Memo 1: Vertical Farming in NYC

To: Professor MacBride
From: Jessica Piccolino
Date: 2/13/13
Re: Research Topic Proposal

In a metropolis as distinguished and prosperous as New York City it is essential to design an efficient and effective system of managing the urban food cycle. Along with such a booming population arises the obligation to grow enough food to feed this increase in people and to provide more suitable land for raising crops. However, traditional farming practices require much more land than the earth has to give in order to feed it’s inhabitants. A potential solution to this problem is vertical farming, which involves indoor farming and employing the use of progressive technologies that is inexpensive, safe, and simple to create.

In my research, I plan to focus on the role that vertical farming can play in the future of New York City, and how the concept can provide a sustainable and reliable food supply, as well as restore sites that have been forfeited for traditional farming. In order to conduct my research, I will read Dickson Despommier’s book “The Vertical Farm” on feeding the world in the 21st century and look to his website as well. I will also look into the challenges of vertical farming and watch many talk videos and presentations by speakers on the topic of vertical farming.

| 1 Comment

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.

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

Proposal – Air Pollution from Transportation Methods in New York City

To:                   Professor Samantha MacBride

From:              Megan Chiu

Date:               February 10, 2013

Re:                   Research Paper Topic Proposal – Air Pollution from Transportation Methods in New York City

For my paper, my overall research question is, how has air pollution in New York City changed as new forms of transportation have emerged and improved? I want to research the development of the modes of transportation in New York City. Specifically, I want to look at the history and increase in use of cars, trains, and buses throughout the city. This will help bring awareness to New Yorkers about how impactful or harmful certain types of transportation are to the environment and bring light to the technological efforts companies and agencies are making to reduce emissions.

My research data will be comprised of statistics directly from different agencies. I will look to the MTA for information on train and bus emissions and commuter statistics. I will look to the New York City Department of Transportation for its “Citywide Congested Corridors Studies” and similar studies for information about vehicular emissions. I want to examine the emission levels from cars over time.

I also want to see if there is any correlation between new “green” movements in transportation technology and overall air pollution levels. Furthermore, I plan to look for government agency reports, primarily from the United States Environmental Protection Agency if they are available, for information on the overall air quality and its relationship to climate change.


Memo 1.- NYC Subway: goals and challenges for the 21st century.

To: Professor MacBride
From: Edson Flores
Date: Feb/12/2013
Re: Research topic proposal.

One of the things that sets New York City apart from other major cities is its public transportation system. However, as a saying goes: a city is as good as its subway system. The NYC subway, as convenient as it is, was shown to be vulnerable in the wake of hurricane Sandy, paralyzing the city and leaving thousands of New Yorkers stranded and immobilized.

In my research I plan to focus on the future of the New York City subway system, what challenges does it face today and what others is it likely to face in the long run. Particularly I am interested in the cost/benefit trade off of modernizing the subway system. What impact did hurricane Sandy have on the MTA’s plans for the New York City subway? Given the antiquity of the subway tunnels and stations, what measures are viable to modernize and reduce the vulnerability against the effects of nature of the subway system?  An interesting project to look at is the ongoing construction of Second avenue subway line, is it being built following a different approach towards efficiency and sustainability?

In order to conduct my research I first must delve into the history of the New York City subway. For this I will consult books written about the subject and also visit the New York Transit Museum to take a look at their archives. Once I attain sufficient background, I will contact the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York Department of Transportation for further reference and professional commentary. Additionally, I will look at the different metro systems from major cities around the world and find out what is being done there to improve public transportation via subway; what trends in modern subway systems exist, what environmental measures are being established and following in the construction of subways. I will compare and contrast the other subways with NYC’s and identify what elements could be implemented in New York to overall enhance our subway system.

| Comments Off on Memo 1.- NYC Subway: goals and challenges for the 21st century.

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.




| Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Choosing a research topic – Memo 1