The Big Green Apple
This chapter introduces some of the contradictions of urban sustainability in New York City by comparing the glassy, “green” high-rises, rooftop gardens, and waterfront parks of Manhattan and Brooklyn to the heavily industrialized north shore of Staten Island, largely populated by communities of color. The chapter then offers a brief overview of economic redevelopment in New York City during the 12-year mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg who effectively coupled sustainability with luxury real estate development. This pairing forms the basis of environmental gentrification, a process that exacerbates the uneven distribution of environmental benefits and burdens across the city and undermines the very definition of urban sustainability. This chapter lays out a framework for investigating this and other paradoxes that plague today’s “sustainable” cities.
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