News Archive

posted 09/22/06

Earth Institute to Advise New York City on Sustainability, Mayor Announces

As part of a new initiative, The Earth Institute will provide New York City with scientific research and advice on environmental and climate change-related issues.

Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/MITI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced an agreement with The Earth Institute at Columbia University to work with the new Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability as scientific advisors.

The Earth Institute will provide pro bono academic and scientific expertise to the Office and participate in Advisory Board discussions. The scholars of the Earth Institute will help the new Office ensure that the City’s sustainability agenda is grounded in hard science, and informed by the most up-to-date research on climate change, environmental impacts, and the health impacts of the environment being done in New York City and around the world.

The Mayor announced the partnership as part of a series of initiatives to move forward the Administration’s plans to create an ambitious environmental agenda for New York City and its municipal government.

The other key components of the plan include the creation of the Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability within the Mayor’s Office of Operations; the undertaking of a major greenhouse gas inventory for City government and the City overall; the appointment of a Sustainability Advisory Board to advise the City on environmentally sound policies and practices; and that Douglas I. Foy, former Massachusetts Secretary for Commonwealth Development, will serve as a special advisor on sustainability. The Earth Institute will provide the City with scientific research and advice on environmental and climate change-related issues as part of the initiative.

“New York’s premier global university is home to an unparalleled collection of scientists, health experts, planners, and thinkers who can provide the solid scientific advice on which any responsible sustainability plan must be based,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “I thank Doug Foy, Columbia University and Jeffrey D. Sachs, the Director of the Earth Institute, for their willingness to support the City’s efforts in this way.”

Columbia's involvement in the Mayor's initiative will be primarily directed through the Urban Design Lab (UDL), a member of the Earth Institute that focuses on making the resources of the University more readily available to city residents and offers a unique approach to helping communities identify their needs and choose the strategies that best address those needs.

The UDL is headed Richard Plunz, a professor in Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and director of the school's Urban Design Program. He will draw on the knowledge of researchers throughout the University, including the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Ester Fuchs, professor of Public Affairs and Political Science at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, will also serve as a member of the Mayor's new Sustainability Advisory Board chaired by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff.

“Columbia University is delighted to support Mayor Bloomberg in this important effort,” said Sachs. “The Earth Institute looks forward to working with the Mayor’s Office to provide the academic and scientific expertise necessary to build a solid foundation for New York’s sustainability agenda.”

About The Earth Institute
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines — earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences — and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit www.earth.columbia.edu.