Six Big Ideas to Create More Sustainable Cities


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More than half the world's population now lives in cities. So how can we make them better? A look at some of the big ideas that came out of the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow conference.

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Six Big Ideas to Create More Sustainable Cities

  1. Building Sustainable Cities: 6 Big IdeasNew York Times Energy for Tomorrow Conference | April 25, 2013Conference photos: Piotr Redlinski
  2. The New York Times brought together journalists, governmentofficials and environmental experts for a one-day conference onsustainability. Panels focused on a central question: How can wemake cities better, healthier, places to live?
  3. A look at some of the ideasthat came out of the event:
  4. No. 1: Let Cities Take Charge
  5. “Stop and think about it: All the progress that is being made in thiscountry, and really around the world, is not made by the federalgovernment or by state governments. It has been made by cities,who are actually leading the ways on climate change.”Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City
  6. No. 2: Focus on Homes
  7. “If we could just improve the energy efficiency of our homes by10%, thats like taking 18 million cars off of our streets and roads.”Shaun Donovan,U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  8. No. 3: Cut Down on Waste
  9. “If you put a frog in cold water and slowly bring up thetemperature, it will eventually boil to death. This is the problemwith trash. We are slowly boiling to death and not realizing it.”Jeremy Irons, executive producer of the documentary “Trashed”
  10. No. 4: Find New Ways to Support Urban FarmsPhoto: littleny /
  11. “The reason local food tends to be more expensive ... is becausethe distribution and infrastructure angle, for which cities couldinvest in.”Dan Barber, chef and co-owner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns
  12. No. 5: Stop building in flood plains, and designcities to be resilient against future storms
  13. “Nature is pretty good at protecting itself. If we let the flood plains dowhat the flood plains were intended to do, which is to absorb theexcess, we won’t have the kind of inundation (we’re seeing). …Rather than fight nature, we need to make it our friend.”Carol Browner, former Obama energy czar
  14. No. 6: Give Self-Driving Cars a ChancePhoto: StanfordCIS/Flickr
  15. ““It’s not the technology that’s slowing us down.Society has to embrace this.”James Pisz, corporate manager,North American business strategy, Toyota U.S.A.
  16. More Coverage: Energy for Tomorrow