Urban Forestry

The effect creating green jobs will have on the environment may seem self-explanatory, in that one would assume a job labeled “green” would improve the greenery of the environment. But in order to lift the cloud of romantic labeling it is essential to examine some specific industries and job opportunities in current development to ground these lofty ideals of environmental enhancement in tangible, real actions. Especially with concern to New York City, where the iconic images of wind turbines seem a distant and rural phenomenon, examining the urban landscape for the environmental benefits of green industry will greatly improve awareness and stimulate action. As noted in the Center for American Progress report, “Experts have long noted that energy efficiency is an area where lack of basic awareness is a major hurdle to growth” (31).

The Sustainable South Bronx

The Sustainable South Bronx foundation serves as a great model for how the environment can be protected and mitigated while simultaneously creating job opportunities. The foundation serves to organize the local community in the South Bronx to fight for environmental justice. As the head of the organization stated, “greater proximity to fossil-fuel exhaust [is linked] with greater learning disabilities in children–making them better candidates for jail than higher education” (1).Her charge is confirmed by an article in Social Science and Medicine, which states,

“The neighborhoods identified within the most likely cluster of [Learning Disability] LD  prevalence were strongly associated with historically significant sources of lead toxicity such as automobile-related facilities, as well as industries that dealt with lead and other byproducts. Another significant environmental source was linked to air pollution from point source facilities. Our results showed that the neighborhoods within the LD cluster were in close proximity to these facilities. Residents, particularly young children within these block groups, face greater risks of exposure to toxicants from these facilities, which as indicated earlier, are typical sources of criteria pollutants such as particulates, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, lead, and ammonia” (Margal et. al 1084).

Instead of perpetuating a community of poverty and poor health, Majora Carter hopes that continued support for her foundation will provide for  programs such as her Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program:Unemployed and formerly incarcerated workers are given the opportunity to became certified workers in green-roof installation, urban forestry, hazardous and waste clean up (2). The Program has already certified the 175 graduates with a number of skills, which have provided lucrative career paths. According to their website, “Eighty-two percent of BEST Eco’s graduates are gainfully employed, 15% are attending college, and 7% are employed and in school” (SSBX).


Urban Forestry

With this in mind, Green Collar Jobs will improve the environment of New york City mainly by developing Urban Forestry, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings throughout the city, and mitigating waste through Brownfield redemption programs as well as Green manufacturing practices.

Urban Forestry is the active recognition that individuals and communities living in urban landscapes benefit from the availability of vegetation in their neighborhood (Bradley 4). Although the presence of vegetation in the Urban environment may seem a luxurious aesthetic accommodation, there are specific mental and social benefits that result from the placement of vegetation in the urban environment. As Westphal notes,

“Views of green space can have dramatic impacts on people improved worker productivity (Kaplan 1993b), reduced domestic violence (Kuo and Sullivan 1996), shorter healing times (Ulnch 1984)”.

There are a variety of job outlets available to increase the development of Urban forestry. The Center for American Progress outlines two major subsectors of the Urban Forestry industries: 1) Park maintenance, tree planting, and open space design 2) Green Roof development (16). They also note that Urban agriculture is another subsection of the Urban Forestry industry, however, the industry cannot qualify as a green collar industry because it contains no clearly defined career progression, and is seasonally dependent.

The Green Streets initiative:

As Part of Michel Bloombergs PLAN NYC initiative, every new yorker is expected to live within a 10 minute walk of a park. In conjunction with the increase of park space, traffic islands and pedestrian walk ways are expected to incorporate a variety of vegetation in order to universally benefit New Yorkers. These initiatives are compelled by the health epidemics that pervade New York City. According to Plan NYC, “Today, the city’s obesity rate among children is 24%, almost 10% above the national average. In 2000, children in New York City were almost twice as likely to be hospitalized for asthma as children in the U.S. as a whole” (3). Parks are an undeniable mitigation for obesity.  According to an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,

“there is strong evidence that creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities is effective in increasing levels of physical activity, as measured by an increase in the percentage of people engaging in physical activity or other measures of physical activity” (Kahn et al. 17).

