Author Archives: Samantha MacBride

Posts by Samantha MacBride

ppt lecture

April 30th Field Trip: INAF 4001, to BIG! Compost Site

Time of Field Trip Visit

11:30-1pm,  April 30th.  Be there by 11:15.


The nearest subway is the N/Q/7 Queensboro Plaza (about a 10 minute walk). The Court Square E/G/M stop is a bit more of a walk (about 20 minutes), but also in the area.

The compost site is located underneath the Queensboro Bridge near the intersection of Queens Plaza South and 10th Street ( From the subway, walk to Queens Plaza South and 10th street. There is a big entrance at that intersection. Once you enter, we are to the far right (east) area under the bridge. You will see leaf cages and compost rows.


You will be at a compost site: closed toed flat shoes and long pants are recommended.


Email me at or call/text 917-613-1789


Tuesday April 16- A full class

Hi Everyone:

This is just to alert you that we will be having a very full and tight class schedule this coming Tuesday.   Arrive on time and be prepared to stay until 2:05.  The program for the class is as follows:

1. General remarks on presenting in groups at the Macaulay conference.

2.  Guest speaker: We are honored to have Jonathan Krones, a PhD student from MIT, here to discuss the concept of urban metabolism and how it relates to his research.  Give him your full attention and ask questions.

3.  Collaborative Learning Contributions –

Lawrence – the Right to the City

Kelly – Green Accounting

Richard – Plastic bags

This will lead into my discussion of plastics and environmental justice.  I will be calling on Group 2 members at random during this discussion, although I encourage everyone, as usual, to participate.

Let me know if you have questions.



Why I do not set minimum pages/number of entries for the annotated bibliography

Hi Folks

As you know, I posted extensive guidance on the annotated bibliography some time ago.  I did not, however, specify a minimum number of pages or entries.  Why?  Because you now should be at the point where you are thinking for yourselves about your research, gathering information in a meaningful way (not as filler or just to meet a requirement), and gearing up to write a strong final paper, which is now, for those of you who did not catch this in prior postings, a minimum of five (not seven) single spaced pages.

Like all of you, I, too was an undergraduate under a lot of pressure (back in the 1980’s), working part time.  I still recall the research papers I wrote and the research skills I gathered writing those papers as some of the more important skills and knowledge sets that I gained in college.  Approach your annotated bibliography and your final paper in the same spirit!

Let me know, as always, if you have specific questions.


As of 4/8/2013 – Collaborative Learning Contributions

to Reiterate: I am reducing the required number of Collaborative Learning Contributions from two to one.   If you already have done two, you are to be commended!  If you have already done one, you are done!  If you have proposed one already, great.

If you have not yet proposed and presented a Contribution, you need to think about one (not two) NOW, propose it to me based on the calendar above/below, and follow through on the day you state.  Please do not plan a Contribution on a day when we are practicing Presentations.  So this leaves:

Class 9 – April 9th after digester tour (open air)

Class 10 – April 16 – Richard, Lawrence, Kelly (classroom)  — is filled up, no more sign ups allowed

Class 12 – April 30 – at compost site – Jenny (open air)

Class 14 – May 14th, classroom, Jessica P., Edson, Steven


This is a follow up to the previous announcement posted at 1:35 on 4/5

Hi Again Everyone:

I have assigned you all to groups for presentation purposes. See matrix below and excel version attached for your group assignment. Here is hat to do next:

1.Email your fellow group members to find a mutually agreeable time to present at the Macaulay Conference, and come up with a title. Make sure the title is broad and general, since you all have not had a chance to discuss what your respective projects have in common in detail. You may want to select the group name I have assigned to your group, or another name.

2.The designated contact person should register with Macaulay at: as soon as everyone has agreed on a time. The designated contact person is the first person in the group by alphabetical order last name. They are bolded/talicized below.

3. Once this is done, sit back, relax, and don’t worry about next steps with regard to your group presentation until we all meet in the classroom on April 16th (some of you can’t come to the tour next week, I understand)

Do continue to work on your annotated bibliography. Everyone must submit their own final paper as planned. The only changes right now have to do with presentations.

