued. Significant because there is no standard distance between train and platform edge where the doors would have to be installed. (MTA 2013)

2003 (December 17): The JFK AirTrain service begins. Significant because the JFK AirTrain stations all have a form of PSD’s. This may be because it is all elevated above ground. (MTA 2013)

2004 (September 8): Hurricane Francis accumulated more than two inches of rain per hour in New York City. It was the second major time that a storm paralyzed the subway system. (Chan 2007)

2005 (October 20): The Yongdu Station of Seoul Subway Line 2 is the first station in South Korea to have Platform Screen Doors. (Railway-Technology 2013)

2006 (December): Port Authority Board approves the project to build steel floodgates in PATH tunnels beneath the Hudson River. They have budgeted $181 million. Not expected to be operational until 2014. (Donohue 2012)

2007 (September 27): Patent for Platform Screen Doors by Ross Bradley and Derek Tate. (Bradley 2007)

2007: Installation of Platform Screen Doors starts on the SMRT portion of the Seoul Metro. (Kim 2012)

2007: MTA talks about the possibility of Platform Screen Doors for the Second Avenue line that is currently being constructed. (Neuman 2007)

2007 (August): Mike, Lombardi, the head of subway operations at NYC Transit, stated ”NYC Transit pumps 13 million gallons of water out of the system a day – even when it’s not raining – because of groundwater in the system.” (Donohue 2007)

2007 (August 8): Another flood cripples the New York City Subway System. (Chan 2007)

2008 (June): Attempt at solution to flooding in Queens used. Workers would take blue tarp and put 6 cement filled buckets on top of them to hold them in place. (Montefinise 2008)

2008 (September): New elevated grates replace old ground grates in certain areas of Queens. Certain grates are sealed completely to prevent flooding. (Dunlap 2008)

2008 (October): MTA unveils a prototype that acts as a 3 in 1: Flood protection, bench and bike parking. It was put in TriBeCa. (Lee 2008)

2008 (December 22): New R160 Subway cars begin to replace 45-year-old trains. Significant because installation of Platform Screen Door’s may call for restructuring of trains to fit in tunnels going into stations. (MTA 2013)

2009: Installation of Platform Screen Doors is finished on the SMRT portion of the Seoul Metro System. Seoul has 3 subway lines: Seoul Metro, SMRT, and Metro 9. SMRT had all 148 stations of over 152 km installed with PSD’s. (Chung 2010)

2009 December: ALL Stations in Seoul have been fitted with Platform Screen Doors becoming the first subway system in the world having Automatic Platform Doors (Park 2009)

2010: MTA releases a Request for Information for a pilot program for a barrier on platforms. (Kabak 2012)

2011 (July 28): South Korea has to deal with immense flooding (20 inches of rain). It shut down its subway system to cope with the flooding. (Usher 2011)

2011 (August 27): Hurricane Irene comes through New York City. It forces the city to shut its subway system down. Luckily, there was no flooding. (Feis 2011)

2011 (November 11): Line 1 of Paris Metro unveils Platform Screen Doors. Line 1 is 111-year-old subway line. (Zara 2012)

2012 (March): A report comes out about particulate matters (PM) levels inside and outside the PSD’s in Seoul. There is a significant reduction in the mean concentration of both PM10 and PM2.5. PM10 decreased by 16% and PM2.5 decreased by 12%. (Kim 2012)

2012 (October 29): Super Storm Sandy cripples the nation’s largest subway system. It was one of the worst storms this city has seen. It takes days to recover the system and weeks to recover certain lines. (NY Times 2012)

2012 (October 30): Pumping begins at stations in Manhattan. Takes days to revive the system. Certain flaws are revealed about the subway system that may have been ignored before. (NY Times 2012)

2012 (November): MTA explores the possibility of using “tunnel plugs” when and if intense weather conditions arise. A team of engineers at West Virginia University have been developing this new technology for 5 years. (Donohue 2012)

2012 (December): There are multiple cases of people being pushed into tracks and killed. Begins to raise questions about the necessity of Platform Screen Doors in New York City. (Zara 2012)

2013 (January): NYC Storm Commission calls for “floodgates” at tunnels, subways and airports. (Gormley 2013)

2013 (January): MTA explores possibility of installing sliding doors in L Train stations. The L line has only one train, the L train. So, it is often used as a “test rat” for many different changes the MTA wants to make to its system. (Yakas 2013)

2013 (March): South Ferry station will be reopening due to intense flooding of the South-Ferry Whitehall Subway Station. It will take 2 years to repair the latter station. (Davies 2013)

2013 (March): Metrobits.org states that Platform Screen Doors are not meant to prevent flooding. They have many other benefits to subway stations such as decreased track fires, less injuries and better air quality in stations. (Metrobits 2013)

2018: All stations in South Korea are expected to have operating Platform Screen Doors (Kim 2013)

Works Cited

Bradley, R., & Tate, D. (2007, September 28). Platform Screen Doors. Retrieved from http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2007107747

Britt, R. R. (2005, January 14). Subway Flooding: A Hidden and Neglected Risk. LiveScience.com. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.livescience.com/3797-subway-flooding-hidden-neglected-risk.html

Chan, S. (2007, August 8). Why the Subways Flood. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/why-do-the-subways-flood/

Chung, Hang Jae. (2013, March 18). SMRT’s Platform Screen Door & IT Technology. Retrieved from http://www.apta.com/mc/fctt/previous/2010tt/Presentations/SMRT-Platform-Screen-Door-and-IT-Technology.pdf

Davies, A. (2013, March 11). It Will Take 2 Years To Repair A Subway Station Hurricane Sandy Destroyed. Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2-years-repair-subway-station-195351629.html

Donohue, P. (2007, August 9). It’s transit hell from heavens. NY Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/transit-hell-heavens-article-1.237884

Donohue, P. (2012, November 26). MTA exploring using inflatable and expandable devices to seal subway tunnels and prevent type of flooding that crippled system during Sandy. NY Daily News. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-exploring-inflatable-expandable-devices-seal-tunnels-article-1.1208561

Dunlap, D. (2008, September 19). New Subway Grates Add Aesthetics to Flood Protection. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/19/new-subway-grates-add-aesthetics-to-flood-protection/

Feis, A., Ford, S., & Fermino, J. (2011, August 27). Hurricane Irene halts NY, NJ mass transit. New York Post. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mass_transit_shutdown_mode_ge2t81TM8fgggFhhBkbHoJ

Geller, A. (2012, November 27). New York City flood protection won’t be easy. timesfreepress.com. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/nov/27/new-york-city-flood-protection-wont-be-easy/?breakingnews

Gormley, M. (2013, January 12). NY Storm Commission Urges Flood Walls for Subways. Boston.com. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/news/weather/2013/01/12/storm-commission-urges-flood-walls-for-subways/livgNvGLYXjweeGufJDycI/story.html

Kabak, B. (2012, December 31). “A screen door on a submarine…” Second Ave. Sagas. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://secondavenuesagas.com/2012/12/31/a-screen-door-on-a-submarine/

Kim, J. W. (2013, January 14). With a series of investments … National Railways screen door installation “slows down”. Korea Times. Retrieved from http://news.hankooki.com/lpage/society/201301/h2013011402313721950.htm

Kim, K.-H., Ho, D. X., Jeon, J.-S., & Kim, J.-C. (2012). A noticeable shift in particulate matter levels after platform screen door installation in a Korean subway station. Atmospheric Environment, 49, 219–223. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.11.058

Kim, Y.-Y., Lee, K.-K., & Sung, I. (2001). Urbanization and the groundwater budget, metropolitan Seoul area, Korea. Hydrogeology Journal, 9(4), 401–412. doi:10.1007/s100400100139

Lee, J. 8. (2008, October 1). Three in One — Flood Protection, Benches and Bike Parking. City Room. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/three-in-one-flood-protection-benches-and-bike-parking-in-a-new-design/

Metrobits. (2013, March 18). Platform Screen Doors – metrobits.org. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://mic-ro.com/metro/platform-screen-doors.html

Montefinise, A. (2008, June 29). GRATE! MTA’S LAME SUBWAY FLOOD FIGHT. New York Post. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/item_4FarwpLFq5mvjnjINsnwqK

MTA. (2013, March 7). New York City Transit – History and Chronology. New York City Transit – History and Chronology. Retrieved from http://www.mta.info/nyct/facts/ffhist.htm

Neuman, W. (2007, April 5). 2nd Ave. Subway Platforms May Get Glass Walls and Sliding Doors. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/05/nyregion/05doors.html

New York Times. (2012, October 29). Assessing Damage From Hurricane Sandy. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/30/nyregion/hurricane-sandys-aftermath.html?_r=0

Park, S. S. (2009, May 5). All Metro Stations in Seoul to Have Screen Doors This Year. The Korea Times. Retrieved from http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/05/117_44392.html

