Sustainability means the actions we take today will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
People, the environment and the economy – all have to work together for a sustainable city. When they do, you find innovation, you find peace. OneNYC charts an innovative course for a sustainable and resilient city for all its residents, and addresses the profound social, economic, and environmental issues facing us today.
Living in Harlem has profoundly shaped how I think of what sustainability means in an urban environment, and why I went to work for Mayor Bill de Blasio. This isn't a place with wide open spaces and charismatic ungulates who roam them. So what does sustainability mean in a city, what does it mean in New York City?
NYC is a city of hard surfaces, right angles. The outdoors here is a lot like the indoors, under control, often shiny, and a little grimy too.
As much as we try to control the outdoors the way we control the indoors, we cannot, not even here. It affects us all, from climate, to air quality, to water, to parks. Grass creeps between sidewalk cracks, red-tailed hawks roost on the shoulders of the apostles in the niches of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, while owls and herons live in our parks, along with the occasional coyote. And our children have asthma from dirty air, our seniors suffer during heat waves, our neighborhoods flood.
This is a city of neighborhoods, from just about every country, dynamic and alive. Our music beats with many rhythms, our food is made with many spices. OneNYC came about in that spirit, as a living breathing plan, drawn from many sources, with real metrics and real budgets. It was developed with nearly all City agencies collaborating in cross-cutting teams, with the input of tens of thousands New Yorkers. We looked at the region. We looked at our neighborhoods. We broke down silos. We got creative.
We started by saying we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. What do we want to leave for our children?
We used the four lenses of growth, equity, sustainability and resiliency to look at the future of our city and to make sure we tackled the right problems.
After hundreds of conversations and research, we found fundamental, cross-cutting challenges and opportunities to build on the strong foundation laid out by the Bloomberg administration, who first thought up the notion that New York City could be a sustainable city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC represents a unified innovative vision for a sustainable, resilient, and equitable city, and charts the path for collectively achieving this goal.
Join us. Make a difference in your neighborhood, in your NYC.
Mayor's Office of Sustainability