4.On the 16th, I will discuss these developments with you in class. At the next class, April 23rd, you will have the entire class time to share your projects, discuss, and begin to formulate your group presentation. You will need to brainstorm about what you can all collectively say, based on your projects, that is compelling and relevant to the future of NYC.

5.The class after that (April 30th) will be another field trip. The class after that (May 7th) will be a practice presentation day in advance of the conference.

Let me know immediately if you have:


-Your designated contact person isn’t responsive
-For any reason at all!



Name Topic Group email – contact person is 1st person in group, bolded and italicized
RICHARD Artificial Trees Atmosphere, Air, Weather RICHARD.CHAN2@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
AMANDA Artificial Trees Atmosphere, Air, Weather AMANDA.HUANG@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
DEREK NYC disasters and the adaptation of infrastructure Atmosphere, Air, Weather DEREK.KU@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
STEVEN Soot Pollution and Government Mitigation Atmosphere, Air, Weather STEVEN.SKLYAREVSKIY@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
MEGAN The Development of the Hybrid Car Transportation MEGAN.CHIU@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
EDSON NYC Subway – Goals and Challenges for 21st Century Transportation EDSON.FLORES@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
RAYMOND Public Transportation and Pollution Mitigation Transportation RAYMOND.WANG@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
HYE MIN Green Roofs against Climate Change Urban Farming and Composting HYEMIN.LEE1@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
JESSICA Urban Farming Urban Farming and Composting JESSICA.LIN1@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
JESSICA Vertical Farming in NYC Urban Farming and Composting JESSICA.PICCOLINO@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU
KELLY Future of Composting in NYC Urban Farming and Composting KELLY.WU1@BARUCHMAIL.CUNY.EDU


Hi Folks

this is written at 1:35 on Friday, 4/5/13.  Check your in-box for updates.

Much to my annoyance, I have found out that you have to present at the upcoming conference in groups, not as individuals.  I did not know that, and I apologize for not knowing that.  It was not made clear to me.

Fortunately, there is a lot of overlap among topics.  In the next hour or so, I am going to assign you all to groups based on your topic.  I will name one person to be the “sign up” person for the conference slot, so that this process is not delayed.

We will allot enough time in class for you all to work together on presentations, and then practice them.  Do not worry about this.  More details will be coming in the next email I send.

Thanks for your patience,

Prof. MacBride

Annotated Bibliography – guidance

Hi everyone,

As you know, your next assignment is coming up – your annotated bibliography is due by 10:30 April 15th.   Now that I have provided everyone feedback on their timelines, here is some guidance for the bibliography.  Please take the time to read it, and to educate yourself in Chicago style citation if you need it.   Many people failed to properly cite on their last assignment.   I did not penalize the assignments for this, but I expect proper citation on the next assignment.  It is up to you to verify that your citation procedure is correct.

Guidance on Assembling an Annotated Bibliography

1.  The goal of the assignment is to demonstrate to me that you are doing thorough, original research that is relevant to your research question, and informs the point you want to make in your presentation.  This will ultimately help you in the long run

2. Do not over-rely on general webpages for information.    Academic journals published online, government reports, nonprofit organization reports posted online are different than general webpages with unreviewed information posted.  (for an example of such a general webpage, see e.g.  It is fine to get your research off the ground with such sites, but remember, no one is checking this information.  Get facts from reputable, published sources.

3. Cite properly.  Use the quick reference page from the  Chicago Manual of Style.  Note that online journals and reports are cited differently in citations than simple websites.   Note also that I do not require a DOI number, URL or access date for a book or academic article that you have accessed online instead of in print.  I do require a URL and access date for a website or other purely online source.  Let me know if you have questions.

4. Recommendation: At least once, go to the library and look at some actual, full length, printed books on your subject.  Even flipping through them will give you a deeper and better perspective on your subject. The Baruch Library is good.  The New York Public Library Schwartzman Center, NYPL Science, Industry and Business Library, and Brooklyn Public Library Main Branch are works of art.