Railway-Technology. (2013, March 17). Seoul Metropolitan Subway. Retrieved from http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/seoul-metro/

Usher, C. (2011, July 28). South Korea mobilizes to cope with flooding, landslides. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2011/0728/South-Korea-mobilizes-to-cope-with-flooding-landslides

Yakas, B. (2013, January 13). MTA Exploring Installing Sliding Doors At L Train Stations. Gothamist. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://gothamist.com/2013/01/13/mta_exploring_installing_sliding_do.php

Zara, C. (2012, December 6). After New York Post Subway Death Story, A Safety Question Remains: Why No Platform Barriers? International Business Times. Retrieved March 17, 2013, from http://www.ibtimes.com/after-new-york-post-subway-death-story-safety-question-remains-why-no-platform-barriers-924939

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History of Green Roofs & the Urban Heat Island Effect


1810s: A chemist from Britain Luke Howard, discovers the urban heat island effect as he observed the difference in temperatures from London and rural areas near it. He concludes that crowded population and structure of the buildings retained more heat in the city. Howard, however, is not the only person who explored this phenomenon.  (Mills)

1931: United States’ first modern green roof is installed in Rockefeller Center, New York. It is now naturally the oldest commercial building with green roof in America. Developed and built by John R. Todd and Raymond Hood respectively, the Center has a total of five roof gardens that add beautiful greenspace in Midtown Manhattan but also effectively mitigates the city’s heat island effect. (Magill & Midden & Groninger & Therrell)

1961: Reinhard Bornkamm is a researcher at Berlin’s Free University who is internationally known to be the father of modern green roofs. He published his work on green roofs in Germany and marked the beginning of increased further green technology research. Green roofs began to gain attention and popularity throughout Europe. (Metropolismagazine)

1970: GENO Haus is a government sponsored green roof built in Germany that remained functional until 1990. It was made of a Styrofoam base. It is not a surprise it was made in Germany considering that Germany is a leading adapter of green infrastructure. (Metropolismagazine)

1971: Gerda Gollwitzer and Werner Wirsing, early pioneers of green roof technology published Roof Areas Inhabited, Viable and Covered by Vegetation. It outlined the modern green-roof concept. (Solomon)

1975: The German Landscape Research, Development & Construction Society is founded. It “established widely followed green-roof standards” and has remained the basic tool for reliable green roof construction for many years. (Metropolismagazine & Philippi)

1986: Friedensreich Hundertwasser builds a colorful apartment house in Vienna, Austria that has grass, plants, flowers and trees covering its roof as well as its sides and balconies. Some green roofs resemble a forest and interestingly, in one of them, compose toliets from its residents fertilizes the green roof. His green infrastructures are recognized as landmarks, supporting the argument that people find greenspaces esthetically pleasing. (Metropolismagazine)

1989: By the end of 1980s, one million square meters of green roofs are installed in Germany. (Magill & Midden & Groninger & Therrell)

1993: In Dietikon, Switzerland, architect Peter Vetsch builds nine concrete residential homes “buried in earth and grass.” Grass covers the homes entirely except for the entrances. Some home roof tops are used as gardens while others simply as sitting areas. (Metropolismagazine & Greenroofs.org)

1995: Emilio Ambasz, an Argentine born US architect, “transposes a 100,000 square foot park in the city center onto 15 terraces of a new government building” in Fukuoka Japan. The staircase-shaped rooftop garden is a beautiful juxtaposition of nature and the city. (Metropolismagazine)

1995: 700 people in Chicago died from a heat-wave; displayed the seriousness of urban heat. (NYC Department of Design & Construction)

1996: By the end of 1990s, ten million square meters of green roofs are installed in Germany because of government policy and state legislation that encourage eco-friendly green infrastructure. (Magill & Midden & Groninger & Therrell)

1997: William McDonough creates Gap Headquarters in San Bruno, California. It includes a 69,000 square-foot green roof. (Metropolismagazine)

1998: Impressed by green roofs in Germany, Mayor Richard M. Daley “directs municipal funds toward green-roof development” in Chicago, US. (Metropolismagazine)

1998: In Washington, D.C., “the U.S. Green Building Council created the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design rating system: green roofs can contribute toward up to six points on the 69-point system.” (Metropolismagazine)

1999: In Toronto, Canada, Steven W. Peck forms Green Roofs for Healthy Cities designed to promote the application of green roofs in North America by public and private organizations. (Solomon)

2000: June 29: Study showed 5C to 2C decrease in temperature from green roof infrastructure in Toronto. (Bass)

2001: “William McDonough and landscape architects Conservation Design Forum install the country’s first municipal green roof on Chicago’s City hall.” Greatly effective for lowering the city’s overall temperature, 7 degrees lower on average and 30 degrees lower in the summer compared to its neighboring roofs. (Metropolismagazine & Chicagogreenroofs.org)

2002: The final report of New York City Regional Heat Island Initiative included test results demonstrating green roofs, a heat island mitigation strategy, directly lowering surface temperatures of the buildings in NYC. (NYSERDA)

2003: In New York, Rafael Pelli and Diana Balmori designed the first green residential building in North America named the Solaire, which includes two green roofs. (Metropolicmagazine)

2003: Total of 35,000 people, 14,000 in France alone, died from the European heat wave in August. (NYC Department of Design & Construction)

2004: Millennium Park in Chicago is the largest green rooftop garden in the world. “The park extends 24.5 acres over underground parking garages.” (Metropolismagazine)

2006: Research has shown that “green roof infrastructure could reduce average surface temperatures in New York City by as much as 1.4F (0.8C) if 50% of the city’s flat roofs are greened.” (Gaffin & Parshall)

2008: “Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, New York is the first Platinum LEED high-rise office building will include a 4,500 square foot green roof on a connecting building.” This green roof reduces the urban heat island effect in New York City. (Metropolismagazine)

2008: November: A 950 square foot roof on a residential house in Brooklyn Heights, NY was completed. (New York Green Roofs)

2008: June: Staircase-style green roof for a commercial building in Midtown Manhattan that is 10,900 square foot big was completed; built mostly for esthetic purposes.

2008: A 400 square foot green roof atop a residential building in Brooklyn Heights, NY was completed. (New York Green Roofs)

2009: In Lower East side of Manhattan lays a 2,950 square foot green roof and this “commercial residence project features a prevegetated extensive green roof system installed within an abstract paving grid to create a striking contemporary design.” (New York Green Roofs)

2009: November: Green roof on one of Columbia University’s residential buildings in the Upper West Side was completed. It is 11,600 square foot with vegetated green roof mats. (New York Green Roofs)

2010: Mayor Bloomberg announced his PlaNYC initiative to increase green roofs in New York City to decrease storm water runoff and meet the plan’s goal of making “90 percent of City waterways suitable for recreation” by reducing storm water overflow with green technologies. (PlaNYC)

2010: November: One of the biggest green roofs in New York City. 19,000 square foot green roof was completed on top of Beth Israel Hospital near Union Square. This green space is exclusive and only accessible to “tenants of four surrounding residential towers”. Its deep soil is effective for mitigating storm water runoff, a problem the city needs to address. (New York Green Roofs)

2010: NYC Green Roof Property Tax Abatement Program is established to encourage environmentally friendly buildings. Benefits of a one-year Tax Abatement include $4.5 per square foot of green roof and as much as $100,000. There are nine requirements for a green roof to qualify for an abatement including a drainage layer, insulation layer, and a vegetation layer. This program is the city’s effort to encourage building owners to install green roofs to mitigate the increasing temperature in urban areas. (nyc.gov/buildings & Rosenberg)

2011: September: A small project for residents in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan was completed. Only about 150 square foot built for “mental well-being” of the people. (New York Green Roofs)

2011: November: Installation for green roof on top of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new Visitor Center was completed. (New York Green Roofs)

2012: New roof top outdoor venue was created for Brooklyn Academy of Music located in Brooklyn, NY. (New York Green Roofs)

2012: May: A green roof project in Midtown. It is about 7,000 square foot big and truly a beautiful combination of grass and flowers right next to the living room’s door. Also decorated with comfortable chairs and small tables. (New York Green Roofs)


1. Rosenberg, Tina. “Green Roofs in Big Cities Bring Relief From Above.” The New York Times. 23 May 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013 <http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/in-urban-jungles-green-roofs-bring-relief-from-above/>

2. “NYC Green Roof Property Tax Abatement Program.” Nyc.gov/buildings. Jan. 2010. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.<http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/downloads/pdf/green_roof_tax_abatement_info.pdf>.

3. Mills, Gerald. “Luke Howard and the Climate of London.” RMetS 63.6 (2008): 153-57. Web. 17 Mar. 2013. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1002/wea.195/asset/195_ftp.pdf;jsessionid=218882249241785F150BE7135F815EBA.d04t01?v=1&t=hefzrwjn&s=01196a83d750a5789d0816f3f1cbf28abf08c143>.

