New York City has long held a tradition of innovative building design, as evidenced by its defining cityscape. In the past few decades, it has also transitioned into becoming a sustainable city by design.
The City took on a leadership role in the green building movement with the creation of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) in 1996. DDC was tasked to design and construct civic buildings at the highest level of quality, efficiency and sustainability. In 1999, DDC, in partnership with the Design Trust for Public Space, published the High Performance Building Guidelines (in PDF), the first document of its kind outlining both technical and best practice guidelines for the design of sustainable buildings. This document has since been superseded by others, including the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED® system.
In 2005, DDC published the High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines (in PDF) and continues to advance sustainable design as a new defining feature of public buildings in New York City. Today, more than 60 such projects are in design, under construction or have been built. These projects focus on key areas (Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy, Material Conservation, and Healthy Interiors) specifically adapted to meet New Yorkers' needs. For more details on individual projects, see projects. Additional information and resources such as reports, training and specifications are available at DDC's Sustainable Design website.