4. Here is information to include in your annotated bibliography (thank you to Ben for compiling).  Include:

  1. A full citation of the source, in a Chicago style of your choice (see above):
    • This should be easy if you’re using Zotero: right-click the source in your library and choose “generate bibliography from selected item.”
  2. A concise, selective summary of the source
    • by concise, I mean 150-350 words
    • by selective, I mean written with a particular use in mind — e.g. summarizing a particular argument the source makes that you wish to agree or disagree with, or summarizing a particular exhibit within the source that you wish to analyze.
  3. A concise yet detailed rationale for why and how you intend to use the source
    • this should relate to the selection made for the summary, and either make it explicit or begin doing the work of (dis)agreeing or analysis.
    • by concise, I again mean 150-350 words
    • by detailed, I mean to avoid single-sentence rationales, such as “I want to quote the statistics here.” Why are those statistics valuable? What will you do with them once they’re shown? Don’t assume that any mere data speaks for itself, or says the same thing to every audience; use the rationale to begin writing the follow-up paragraph.

There are many online resources and examples for you to consult, e.g. and from Purdue, or from the University of Maryland.

4. Share information with your colleagues.  There is a great deal of overlap among your topics.  This is not a competition.   Share information, ideas, divide up approaches, run things by me and each other.

5. Use assigned readings from the class, and try to make interesting connections between them and your topic.  I want you to incorporate our readings into your presentations and research.

6.  Do your research and compile your annotated bibliography with your final presentation/paper in mind.  In both deliverables, you will need to make a strong, clear, original point that is relevant in some way to Shaping the Future of NYC in an era of climate change.  The relevance can be constructed in various ways.  Again, if you are unsure, speak up!

7. In response to student concerns, I have reduced the page requirement for the final paper to a minimum of five single space pages.  Make them mean something!

April 9th, Newtown Creek Digester Egg Tour, 9:15 AM

On April 9th we will meet at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek no later than 9:15, for a guided tour of the wastewater treatment facility’s anaerobic digester system!

Here is a link to the site.

After the tour we will walk around Newtown Creek a bit to soak in the mixture of nature and industry that is there.  Stay for the walk if you can.

Please try to make the tour.  I understand some of you have Accounting in the AM.  I will be glad to email your professor if that is relevant.  If you absolutely can’t miss class, I understand.

Wear closed-toed, non-high heeled shoes.

You are responsible for getting there on your own. The address is:

329 Greenpoint Avenue
Greenpoint, Brooklyn NY, 11222
(Enter at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and Humboldt Street.)

The best way to get there is the G train, but use hopstop or googlemaps to find a route that meets your needs.

If you are late/delayed:  email me at OR text/call 917-613-1789

Travel directions

Subway to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek

Take the G train to Greenpoint Avenue. Use the Greenpoint/Manhattan Avenue exit. With the McDonald’s on your left, walk along Greenpoint Avenue one long block east and cross McGuinnes Boulevard. Continue on Greenpoint Avenue to the next traffic light and cross Provost. The Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will be on your left. Follow the fence-line and continue walking until you reach the main gate to the plant, at a traffic light on Humboldt Street. The Visitor Center at Newtown Creek will be in front of you. It is a two-story orange brick building surrounded by a garden and water sculpture.

More guidance on timelines

Hi again everyone,

Based on some conversations with students, I wanted to offer some additional pointers on your timelines.

1. The timeline is a research tool that should help you organize your thinking on your topic and make sure you aren’t postponing research until the last minute.

For this reason, you, not the author of a published timeline, should be in the driver’as seat in constructing the sequence of important events.  It is fine to reference one or more published timelines, but the point of this assignment is not for you merely to reproduce them.  It is to construct a timeline that is relevant to the question you are addressing in your research.

2.  Show me that you are doing good, broad, deep research.

You all have done research projects and papers before.  You know how to do research, and if you have questions, you know you can contact me and/or Ben in class, in office hours, or via email.  The timeline is the first chance for you to show me what you have been doing, what sources you have consulted, and where your research is going.   Make sure each event in the timeline is significant for your research (not just filler).