4. Magill, John D.; Midden, Karen; Groninger, John; and Therrell, Matthew, “A History and Definition of Green Roof Technology with Recommendations for Future Research” (2011).Research Papers.Paper 91.

5. Bass, Brad. “Mitigrating the Urban Heat Island with Green Roof Infrastructure” Accessed February 19, 2013. http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/pdf/finalpaper_bass.pdf.

6. Rosenzweig, Cynthia; Gaffin, Stuart; Parshall, Lily. “Green Roofs in the New York Metropolitan Region” Accessed February 19, 2013. http://www.statisticstutors.com/articles/debrat-green-roofs.pdf.

7. Rosenzweig, Cynthia; Solecki, William; Parshall, Lily; Gaffin, Stuart; Lynn, Barry; Goldberg, Richard’ Cox, Jennifer; Hodges, Sara. “Mitigrating New York City’s Heat Island with Urban Forestry, Living Roofs, and Light Surfaces” Accessed February 19, 2013. http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20060130/103341.pdf.

8. Rosenzweig, Cynthia; Solecki, William D.; Slosberg, Ronald B. “Mitigrating New York City’s Heat Island with Urban Forestry, Living Roofs, and Light Surfaces” Accessed February 19, 2013. http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/topics/urban-forests/docs/NYSERDA_heat_island.pdf.

9. Solomon, Nancy B. “Vegitation Systems Atop Buildings Yield Multiple Environmental Benefits.” Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://classes.uofk.edu/file.php/274/Reading_4-green_roof_03-2003-01.pdf>.

10. Philippi, Peter M. “Introduction to the German FLL-Guideline for the Planning, Execution and Upkeep of Green-roof Sites.” Epa.gov. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. <http://www.epa.gov/region8/greenroof/pdf/IntroductiontotheGermanFLL2.pdf>

11. “New York Green Roofs- Projects.” New York Green Roofs. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. <http://newyorkgreenroofs.com/projects>

12. “DDC Cool & Green Roofing Manual.” Nyc.gov. New York City Department of Design & Construction, Web. 18 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/ddc/downloads/pdf/cool_green_roof_man.pdf>.


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Memo 2: The History of Composting

History of Composting

2334 BC: The Akkadian Empire incorporated the use of manure within their agricultural practices in the Mesopotamian Valley. This practice was known and recorded on their clay tablets (Smith, Friend, and Johnson 2012).

18th to early 19th Century: Because the United States had an abundance of land rich with nutrients, many farmers disregarded the idea of sustainable farming practices. The use of composting as a means to maintain soil fertility was not considered a worthwhile practice to invest in, which led to significant depletion of vital nutrients in the soil (Blum 1992).

Mid 19th Century: The depletion of soil nutrients because of unsustainable farming practices led to a substantial decrease in crop production, especially in areas near the East Coast. The decline in crop production prompted farmers to explore better and more sustainable ways to farm. Composting was seen as a solution to the problem. Farmers now stressed the importance of reusing organic wastes produced in their own farms as a means to maintain soil fertility. The growth of urban cities such as New York and Philadelphia also played a role in the renewed interest towards composting in agriculture. Increased organic wastes produced from these cities were transported to farms that were then used as fertilizers, thus creating a sustainable relationship (Blum 1992).

Late 19th to early 20th Century: Interestingly enough, urbanization that originally fueled the idea of composting, was the same mechanism that started to undermine it. Further urbanization spurred demands of agriculture produce that could not be met by farmers who used compost as natural fertilizers. The previous sustainable relationship between the cities’ organic waste and farmers’ fertilizers began to deteriorate as the density of cities made it progressively challenging to recycle (Blum 1992).

1918: After World War I ended, an excess of nitrogen that was originally designed for explosives was redirected to the agricultural industry. Synthetic nitrogen was used as a form of inexpensive artificial fertilizer. Even government authorities encouraged farmers to utilize artificial fertilizers to eliminate food shortages and meet the demands of the growing urban population. Unfortunately, these artificial fertilizers contributed to the substantial deterioration of soil quality and soil erosion (Blum 1992).

 1920’s: Considered the pioneer in organic farming, Sir Albert Howard’s work in India concluded that the quality of crops was primarily dependent upon the health and fertility of the soil, which was in turn dependent upon humus. Humus, also known as stable organic matter, was in turn tied to the vitality of the soil. His invention of the Indore Process involved composting layers of vegetable and animal waste in trenches, alternated with animal manure. Farmers were also required to physically turn the compost twice every six months and maintain its moisture. This natural process was seen to have the capacity to salvage the soil nutrients depleted by artificial fertilizers (Blum 1992).

1930’s: Droughts and previous exhaustive farming practices led to the Dust Bowl in the United States, one of the most prominent agricultural catastrophes in history. The experience of the Dust Bowl triggered worldwide reflection and speculation upon past agricultural practices (Blum 1992).

1940’s: Environmental and soil conservationists extensively studied the makings of soil vitality and the causes that led to the Dust Bowl in 1930’s. The use of humus and composting resurfaced again as an environmentally sound agricultural practice worthy of looking into (Blum 1992).

1950’s: Composting in the United States began to develop not only as an agricultural practice, but also as a method to treat municipal solid waste. Big cities continued to produce vast amounts of waste because of increased wealth and population growth, which polluted the environment and reduced the efficiency of existing disposable methods. Organic activists and environmental conservationists also strongly advocated cities to use composting as a means for waste management (Blum 1992).

1960’s: J.I. Rodale, a notable advocate for organic farming and health in the United States, encouraged the use of composting in his publications. His publications provided alternative views of looking at agriculture and waste treatment (Blum 1992).

1970: From the 1950’s to 1970’s, various companies surfaced in the United States hoping to build a business in the composting industry. Composting plants sought to produce and sell compost as a form fertilizer, similar to certain countries in Europe. The majority of these companies failed due to lack of governmental policy and financial support (Blum 1992).

1980’s: Waste management in urban cities became a more and more crucial topic as landfill disposal costs escalated and the availability landfill space diminished. Alternative methods, such as composting, were explored (Blum 1992).

1990’s: The Department of Sanitation of New York experimented with different pilot programs in Brooklyn and Staten Island to investigate the viability of composting in the city. The results of the pilot programs revealed that these methods were costly and inefficient to operate on a large scale. The composting technology also produced unflattering odors, and was considered by the Department of Sanitation to be an inappropriate way of waste management due to the density of the city. The pilot program designed to study residential backyard composting concluded that this method was a very successful method in recycling organic wastes. However, the DSNY also pointed out that backyard composting does not appeal to many people, and will have little to no effect on the city’s waste stream (“Composting Pilot Projects and Studies” 2013).

1992: After several pilot programs, New York City’s Solid Waste Management Plan continued to advocate for an in-depth exploration of composting as a potential waste management technique (Lange 2004).

 1992: The Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling started to host “Compost Givebacks” days and supplied free compost to the residents of New York. The compost was derived from The Fresh Kills Leaf Composting site. The NYC Department of Sanitation was stated to have the capacity to collect 15,000 tons of fall leaves and 2,500 tons of Christmas tress for composting (“Compost Giveback Program” 2013).

1993: The NYC Compost Project was established to educate New Yorkers and different organizations on composting. The NYC Compost Project is the primary sponsorship for a variety of other composting workshops and programs (“NYC Compost Project” 2013).

1997: The NYC Compost Project sold backyard-composting bins for $20 instead of its original price of $80 through the use of subsidies. The NYC Compost Project hoped to combine the sale of backyard composting bin with the efforts of “Compost Givebacks” days to encourage New Yorkers to manage their own waste through composting (“Compost Giveback Program” 2013).

1999: The Department of Sanitation launched a Backyard Composting Pilot project to investigate the plausibility of implementing a large-scale backyard-composting project in New York. The results of the pilot program revealed that New Yorkers who had access to backyards and an interest in composting were uncommon. Although the pilot project showed that backyard composting would not significantly reduce the exportation of municipal waste, the Department of Sanitation continued to encourage New Yorkers to compost because doing so would raise awareness of waste management (Lange 1999).

2001: The Fresh Kills Landfill located in Staten Island closed in 2001, eliminating New York City’s primary source of waste disposal. The closure of the Fresh Kills Landfills rendered New York completely dependent upon other facilities for the disposal of its wastes.  New York signed contracts with other waste management facilities, costing at an average of $70 per ton at the time (Lange 2004).

