The very big issue of urban sustainability

Jane Amidon, the Director of the Urban Landscape program at Northeastern, joins a growing group of Northeastern researchers that are challenging the idea that a city simply can’t be environmentally sustainable. They say it’s all in how you frame the problem.

“We can be doubling and tripling up on functionality in the way that we design our public spaces,” Amidon says. For example, the Fresh Kills Landfill to Landscape project on New York City’s Staten Island incorporates outdoor recreational space with ecosystem rehabilitation.

“It’s not just the symbolism of a green public space, which costs a lot to maintain economically,” says Amidon. “It’s about new green infrastructure created from previously contaminated industrial use.”

Such projects are traditionally associated with the wealthier areas of a city, as they reflect higher real-estate values, but a truly sustainable city provides access to these resources across socioeconomic classes.

“We’re not just trying to re-create a natural condition,” she says, “but to understand how systems function and leverage them in an appropriate way, economically, socially, and environmentally.”

See the complete original story in Northeastern Magazine here.