As always, contact me with questions.

Timelines Due

Hi Folks

This is just a reminder that timelines are due at 10:30 PM on Monday, March 18th.  Contact me soon if you have questions.  These timelines should be the anchor to gearing up the research you are to be doing over the rest of the semester.  Make sure they reflect the research you have done so far.

As mentioned in the original assignment, you must cite references and the timeline should be at a minimum three pages.  You may double space between line entries, but as with all assignments the entries themselves should be single spaced.

Submit your timelines as a posting on the site in the “Timelines” area, but keep a copy of the timeline in Word.   I may ask you for it if I need to verify your three page minimum.

Tuesday March 8, 2013: Public Affairs Week

Hi Everyone:  next Tuesday evening during Public Affairs Week we have a highly relevant panel that I am moderating.  Please consider attending!  RSVP not needed.

City Sustainability and the Prospects for Waste Disposal
Tuesday March 12, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Baruch College, Newman Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Ave (corner of 24th Street), Rm 14-220
Samantha MacBride, Assistant Professor
Venetia Lannon is the regional director for Region 2
(New York City) for the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation. Prior to this, she was senior
vice president of the New York City Economic Development
Corporation, where she led the Maritime group. In
her previous work at EDC, she was an active participant
in the development and negotiation of the City’s 20-year
Solid Waste Management Plan. Before joining NYCEDC in
2003, Ms. Lannon was a deputy director at the New York
City Department of Sanitation’s Recycling Bureau where
she oversaw the composting program. Ms. Lannon holds
a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a Masters in
Public Administration from Columbia University.

Ron Gonen is deputy commissioner of sanitation for the
City of New York where he is responsible for managing
New York City’s recycling and waste reduction programs.
He also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia
Business School. Mr. Gonen is the co-founder of
RecycleBank. During his tenure as CEO from 2004-2010,
RecycleBank grew to a company that diverted over a
billion pounds from landfills. Prior to RecycleBank, Mr.
Gonen was in management consulting at Accenture and
Deloitte Consulting. He was recognized in 2009 by the
United Nations Environment Program as a Champion of
the Earth. He was the recipient of the 2010 University
Medal of Excellence from Columbia University and was
awarded the Social Enterprise Teaching Award by Columbia
Business School.

This Sunday: Big Data and Climate Change in Cities, March 10

RSVP Required.

Climate Change and Cities Datathon: Public Presentations and Judging


This weekend, five teams of scholars, thinkers, writers, and practitioners will convene to participate in the Institute for Public Knowledge’s first Datathon. The theme, Climate Change and Cities, asks these groups to think about the nature of both meteorological and social data, and to consider ways that these different kinds of data can be used to help us better understand the relationship between climate change and our cities, and to help inform the decisions we will make as we plan for our collective future.

At noon on Sunday, March 10th, these five teams will present their findings in a session that is open to the public. A winning team will be selected by a panel judges:

Dalton Conley, University Professor at NYU

Duncan Watts, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research

Maryam Hariri, City Planner, NYC Department of City Planning

Climate Change and Cities Datathon: Public Presentations and Judging
Sunday Mar 10, 2013 | 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Institute for Public Knowledge, New York

Institute for Public Knowledge
Street:  20 Cooper Square, 5th floor
ZIP:   10003
City:  New York
State:  NY

Energy, Composting, and Buildings: Of Possible Interest to the Class

Biogas in the Basement

Wed, 2013-03-06 10:23

Frustrated by unreliable waste collection, several high-rise apartment complexes in Kochi, India, are turning lemons into lemonade – or more accurately, biogas. Using technology pioneered in Europe, the buildings feature onsite biogas plants that process residents’ food scraps and other biodegradable waste into energy. While the resulting electricity from one 24-flat building currently using the technology is not enough to power the entire complex, it is powering the cooking appliances for the onsite security staff.

So every time residents see their doorman eating a microwave burrito, they can take pride in knowing that the discarded remains of their gourmet meal made it happen.