2000-2001: The Department of Sanitation conducted a research project to determine if mixed waste composting has the potential to further develop as a waste-management strategy for New York City. The projected collected 500 tons of mixed waste from Staten Island and was sent to Marlborough, Massachusetts. The waste was placed into rotating drums, which was then sorted and separated. The project discovered that this method could produce compost of worthy value, but the extensive screening of non-degradable materials before composting led to escalated costs (“Composting Pilot Projects and Studies” 2013).

2005: The Department of Sanitation partnered with the NYC Economic Development Corporation to analyze the possibility of a large-scale composting program that would use organic waste derived from the Fulton Fish Market and Hunts Point Produce Market. The Department of Sanitation hoped to reduce NYC waste and assist these wholesale markets in moderating their disposal costs. The project determined that anaerobic digestion is a technology worthy of further investigation in terms of waste management for these markets (“Composting Pilot Projects and Studies” 2013).

2011: The program known as GrowNYC was launched to gather organic waste from New York City residents. The waste collected from Greenmarkets would be sent to various compost sites for composting (“Grow NYC” 2013).

2012: The Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse, and Recycling created the NYC Compost Project Local Organics Recovery program to offer New Yorkers additional places to drop off their organic wastes (“NYC’s Local Organics Recover Programs” 2013).

2013: GrowNYC reached a milestone by collecting over one million pounds of organic waste since its implementation (“Grow NYC” 2013).

Works Cited

Blum, Barton. “Composting and the Roots of Sustainable Agriculture.” Agricultural History 66.2 (1992): 171–188. JSTOR. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

“Compost Giveback Program.” NYC.gov. NYC.gov, 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

“Composting Pilot Projects and Studies.” NYC.gov. NYC.gov, 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

“Grow NYC.” GrowNYC. GrowNYC, 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

Lange, Robert. Municipal Solid Waste Composting Report. Rep. NYC.gov, Jan. 2004. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

Lange, Robert. NYC.gov. Rep. New York City Department of Sanitation, June 1999. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

“NYC Compost Project.” NYC.gov. NYC.gov, 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

“NYC’s Local Organics Recovery Programs.” NYC.gov. New York City Department of Sanitation, 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.

Smith, Martha, Duane Friend, and Holly Johnson. “Composting for the Homeowner.” Composting for the Homeowner. University of Illinois, 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2013.


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Timeline of Electricity and Power Outages in New York City Metropolitan Area

1878 – Thomas Edison, funded by financiers such as J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family, established the Edison Electric Light Company to “own and license his patents in the electric light field” (ConEdison). 

1879 –Edison and Francis Upton, his assistant developed a carbon filament that would burn in a vacuum in a glass bulb for forty hours. They demonstrated the light bulb to their backers early in December 1879, and by the end of the month were exhibiting the invention to the public (ConEdison). 

1880 – The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York was incorporated on December 17, 1880, to develop and install a central generating station. Edison focused on creating a system of electric generation and distribution that would turn his light bulb into a commercially efficient and economical business (ConEdison). 

1881 – Edison displays how to supply electricity from a central station to illuminate buildings in a surrounding district in London. (ConEdison). 

1881 – First street mains were installed in New York. (ConEdison). 

1882 – Edison surpasses two hundred patents solving problems in the generation, distribution, and metering of electric current. He had to develop even the most basic equipment such as fuses, sockets, fixtures, switches, and meter (ConEdison). 

1882 – Edison’s electric illuminating system began operations at the Pearl Street Station, powering over five thousands lights (ConEdison). 

1895 – George Westinghouse “opened the first major power plant that used the newly developed AC power systems,” which carried electricity over 200 miles, compared to Edison’s one mile (ConEdison).

1900 – Tesla works on his wireless world broadcasting tower under funding by financier J.P. Morgan. (Sparrow).

1901 – The New York Gas, Electric Light, Heat & Power Company acquires Edison Electric, Consolidated Gas and called the electric utilities The New York Edison Company (ConEdison). 

1901 – Brooklyn Edison’s Waterside station was physically the world’s largest generating plant (ConEdison). 

1925 – 770,000-kilowatt Hudson Avenue Plant is completed. (Sparrow).

1930 – 90% of people living in cities and big towns had electricity in their homes. (Sparrow).

1932 – New York Edison’s parent company, Consolidated Gas, became the largest electrical service provider in the world (ConEdison). 

1936 – Electric sales take the lead ahead of gas sales, Consolidated Gas changed its name to the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc (ConEdison). 

1959 – 500-block radio around Central Park lost power when the grid became overwhelmed by overuse of refrigerators and air conditioners. (Mail Online).

1960 – Consolidated Edison had acquired or merged with more than a dozen companies (including Westchester Lighting Company and Yonkers Electric Light & Power in 1951). (ConEdison).

1961 – Five square miles of Midtown Manhattan struck by blackout caused by electrical equipment failures, lasting two to four and a half hours. Majority of subway services was delayed (Kihss).

1963 – American engineers finish a 400-mile-long conductor line capable of carrying 345-kilovolts of electricity, empowering dozens of companies to serve towns and cities from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. (Sparrow).

1965 – The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 took out the electricity in 80,000 square miles in the Northeast United States and Ontario, Canada. It left 25 million people across New York State and most of New England without power for a day. In New York, almost ten thousand commuters were stuck in subway cars, thousands, of travelers stayed in hotel lobbies, offices, and even on the benches in Grand Central Station (Sparrow).

1966 – New York Power Pool (NYPP) established and coordinates power flow in New York State (Sparrow).

1971 – New York Power Pool Center experienced a brief shortage of power to 200,000 customers (Sparrow).

1977 – Blackout of 1977 that left 9 million people without electricity for 25 hours, filled New York with violence, theft, and crime. In Greenwich Village, the community gathered for an impromptu festival. In Harlem, Brooklyn, and South Bronx suffered the most damage as people broke into stores looking for TVs, furniture, or clothes. Police arrested over 3,766 looters. Time magazines called it “a Night of Terror” for those in distraught neighborhoods. The city was set back more than $300 million. (Sparrow).

1978 – Statutes contained in the National Energy Act initiated a significant restructuring of the electricity industry (Nordhaus).

1994 – the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) started a Competitive Opportunities Proceeding to prepare for an open energy market in New York. (90% of people living in cities and big towns had electricity in their homes. (Sparrow).

1997 – Con Edison, PSC staff, and other parties developed a plan to promote competition in its service area. The agreement required Con Edison to sell the majority of its electric generating plants, as well as some properties where future plants might be built. (Sparrow).

1998 – Con Edison, once a vertically integrated utility became a holding company with “regulated and unregulated subsidiaries” (ConEdison). 

2003 – A surge of electricity to western New York and Canada touched off a series of power failures and enforced blackouts yesterday that left parts of at least eight states in the Northeast and the Midwest without electricity. The widespread failures provoked the evacuation of office buildings, stranded thousands of commuters and flooded some hospitals with patients suffering in the stifling heat. (Sparrow).

2006 – The 2006 Queens Blackout was a series of power outages affecting mainly the neighborhoods of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside. It caused losses of tens of millions of dollars, affecting over 174,000 people. (msnbc.com). 

2010 – A severe windstorm in March left hundreds of thousands of customers without power in Connecticut, Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey. (NJ.com)

2011 – Hurricane Irene in New York flooded the Meatpacking district. High-speed winds knocked down many trees and power lines taking out power in over 350,000 homes and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In New York City, over 70,000 Con-ed customers lost power. Most were in queens (25,000). (Chung). 

2012 – Hurricane Sandy hits New York City. At a Consolidated Edison substation in the East Village, Sandy swamped underground electrical equipment, and left over 250,000 lower Manhattanites without power. (Long).

2013 – February snowstorm Nemo takes out power in Long Island households leaving over 100,000 customers without electricity. (Weather.com).


Cited Sources

  1. Sheehy, Gail. “Trapped in the Towers.” Newsweek 160.20 (2012): 10–11. Print.
  2. Carpenter, Dave. “Electricity in NYC Could Take Four to Seven Days to Restore (+video).” Christian Science Monitor 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  3. Nordhaus, Robert R. “National Energy Act of 1978.” Encyclopedia of Energy Engineering and Technology. Taylor & Francis. 1082–1087. Web. 18 Mar. 2013
  4. Barron, James. “Power Surge Blacks Out Northeast.” The New York Times 15 Aug. 2003. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  5. “How New York Beat the Blackout… 53 Years Ago: Fascinating LIFE Pictures Reveal How Manhattan Coped with Darkness During 1959 Power Cut.” Mail Online. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  6. Mcfadden, Robert D., and Winnie Hu. “Power Failure Lingers as Storm Slows Repairs.” The New York Times 23 July 2006. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  7. “Video: Blizzard 2013: Power Outages for Hundreds of Thousands of People.” ABC News. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  8. “Biggest Blackout In U.S. History.” CBS News. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  9. Chung, Jen. “Power Outages In NYC Region As Hurricane Irene Arrives.” Gothamist. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  10. “The Latest: Nemo’s Impact State by State – Weather.com.” The Weather Channel. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  11. Kihss, Peter. “Power Failure Snarls Northeast; 800,000 Are Caught in Subways Here; Autos Tied Up; City Gropes In Dark.” New York Times Nov 6 1961, n. pag. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1109.html
  12. Sparrow, Jim. “events.” Blackout History Project. N.p., 27 Jun 2000. Web. 18 Mar 2013. <http://blackout.gmu.edu/events/timeline.html>.
  13. “New York City’s Power Restored After Outage.” msnbc.com. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  14. “electricity.” ConEdison. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar 2013. <http://www.coned.com/history/electricity.asp>.
  15. Long, Colleen and Peltz, Jennifer. “NYC Subway Shutdown, Power Outages And Fires Following Hurricane Sandy Destruction (PHOTOS) (LIVE UPDATES).” Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
  16. “Powerful Nor’easter Causes Extensive Damage Around New Jersey.” The Star Ledger – NJ.com. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
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Progression of Rooftop Agriculture

500 B.C. – Earliest history of green roofs dates to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Plants draped over all sides of the building.

