New York City officially became a leader of “green” initiatives when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced his “PlaNYC 2030” initiative in 2007, although many elements of this omnibus serious of measures were public policy in the city well before it.
The Master Plan
PlaNYC 2030 is officially known as a “sustainability plan” aimed at improving the life of New Yorkers. It is divided into six main areas of focus— Land, Water, Transportation, Air, Energy and Climate Change.
Not every element of the plan necessarily addresses energy efficiency, clean technology and the like—for example, one element of PlaNYC 2030 deals with completing Water Tunnel No. 3, and another deals with expanding the city’s natural gas infrastructure. The construction of Water Tunnel No. 3 is one of the most complex and intricate engineering projects in the world to supplement the city’s drinking water. Constructed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the tunnel will eventually span 60 miles and is expected to be complete by 2020.
But enough of the master plan does deal with environmental and energy-efficiency issues to make it first and foremost an energy-and-environment initiative. For example, various portions of the plan involve cleaning up brownfields (heavily polluted former industrial sites), encouraging public transportation, ferries and bicycling; creating more parks and playgrounds; planting one million trees within the five boroughs; reducing emissions in public buildings; and retrofitting or replacing diesel trucks, just to name a few.
Much of the plan deals with housing as well. PlaNYC makes a point of redeveloping former school, hospital and industrial buildings into housing, for example, as well as using transit expansions to promote new development. There are also plans to build housing over highways and railways (which was an integral part of the plan for the Far West Side of Manhattan.)