Source: The Times of India

Mark Item As: Commentary
Sat, 2013-03-09

Researching a 100 Year Timeline

Hi Folks

Richard posted a good question about timeline research that I thought I would respond to on the site so that everyone could share.  Here is what he wrote:

Hey, it’s me, Richard Chan from IDC 4001H. My group’s topic is virtual trees.

We are curious about how to start about with the timeline memo. We want to focus more on the mechanical workings of the tree, rather than the publicity campaign of it. Given how (very) recent this innovation is, we were curious as to what we were to be looking back for. Should we search for the beginnings of carbon capture technology? The first ideas of carbon sequestration? Do we go back and look at the origins of the chemicals used (which, upon the cursory glance, seem like surprisingly commonplace, if not a tad dangerous, chemicals)?

As with many good questions, this one contains the seeds of its own answer.   Think about history this way:  nothing arises out of nothing; everything has some kind of precursor.  The best research involves seeing the precursor(s) in the present day example you are studying.  Richard mentions the beginnings of carbon capture technology, carbon sequestration as an approach to mitigation, and origins of chemicals.  All of these are appropriate to look into historically to some degree, the latter two (sequestration and chemicals) are more general background, while the first (specific technology) would more directly lead to the topic under study.  Also of interest is the notion that technology should mimic biology, and that the negative consequences of human intervention into nature can be solved by more intervention into nature (as opposed to growing more natural trees).

On a more concrete level, I would organize the timeline around the technology of carbon capture, keeping these other historical currents in mind, either as themes to explore in the final paper, or concepts to look out for when constructing the timeline.

Finally, don’t stress out over this exercise.  It is meant to get you thinking about your topic, and I don’t expect an exhaustive list of every event leading up to the present iteration of your issue (that would be impossible).

Keep the questions coming!

Comments on Edson’s Project, the First to be Posted!


First, thanks for being the first to post.  You have chosen a terrific project idea, and yours is an example for others to follow.

In this regard, let me strongly suggest that you now narrow down the focus of your topic to one particular aspect of NYC subways in an era of climate change.   Choosing a focus topic will still give you room to get a broad, historical and comparative overview of the issue (which you have proposed very well) but will keep you from being drawn off in too many directions.   A suggestion for narrowing focus might be on the issue of flooding in the subway system, or even flooding on a particular line or station.  You can always adjust if you go to narrow, but normally students thank me for pushing them to narrow and specify early.

All students should keep this in mind.  In addition, Edson will be able to blend his research with the assigned readings (and optional readings) we are covering during Week 8, which will help him and enhance the class.  As you conduct your research, try to maximize the resources already covered in class.

Great work Edson!  Let me know when you have refined your focus.

Elements of An Engaging Question

Hi Everyone,

This is just a reminder and review of the elements of a question that is meant to engage discussion for our readings each week.

First, the question should not be primarily factual.  In other words, the question should not be an assignment to readers to go look up information and report back.  It should engage discussion.  It should be based on a premise that the person posting sets up.  Why do they ask this question, based on what they have read and thought about?  This is why at least one sentence setting up the question is needed.  The question itself, furthermore, must cover at least two readings, even if the person posting has been assigned to specialize in one of the readings.  One or more other reading(s) can be brought in via skimming if need be.

Looking forward to seeing everyone Tuesday!

Your prof

Samantha MacBride

Choosing a research topic – Memo 1

PLEASE NOTE:  The memo is due no later than 10:30 PM on 2/13, as per the course calendar.

Your topic must take up the question of the “Future of New York City”, addressing the notion of “the future” from the standpoint of the future of nature and society, not just your own life.  You will propose your topic by submitting  a new post in the “Proposals” Category, which falls under “Research.”

Full instructions on how to propose are in Written Assignment Details.

If you wish to do a group project instead of an individual one, you may, but you will all need to prepare individual presentations that can be merged into one large presentation, and you will all need to submit individual research papers written only by you.

Here are suggestions for topics and links to get you started.  If you choose one of these topics, you will still need to to formulate a research question and explain how you will do the research, per the instructions for Memo 1.