1700s – Tracing back to European countries, allotments were a common type of farming. Allotments are small pieces of land for individual farming and personal consumption. The urbanization, industrialization, and changing lifestyles led people to develop these farms. (Acton)

1810s – Luke Howard was one of the first to produce studies on urban climate change. In 1833 he published the book, “The Climate of London”, which touched upon the difference between temperature in cities compared to climate in general. Artificial heat is generated in cities which contribute to higher temperatures. (Howard)

1890s – In America, similar to allotments, were community gardens. These were gardens larger in size and cultivated by the community and provided food and labor. During World War I and II these gardens were known as “victory gardens” to help provide food and support war. (Acton)

1936 – One of the first green roofs was built on Rockefeller Center. However, it’s purpose was for aesthetic pleasure and to resemble hanging gardens, not for the benefits of sustainability or cooling effects. (Green Roofs)

1969 – The term of the urban heat island effect began earlier than 1969. One of the earliest articles was published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology dating back to 1969. It talks about criticisms of already existing theories and uses a numerical energy budget model to find the causes. (Myrup)

2000s – The benefits of urban gardening and rooftop gardening are recognized and merge. Much initiative to build rooftop farms originates from lack of fresh local food and issues with industrial farming. It is encouraged as a healthy alternative which also combats health problems such as obesity.

2002 – The Earth Pledge Foundation launches their Green Roof Initiative in New York City. (Green Roofs)

Mid 2000s – Rooftop Agriculture isn’t only a sustainable method regarding food and health. Numerous studies are conducted to demonstrate the benefits of green roofs, which include cooling the urban heat island effect, energy efficiency, reducing water run-off, and so forth. Alongside, organizations such as Brooklyn Grange and initiatives by New York City are enforced to encourage rooftop agriculture.

2006 – Silvercup Studios built a 35,000 square foot rooftop farm in September of 2006. It is located in Long Island City, Queens. (Green Roofs)

2007 – PlaNYC 2030 launched by Mayor Bloomberg to tackle climate change by reducing green house gas emissions, carbon footprint, and promote sustainability. (PlaNYC 2030)

2010 – A study by Columbia University found that a green roof in Queens reduced the amount of heat absorbed during the Summer by eighty four percent. The same green roof which was built by Con Edison also found that if New York maximized it’s use of green roofs it could reduce ten to fifteen billion gallons of rain water per year. (Gaffin, Roscenwieg)

2010 – The Department of City Planning makes exceptions for greenhouses, to “allow a greenhouse to be exempt from floor area and height limits, provided that it is located on top of a building that does not contain residences or sleeping accommodations. These greenhouses must not exceed 25 feet in height, must set back six feet from the roof edge, and must include practical measures to limit water consumption.” (NYC DEP of City Planning)

2010 – Brooklyn Grange is an organization that runs one of the largest rooftop farms (over two thousand acres of rooftop agriculture) in two locations: Brooklyn and Queens.

2011 – The New York City Green Infrastructure Plan will invest 1.5 billion dollars into green buildings and green roofs to help reduce water runoff. The goal is to reduce rainfall and sewer runoff by forty percent by 2030. (NYC DEP of Environmental Protection)

2012 – Michael Arad, the architect who designed the 9/11 memorial, designed a rooftop garden for the Earth School in East Village. This started through the Fifth Street Farm Project created by parents and teachers. The rooftop garden opened on October 12. (Fifth Street Farm Project)

Works Cited:

Acton, Lesley. “Allotment Gardens: A Reflection of History, Heritage, Community and Self.” Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 21.0 (2011): n. pag. CrossRef. Web. 1 Mar. 2013.

“American Community Gardening Association.” Web. 13 Mar. 2013.

“A NYC Public School Green Roof Project.” 5th street farm project. Web. 19 Mar. 2013.

“Laura Lawson_Urban Garden Research.” Web. 12 Mar. 2013.

Gaffin, S. R., Rosenzweig, C., Eiehenbaum-Pikser, J., Khanbilvardi, R. and Susca, T., 2010. ” A Temperature and Seasonal Energy Analysis of Green, White and Black Roofs” Columbia University, Center for Climate Systems Resesarch. New York. 19 pages.

Luke Howard. “The climate of London, deduced from Meteorological observations, made at different places in the neighbourhood of the metropolis” 2 vol., London, 1818-20

Luke Howard and The Climate of London. Weather, 63: 153–157. doi: 10.1002/wea.195

Myrup, Leonard O. “A numerical model of the urban heat island.” Journal of Applied Meteorology 8 (1969): 908-918.

Rosenberg, Tina. “Green Roofs in Big Cities Bring Relief From Above.” Opinionator. 23 May 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“NYC Green Infrastructure Plan.” NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Web. 12. Mar. 2013.

“Zone Green Text Amendment – Department of City Planning.” Web. 19 Mar. 2013.



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A Timeline of Solid Waste Management in New York City

1881 – The New York City Department of Street Cleaning (now called the Department of Sanitation) is formed. This department was tasked with taking over the responsibility of waste collection and street cleaning previously held by the Police Department. (NYCWasteless – History)

1885 – America’s first incinerator is built on Governor’s Island. Throughout the next century, incinerators would be the main source of waste management in New York City, burning almost 1/3 of the city’s trash. (Martin)

1895 – George Waring became the Commissioner of the Department of Street Cleaning (now Dept. of Sanitation) and put into action a waste management plan that made ocean dumping illegal and mandated recycling efforts. Prior to Waring, 75% of New York City’s waste was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean.  As part of Waring’s initiative, household waste was separated into three distinct categories and dealt with accordingly: (a) Food Waste was steamed and compressed to produce grease and fertilizer; (b) Rubbish from which paper and other materials were recovered; and (c) Ash, which was landfilled along with nonmarketable rubbish. This becomes New York City’s first recycling program. (NYCWasteless – History)

1905 – In a revolutionary step in waste-to-energy, New York City began using a garbage incinerator to generate electricity and light the Williamsburg Bridge. (History)

1918 – Labor and materials shortages as a result of World War I led to a halt in New York’s recycling programs, as the Federal Government started the Waste Reclamation Service. During the next couple decades, the Department of Sanitation built and operated 22 incinerators and 89 landfills. (NYCWasteless – History)

Early 1930’s – The first mass-production trash collection trucks with built-in compactors are introduced, increasing vehicle capacity and efficiency while also allowing for easier waste transportation to more distant areas. (Rotten)

1934 – After communities in New Jersey obtain a court order to stop New York from dumping waste into the Atlantic Ocean, the Supreme Court upholds this action, but only as it applies to municipal (public) waste, not commercial or industrial. (Rotten)

1947 – The Fresh Kills Landfill is opened in Staten Island. Originally meant to be a temporary solution, it covered over 2000 acres of land and at one point was the largest landfill in the world. (Miller)

1965 – The Solid Waste Disposal Act is enacted, becoming the first federal solid waste management law. The act’s focus is to promote and provide assistance in research and development for improved waste management techniques. (Rotten)

1970 – The Federal Resource Recovery Act amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act, shifting its focus from disposal to recycling and reuse of recoverable and organic materials in solid waste and the conversion of waste to energy. (History)

1970 – The Federal Clean Air act is enacted, leading to incinerator shutdowns because they did not meet new emission guidelines. (Rotten)

1970  – The United States Environmental Protection Agency is established by President Nixon, with a goal to “protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment”. National waste management issues fall under their responsibility. (EPA)

1978 – After it’s review of the Philadelphia vs. New Jersey case, in which New Jersey refused to accept waste from Philadelphia, the Supreme Court ruled that waste is protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause and therefore one state cannot ban shipments of waste from another. This was an important ruling for New York City’s waste management policies, considering that to this day we still ship our waste across state lines. (Rotten)

1979 – The EPA issued guidelines making open dumping in landfills illegal. (History)

1987 – The Mobro 4000, a barge from Long Island carrying 6,000 tons of garbage is rejected by six different states and 3 countries (US, Belize and Mexico). After 173 days, it is incinerated in Brooklyn, New York and the ash brought to a landfill in Long Island, but extensive media coverage of this incident made it a symbol for limited landfill capacity, especially in the New York area. (History)

1989 – Archaeologist William Rathje discovers 18-year old corn on the cob that is still intact in an Arizona landfill, confirming the lack of biodegradation in some types of landfills (History)

1994 – New York City’s last municipal incinerator closes amid EPA emission standards and growing pollution concerns. (Rotten)

Late 1990’s – Only remaining New York City landfill in operation was Fresh Kills, where all of the city’s disposable waste went via barges from a network of marine transfer stations run by the city (PlaNYC)

1999 – New York City’s last waste incinerator is torn down, marking the end of an era of incineration as a way of managing waste in New York City (Martin)

2001 ­– Fresh Kills, the last remaining landfill in New York City was closed. This was the first time that New York City had no place within the five boroughs to bury or burn it’s garbage. The city began sending most of its waste to private transfer stations in neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens the Bronx to be exported, and recycling or composting the rest. (Martin)

2006 – New York City adopts the long-term Solid Waste Management Plan aimed at developing less hazardous, cheaper approaches to exporting New York City’s garbage. The SWMP also hopes to minimize the impacts of this waste management system on over-burdened outer-borough neighborhoods by establishing transfer stations for residential wastesheds in every borough and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution by increasing the use of rail and barge transport as a means of exporting the city’s waste instead of trucking it thousands of miles. (PlaNYC)

2007 – Mayor Bloomberg releases the comprehensive PlaNYC, a sustainability effort looking ahead to 2030 and aimed at preparing New York City for future population growth, climate change, etc. The plan includes a detailed section on solid waste managements with a number of initiatives that include targeting recycling incentives, creating opportunities to recover organic materials from waste, with goals of increasing diversion from landfills by 75%, reducing GHG emissions by 1 million metric tons, and improve the overall efficiency of New York City’s waste management system. (PlaNYC)

2010  – New York City, in partnership with Sims Metal Management announced the inception of a new recycling facility to be built at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that will include processing and storing buildings and reduce our reliance on vehicle waste transportation by using barges at the Marine Terminal. The city has invested over $48 million into the project. (PlaNYC)

2012 – As of January 2012, 32% of New York City’s waste is transported out of the city via rail, 23% by Department of Sanitation collection truck, and 45% by long-haul truck. Once the 2006 SWMP takes effect, New York City estimates that 41% of garbage will be exported by rail, 12% by collection truck and 47% by barge. (Cohen)

2013 – Construction on the recycling facility in South Brooklyn is expected to be completed and the facility operational by June 2013. (NYCWasteless – Material)

2017 – By this year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he hopes to have doubled residential and institutional waste diversion from landfills from 15% to 30%. (Cohen)

Works Cited:

Cohen, Steven. “NYC Takes the Garbage Out.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“EPA History.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“History of Solid Waste Management.” Environmentalistseveryday.org. Environmental Industry Associations: NSWMA & WASTEC, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Martin, Douglas. “City’s Last Waste Incinerator Is Torn Down.” The New York Times [New York] 8 May 1999: n. pag. Web.

Miller, Benjamin. Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York : The Last Two Hundred Years. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000. 233. Print.

“NYCWasteLess: A Material Recovery Facility Grows in Brooklyn.” NYC.gov. City of New York, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

“NYCWasteLess: History of NYC Recycling.” NYC.gov. City of New York, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

PlaNYC 2030 – The Plan – Solid Waste Management. Rep. City of New York, 2011. Web.

“Rotten Truth (About Garbage): Garbage Timeline.” ASTC.org. Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated & Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

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More guidance on timelines

Hi again everyone,

Based on some conversations with students, I wanted to offer some additional pointers on your timelines.

1. The timeline is a research tool that should help you organize your thinking on your topic and make sure you aren’t postponing research until the last minute.

For this reason, you, not the author of a published timeline, should be in the driver’as seat in constructing the sequence of important events.  It is fine to reference one or more published timelines, but the point of this assignment is not for you merely to reproduce them.  It is to construct a timeline that is relevant to the question you are addressing in your research.

2.  Show me that you are doing good, broad, deep research.

You all have done research projects and papers before.  You know how to do research, and if you have questions, you know you can contact me and/or Ben in class, in office hours, or via email.  The timeline is the first chance for you to show me what you have been doing, what sources you have consulted, and where your research is going.   Make sure each event in the timeline is significant for your research (not just filler).

As always, contact me with questions.

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New York City Subway Timeline.

1898 Greater New York City is formed. (Reis 2009)

1900 March 24 Construction of the IRT subway begins (Reis 2009)

1903 October 24 Ten workers are killed in the Fort George Tunnel explosion (Reis 2009)

1904 October 27 The official opening and dedication of the first nine miles of the IRT subway is held. (Reis 2009)

1908 August 1 the IRT subway project is completed. (Reis 2009)

1913 March 19 New York’s Public Service Commission issues Dual Contracts to the IRT and the BRT

1919 January 1 The BRT goes into receivership (Reis 2009)

1923 June The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT) is formed after acquiring assets of the BRT. Yankee Stadium, built next to the IRT line in the Bronx, opens for play. (Reis 2009)

1925 New Yorkers average 276 subway rides per year. March 14 Construction begins on the new, municipally owned Independent Subway System (IND). (Reis 2009)

1932 The IRT goes into receivership. September 10 The first IND route opens. (Reis 2009)

1934 January 1 Fiorello H. LaGuardia becomes mayor of New York. (Reis 2009)

1939 December 12 Subway unification (IRT, BMT, IND) marks the largest railroad merger in U.S. history.(Reis 2009)

1940 December 14 The last IND route opens (Reis 2009)

1946 December 23 An all-time daily record for subway passengers is set at 8,872,244 (Reis 2009)

1948 July 1 Subway fare rises from a nickel to a dime. (MTA 2013)

1953 July 25 Tokens debut in the subway. (MTA 2013)

1966 January 1 The Transport Workers Union (TWU) calls its first strike, shutting down the New York Subway system for 12 days. (Reis 2009)

1967 July 19, The first successful train of air-conditioned subway cars, composed of ten R38 cars, goes into service on the F line. (MTA 2013)

1968 March 1, The New York State Legislature creates the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to oversee transportation operations in 12 counties. The MTA becomes New York City Transit’s parent agency. (MTA 2013)

1969 July 1,  NYC Transit introduces reduced-fare on buses and subways for senior citizens. (MTA 2013)

1970 Extensive graffiti first appears on subway cars and subway trains. (Reis 2009)

1975 September 2, Reduced-fare introduced for people with physical disabilities. (MTA 2013)

1980 April 1 The TWU calls its second subway strike, shutting down the New York Subway system for 11 days. (Reis 2009)

1981 The MTA receives $8.1 billion in funding to upgrade the New York Subway System. (Reis 2009)

1984 David Gunn takes over as president of the Transit Authority (TA) and begins the Clean Car graffiti cleanup campaign.

December 22 Bernard Goetz shoots four young men he says were threatening him on the subway (Reis 2009)

1989 The New York City Subway is declared graffiti-free. (Reis 2009).

Service begins to the 63 rd Street Extension’s three new stations: Lexington Avenue, Roosevelt Island (Manhattan) and 21 st Street (Long Island City, Queens). (MTA 2013)

1997 May 14, The entire subway system accepts MetroCard. (MTA 2013)

1998 July 4, First sales day for the Unlimited-Ride 7-Day MetroCard and the 30-Day MetroCard, which let customers take as many trips as they want for a fixed price. (MTA 2013)

1999 January 1, An unlimited-ride, 1-day MetroCard, the Fun Pass, is introduced. (MTA 2013)

2001 December 4, New Technology R143 subway cars enter service on the  line. The R143 is considered the most advanced NYC subway car to date, featuring Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC). (MTA 2013)

2001 December 16, The 63 rd Street Tunnel Connector opens after more than seven-and-a-half years of work. The $645 million project completes a 1,500-foot link to the Queens Boulevard line, allowing a 20 percent increase in train service and the creation of a  line between the 71 st Avenue station in Queens and the Second Avenue station in Manhattan. (MTA 2013)

2002 September 15, The  1,9   subway line reopens for service. Nearly 1,400 feet of infrastructure between Liberty and Barclay Streets caved in or filled with rubble when the World Trade Center collapsed the year before. The contractor and NYC Transit Inspection forces work around-the-clock, six to seven days a week, and finish two months ahead of schedule (MTA 2013)