You are of course free to, and encouraged to, select another topic.  Ask me questions earlier rather than later.  Don’t wait until the last minute.

Ideas for Topics:

Floodgates, Barriers, and other Human-Engineered Structures to Protect NYC’s Waterfront Neighborhoods.

The Wetland: from Detested Swamp to Heroic Protector.  The History and Future of Wetlands in NYC.

Braving the Elements:  Plans to Heat and Cool Vulnerable Populations in Times of Crisis in NYC

Virtual Trees:  Gaming and Post-Modernism in an Era of Climate Change.

The Urban Food Cycle: Vertical and Rooftop Farming, Sustainable Cuisine, and Composting as a Future Way of Life in NYC.

Energy from Waste – Solution or Scourge for New York City?  The Re-Emergence of Waste-to-Energy as Public Policy in 21st Century New York City.

As always, contact me with questions.




Powerpoints from Week 2



Summer Course at Columbia: The History of Climate Change and the Future of Global Governance

This may be of interest to some of you!

The History of Climate Change and the Future of Global Governance

Department of History, Columbia University May-August 2013

The Hertog Global Strategy Initiative (HGSI) seeks talented undergraduate and graduate students for its 2013 seminar on the History of Climate Change and the Future of Global Governance.

HGSI is a research program that explores how the world community has responded to planetary threats to derive lessons that will help us take on the challenges of the present and the future. Each summer, a select group of students from across the nation comes to Columbia University for three months to work with leading scholars and policymakers. This year’s initiative hopes to train a new generation of researchers and leaders who understand both the development of climate science and the changing nature of world politics.

The 2013 seminar will be taught by Matthew Connelly, Professor of History at Columbia University, and Jim Fleming, Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. They will be assisted in the classroom by Deborah Coen, Paul Edwards, Mike Hulme, Bill McKibben, Gavin Schmidt, and nearly a dozen other leaders in the field.

Participants pursue original research both independently and in teams.
Students will receive eight credit points for the seminar, the equivalent of two semester-long courses at Columbia.

For more information about the program, visit
You can also find us on
Facebook<> and Twitter

Please direct any further questions to or 212-854-9854.

Application Deadline: March 5, 2013
Apply at:

Nicole K. Ferraiolo
Program Coordinator
The Hertog Global Strategy Initiative
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027

Powerpoints from Week1


Waste Management in New York City

Thanks to all for an auspicious beginning to the class…

I enjoyed class today quite a bit, and was glad to begin to get to know each of you.  One thing I neglected to mention:  you don’t need to limit postings and discussion to your Engage / Respond / Discuss assignments.   Feel free to post and reply freely about the class content as you wish.

Week 12: Visions of the Future of NYC: Waste, Energy and Complexity

Participatory challenge:  individually or in self-selected teams, construct a tableau for the future of NYC in a year of your choice.

Click to show required readings
PlaNYC 2030 Solid Waste

Urry, John. “Ch. 4: Networks and Fluids,” in Global Complexity. Cambridge: Polity, 2003. 50-103. (e-reserves)

Week 11: Practice Presentations

I will be attending the 21st Annual North American Waste-to-Energy Conference in Ft. Myers, FL.

You will practice your presentations in consultation with Ben Miller, Instructional Technology Fellow.

No readings!


Week 10: Environmental Justice; Plastics in NYC

What’s due:  Annotated Bibliography

Participatory challenge:  Identify and photograph a neighborhood in NYC impacted by industrial facilities, evidence of plastic pollution, or another visual closely related  to this week’s assigned readings.

Click to show required readings
Pellow, David Naguib. “Ch.4: The Global Village Dump,” in Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice. MIT Press, 2007. 73-96. e-reserves

MacBride, Samantha. “Ch. 5: Extended  Plastics Responsibility” in Recycling Reconsidered: the Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States. MIT Press 2012. 174-215 Zotero

Click to show optional readings
Liboiron, Max. “Defunct Models of Pollution: Starring Oceanic Plastics and Body Burdens” Discard Studies

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