2003 June 15, – The New York City Transit Authority (now called New York City Transit) began operating on this date 50 years ago, replacing New York City’s Board of Transportation as the agency in charge of all subway and elevated lines and city-owned bus and trolley lines. (MTA 2013)

2003 November 3, – Last day of service for R36 “redbird” subway cars. The cars were first rolled out for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. They received their nickname when they were overhauled in the 1980s and painted a bright red color. (MTA 2013)

2004 The New York Subway system celebrates its centennial.

2004 May 21 – The newly renovated Stillwell Avenue Terminal reopens and  F, Q train service returns to Coney Island after a 21-month hiatus during construction. As part of preventive maintenance, engineers built an open-deck steel viaduct to reduce the risk of water-related structural damage. (MTA 2013)

2005 December 20 the TWU strikes for the third time, shutting down the New York Subway system for three days. (MTA 2013)

2006 August 17, – The R160 subway car begins test runs on the line. One particularly notable new feature is FIND, the Flexible Information and Notice Display. The FIND allows Transit personnel to update digital messages and maps easily, which means R160 cars can travel on different subway routes and dispatch new information. (MTA 2013)

2007 August 8 The New York Subway floods, stranding thousands of passengers. Construction on the 8.5-mile (13.6) Second Avenue Subway line begins again. (Reis 2009)

2008 December 22, – New R160 subway cars start service on the  as part of a 1,662-car replacement rolling out on lettered lines to replace 45-year-old trains. (MTA 2013)

2010 June 3, – A solar thermal system, mounted on the rooftop of NYC Transit’s Coney Island Overhaul Shop and Maintenance Facility in Brooklyn, begins operations.  The system heats hot water to wash subway cars by using solar energy. (MTA 2013)

2012 June 10, – Because of fully integrating Communications-Based Train Control on the L line, which provides the ability to run more trains each hour, New York City Transit adds 98 weekly round trips to the L train schedule. (MTA 2013)

2012 October 30 The giant storm Sandy wreaked havoc on the New York City subway system, flooding tunnels, garages and rail yards and paralyzing the nation’s largest mass-transit system for days. (Reuters 2012)

Works Cited 

MTA. “New York City Transit – History and Chronology.” Mta.info. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2013.

Reis, Ronald A. “Chronology and Timeline.” The New York City Subway System. New York: Chelsea House, 2009. N. pag. Print.

Reuters. “The Giant Storm Sandy Wreaked Havoc on the New York City Subway System, Flooding Tunnels, Garages and Rail Yards and Threatening to Paralyze the Nation’s Largest Mass-transit System for Days.” Newsgroup. Reuters. Reuters, 30 Oct. 2012. Web. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/30/uk-storm-sandy-subway-idUSLNE89T02620121030>.

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Timelines Due

Hi Folks

This is just a reminder that timelines are due at 10:30 PM on Monday, March 18th.  Contact me soon if you have questions.  These timelines should be the anchor to gearing up the research you are to be doing over the rest of the semester.  Make sure they reflect the research you have done so far.

As mentioned in the original assignment, you must cite references and the timeline should be at a minimum three pages.  You may double space between line entries, but as with all assignments the entries themselves should be single spaced.

Submit your timelines as a posting on the site in the “Timelines” area, but keep a copy of the timeline in Word.   I may ask you for it if I need to verify your three page minimum.

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This Sunday: Big Data and Climate Change in Cities, March 10

RSVP Required.

Climate Change and Cities Datathon: Public Presentations and Judging


This weekend, five teams of scholars, thinkers, writers, and practitioners will convene to participate in the Institute for Public Knowledge’s first Datathon. The theme, Climate Change and Cities, asks these groups to think about the nature of both meteorological and social data, and to consider ways that these different kinds of data can be used to help us better understand the relationship between climate change and our cities, and to help inform the decisions we will make as we plan for our collective future.

At noon on Sunday, March 10th, these five teams will present their findings in a session that is open to the public. A winning team will be selected by a panel judges:

Dalton Conley, University Professor at NYU

Duncan Watts, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Maryam Hariri, City Planner, NYC Department of City Planning

Climate Change and Cities Datathon: Public Presentations and Judging
Sunday Mar 10, 2013 | 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Institute for Public Knowledge, New York

Institute for Public Knowledge
Street:  20 Cooper Square, 5th floor
ZIP:   10003
City:  New York
State:  NY
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Energy, Composting, and Buildings: Of Possible Interest to the Class

Biogas in the Basement

Wed, 2013-03-06 10:23

Frustrated by unreliable waste collection, several high-rise apartment complexes in Kochi, India, are turning lemons into lemonade – or more accurately, biogas. Using technology pioneered in Europe, the buildings feature onsite biogas plants that process residents’ food scraps and other biodegradable waste into energy. While the resulting electricity from one 24-flat building currently using the technology is not enough to power the entire complex, it is powering the cooking appliances for the onsite security staff.

So every time residents see their doorman eating a microwave burrito, they can take pride in knowing that the discarded remains of their gourmet meal made it happen.

Source: The Times of India

Mark Item As: Commentary
Sat, 2013-03-09

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Researching a 100 Year Timeline

Hi Folks

Richard posted a good question about timeline research that I thought I would respond to on the site so that everyone could share.  Here is what he wrote:

Hey, it’s me, Richard Chan from IDC 4001H. My group’s topic is virtual trees.

We are curious about how to start about with the timeline memo. We want to focus more on the mechanical workings of the tree, rather than the publicity campaign of it. Given how (very) recent this innovation is, we were curious as to what we were to be looking back for. Should we search for the beginnings of carbon capture technology? The first ideas of carbon sequestration? Do we go back and look at the origins of the chemicals used (which, upon the cursory glance, seem like surprisingly commonplace, if not a tad dangerous, chemicals)?

As with many good questions, this one contains the seeds of its own answer.   Think about history this way:  nothing arises out of nothing; everything has some kind of precursor.  The best research involves seeing the precursor(s) in the present day example you are studying.  Richard mentions the beginnings of carbon capture technology, carbon sequestration as an approach to mitigation, and origins of chemicals.  All of these are appropriate to look into historically to some degree, the latter two (sequestration and chemicals) are more general background, while the first (specific technology) would more directly lead to the topic under study.  Also of interest is the notion that technology should mimic biology, and that the negative consequences of human intervention into nature can be solved by more intervention into nature (as opposed to growing more natural trees).

On a more concrete level, I would organize the timeline around the technology of carbon capture, keeping these other historical currents in mind, either as themes to explore in the final paper, or concepts to look out for when constructing the timeline.

Finally, don’t stress out over this exercise.  It is meant to get you thinking about your topic, and I don’t expect an exhaustive list of every event leading up to the present iteration of your issue (that would be impossible).

Keep the questions coming!

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Memo 1 redo: waste-to-energy and NYC policy

To: Prof. MacBride
From: Jenny Lee
Date: Feb. 17th (hehe)
Re: Research Paper Topic Proposal

For my research paper, I would like to take a look at NYC’s current policies and plans about/around waste-to-energy and critically review them. I guess it’s first outlining and describing what is in place, answering “what steps is the govt. taking right now and to what goal?” and then judging feasibility, efficiency, and possible other options for “is there a better way to approach this?”
For find the information needed, I will use the NYC Department of Sanitation site. Then, I’ll look into publications/editorials for professional opinions, readings and resources provided by you through this website, and search through the library’s databases if necessary.

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Memo1: Waste to Energy; Sweden vs NYC

To: Professor MacBride
From: Narciso Correa
Date: 2/14/13
Re: Memo #1

In my research paper, I will try to determine the reasons for why, despite its large success, has a waste to management system yet to be implemented in one of the largest waste producing cities in the world, NYC. To find the answer to this question, I will thoroughly profile Sweden’s Ecocycle program, one of the most efficient waste to energy systems currently in operation in the world. By studying Swedish government data and private research data, I will provide a detailed explanation of the program’s implementation and expand on the program and logistics of running such a system. I will then try to determine aspects of the waste to energy system in Sweden that might make it incompatible with NYC, paying special attention to NYC politics, culture and economy.

I plan on using data from the Swedish government to find out more about their Ecocycle program. One problem that I might encounter is that their data may be in Swedish and I may have to resort to secondary sources. With regard to obtaining data about NYC politics/economy I will consult the various arrays of data filled government websites available to the public. To determine cultural implications on waste to energy in NYC, if time permits then I may conduct a survey. But if not I will rely on the numerous surveys about environmentalism that are available through Baruch’s Databases.

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Hybrid Car Use in NYC as Adaptation to Climate Change

To: Professor MacBride

From: Lawrence Kulishevsky

Date: February 10, 2013

Re: Incentives for Hybrid Car Use in NYC


In light of my fascination with automobiles, I am researching a topic relating to sustainable vehicles in NYC. The government has at its disposal the power to make policies that can ameliorate the damaging effects of burning fossil fuels on our environment. The question I seek to answer is, “How effective, if at all, have New York City’s incentives for hybrid car drivers been in adapting to climate change and/or mitigating the situation?”

I will focus particularly on the concept of tax credits, which according to economic principles should theoretically increase the demand for hybrids. In addition, HOV lane exemptions for drivers of qualified hybrid vehicles increase the convenience and practicality of driving these vehicles.

I foresee difficulty in collecting data in regards to how effective specific policies have been in reducing emissions. I have found preliminary data demonstrating the increase of hybrid consumption, but I believe that gas prices are a confounding variable. People may have primarily been driven away from gas guzzlers by astronomic prices at the pump. I have also encountered difficulty finding abundant information specifically regarding Hybrids in NYC. My research will primarily be conducted on the internet as well as the Baruch library databases.

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Memo 1 – Research Topic: Urban Farming

To: Professor MacBride

From: Jessica Lin

Date: February 13, 2013

Re: Urban Farming in NYC

I plan to explore rooftop farming in New York City. Since New York City is an urban setting full of buildings and skyscrapers, there are many buildings capable of supporting rooftop farms. Rooftop agriculture is a self-sustaining method to provide food locally to its residents. It maximizes our resources and space without invading the city life. Benefits to local produce include fresher and nutritious food for you. But also, urban farming can help to cool and control temperatures, and help to reduce water run off during storms. It helps to cool down buildings, which in turn reduces energy consumption.

I would like to explore the methods of urban agriculture, find information on the rooftop farms that already exist in areas like the Bronx and Brooklyn, and see what future plans exist. If rooftop farming is implemented throughout the entire city, what benefits and results will it have, statistically, on the amount of people it can feed, the estimated overall temperature reduction, and money saved from energy consumption. I think a good source of information would be to visit the sites that already exist, such as Brooklyn Grange or Bright Farms. I may have some trouble trying to collect statistics since urban agriculture is still a fairly recent development.

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Memo 1: Soot Pollution and Government Mitigation

To: Professor MacBride
From: Steven Sklyarevskiy
Date: 2/13/13
Re: Changing heating methods in NYC due to soot pollution

Fuel lobbies seem to be under the impression that clever names like “clean coal” and green, flowery designs are enough to make people overlook the harmful side-effects the have. However, it will take more than a good PR team to make New Yorkers overlook the dark plumes of soot that even billow out of their own buildings.

The EPA and Mayor Bloomberg have recently put out plans to reduce harmful soot pollution that have led to countless ailments including asthma and cancer. Although some may see this as a step in the right direction, a large amount of NYC infrastructure is out-of-date and would either have to cut down on the heat it produces or be overhauled to be able to handle other types of fuel. In my paper, I plan to research the way that poor and middle class apartment buildings produce heat, the harmful effects that the soot and other by-products have, and the plans put forward to prevent them, whether those plans are feasible and effective.

I plan on using online databases and articles for most of my research but I am also considering reaching out to the EPA, somebody in the NYC government, or even an ordinary landlord for an more human perspective.

The role that Mayor Bloomberg and the federal government play will determine if their plans will make things better or worse. Are they planning on just putting caps on soot polluted or will they actively be helping these old building come into the 21st century?

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Memo 1: Public transportation pollution mitigation

To: Professor MacBride
From: Raymond Wang
Date: 2/13/13
Re: Ground level public transportation pollution mitigation in New York City

Public transportation is an integral part of commuting in New York City. The MTA has been consciously improving pollution output for all their methods of public transportation. I will be focusing on such transportation on the ground level, e.g. buses and the rail system. As many daily commuters may have noticed, buses are considered to be “hybrid” nowadays, running both on fuel and electricity. The rail system such as the Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth both have improved train cars to help facilitate “green” public transportation. I take a bus daily for about six years and observed the changes in vehicles. I also rode the rail system often for about two years and saw the improved train cars compared to the older ones.

My topic as a question would be “How has ground level public transportation improved to help mitigate pollution in New York City?” I will be researching how the MTA has tried to improve their public transportation. This includes improvements that favor going “green.” Such information is publicly available as the MTA tries to update commuters of incoming changes. I will also look into what further improvements are planned for buses and the rail system. Technology today is changing rapidly and upgrades to the current buses and train cars are definitely planned for the future. I will also attempt to find how changes are being made not to the vehicles to themselves but everything else such as dedicated bus lanes that prevent buses from stopping as often to conserve gas. Researching about said topics will definitely enlighten me about how the city is attempting to become more environmentally friendly.

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Memo 1: PlaNYC’s initiatives on solid waste management

To: Professor MacBride

From: Yana Manevich, Michelle Guo, Sean Proctor

Date: February 13, 2013

RE: Research Proposal – PlaNYC on solid waste management

For our research project, our group is interested in delving deeper into PlaNYC’s sustainability initiatives, specifically in the area of solid waste management. Since there are three of us in the group, each of us will tackle one or two of the specific initiatives regarding solid waste management mentioned in the plan, and then work together to see how these initiatives come together to meet the city’s sustainability goals. We will learn about what the city plans to do to deal with this growing issue, track what the city’s progress thus far has been, and what setbacks it has experienced or can potentially experience. Our multi-part research question, therefore, is “Under PlaNYC – what specific initiatives has the city undertaken to address issues of solid waste management? Has there been any progress in this area since the conception of this plan? Has the city run into any economic, legal, or social setbacks (i.e. public resistance) in trying to carry out these initiatives?”

In conducting our research, we initially plan to consult the PlaNYC official government page – http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/home/home.shtml – where we will read through the solid waste section of the report that the city has published and try to narrow our research down by selecting a specific initiative or two for each person to focus on. From there, we will do background research on the proposals of each specific initiative to learn more about it. We will also consult the various progress reports that the city has periodically published regarding their efforts to see whether they have been on track with their goals, what sort of problems they have run into, and their plans for dealing with those setbacks. We also plan to look through scientific journals and Baruch’s scientific databases to find outside professional opinions on either the particular methods of solid waste management mentioned in the initiatives or on the initiative as a whole to get a well-rounded view of the issues.


Memo 1: Green Roofs against Climate Change

To: Professor MacBride

From: Hye Min Lee

Date: February 13, 2013

Re: Research Paper Topic Proposal- Green Roof as NYC’s Adaptation to Climate Change in the Future

Topic I will be researching is green infrastructure, specifically green roofs in New York City buildings as a way of mitigating the effects of climate change in the future. I will be focusing on one effect in particular: urban heat island.

One of the major growing environmental concerns is the global temperature rise. This gradual rise in temperature especially affects urban areas like New York City, simply because there are a lot more activities going on, crowded with buildings and people. Observations have shown that temperatures in cities are higher than that of their surrounding areas, which is more commonly referred to as the urban heat island effect. I will be researching, examining, and questioning how affective green roofs would be in reducing temperature while bringing more nature into the city in the years to come. How practical would it be to plant green roofs citywide taking the cost, long-term maintenance, and safety into consideration?

I have begun my basic general search via Google. I want to first gain a greater understanding of how rapidly temperatures are rising and the gravity of the detrimental effects of the changing climates. I will be looking at several New York Times articles as well as research papers related to green roofs. Germany is one of the leaders in the world’s green roof industry so I will also be looking into their system, any difficulties, improvements its cities have experienced after green roof installation. I will also be looking at growing green roofs right here in the United States including Chicago and Washington, D.C. Mayor Bloomberg is a strong advocate of this kind of infrastructure and several green roof legislation and tax incentives have been put into place to encourage more green so I will be researching those as well.


How New York Infrastructure Adapts to Climate Shifts

To: Professor MacBride
From: Derek Ku
Date: 2/13/13
Re: Infrastructure of New York City.

As natural disasters become more frequent, scientists are attributing these occurrences to drastically rising temperatures and sea levels. New Yorkers are investing in infrastructure and technologies that will prevent and mitigate climate change. I will find relevant data and charts by looking through scholarly and news articles regarding the damages inflicted upon New York City during natural disasters related to the changing climate. I will be analyzing climate trends, water levels, and temperatures to determine which problems to tackle first.

I’m really fascinated by New York City infrastructure: New York City is a city of tunnels. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, we were affected by the floodwater. The water affected the transit system and damaged the water and electric infrastructure leaving Lower Manhattan stranded without any power nor clean water. For example, some of the solutions for clean water sources in New York City was having the subways creating inflatable plugs filled with 35,000 gallons of water and preserving the Croton and Catskill/Delaware Watersheds. Tracking environment trends will allow New York to analyze and prioritize its next actions and its consequence.