East River Waterfront

Plan NYC offers a number of methods to increase the green space in New York City, but the East River Waterfront space offers an all encompassing example of park space enhancement and development. The space is not simply a hopeful prospect, but a funded project. According to the Department of City Planning,

“In May of 2005, the revitalization of the East River Waterfront, guided by this study, received $150 million of federal funding administered by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation” (1).

The Water Front will feature the advent of 400 new construction jobs, created as of 2009 with the addition of a 148 million dollars donated by the New York State Department of Housing And the Department of Transportation. The New York City Economic Development Corporation is cited to assume management.

Pier 35 will feature a riverfront plant and exhibit, complete with a small wild life estuary that features an arraay of animals natural to this biosphere’s ecosystem.

The rest of the work will be devoted to stripping the park and industrial spaces along the East River and replacing it with park and pavilions, all designed for the purpose of attracting active public involvement.

Works Cited

  • Bradley, Gordon A. Urban Forest Landscapes: Integrating Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Seattle: University of Washington, 1995. Print.
  • “Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Academy.” SSBX: Environmental Justice Solutions. Sustainable South Bronx, 2009. Web. 05 Apr. 2010. <http://www.ssbx.org/index.php?link=33#best>.
  • Carter, Majora. “Green Jobs, Not Jails.” Scientific American Earth 3.0 18.4 (2008): 1-2. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Apr. 2010.
  • Cha, J.Mijin, and Jack Dafoe. New York City Green Collar Jobs Road MapUrban Agenda. Center for American Progress, Oct. 2009. Web. 3 Apr. 2010.
  • “East River Waterfront Study.” East River Water Front Study- Department of City Planning. Department of City Planning, 2010. Web. 06 Apr. 2010. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/erw/erw.shtml>.
  • Kahn, Emily B., Leigh. T. Ramsey, Ross C. Brownson, Gregory. W. Heath, Elizabeth. H. Howze, Kenneth. E. Powell, Elaine. J. Stone, Mummy. W. Rajab, and Phaedra Corso. “The Effectiveness of Interventions to Increase Physical Activity A Systematic Review.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 22.4 (2002): 73-107. Web.
  • Margal, Florence, and Norah Henry. “A Community-based Assessment of Learning Disabilities Using Environmental and Contextual Risk Factors.” Social Sciences & Medicine 56.5 (2003): 1073-085. Science Direct. Web. 5 Apr. 2010.
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Open Space: Ensure That All New Yorkers Live in a 10 Minute Walk of a ParkGreener Greater New York. PLAN NYC, 2009. Web.
  • Westphal, Lynne M. “URBAN GREENING AND SOCIAL BENEFITS: A STUDY OF EMPOWERMENT OUTCOMES.” Arboriculture 29.3 (2003): 137-46. Web.
  • Zhao, Min, Zheng-hong Kong, Francisco . J. Escobedo, and Jun Gao. “Impacts of Urban Forests on Offsetting Carbon Emissions from Industrial Energy Use in Hangzhou, China.” Journal of Environmental Management 19.4 (2010): 807-13. EBSCOhost. Web. 10 May 2010.
  • Stephenson, Max, and Lisa Schweitzer. “Right Answers, Wrong Questions: Environmental Justice as Urban Research.” Urban Studies 44.2 (2007): 319-37. EBSCOhost. Web. 10 May 2010.
  • “NYSDOT – Bronx – Bruckner Expressway – I278 – Sheridan Expressway – I895 – Bruckner Sheridan EIS.” Bruckner Sheridan Interchange and Commercial Access to Hunts Point Peninsula. New York State Department of Transportation, 4 Sept. 2003. Web. 10 May 2010. <https://www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/regional-offices/region11/projects/project-repository/bese/scoping/scopingdocument.html>.
  • Burden, Amanda. TRANSFORMING THE EAST RIVER WATERFRONT. Http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/erw/east_river_waterfront_book.pdf. The Department of City Planning, 2010. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/erw/east_river_waterfront_book.pdf>.Citywide Census Results. Trees Count. City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, 2006. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/downloads/pdf/trees_count_citywide_census_results.pdf>.”London Plane Tree In Central Park.” Central Park Touring And Sightseeing. 2007. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www.centralpark2000.com/database_trees/london_plane.htm>.”MillionTrees Training Program.”
  • MillionTrees Training Program – Center for Economic Opportunity. Center for Economic Opportunity, 2010. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/ceo/html/programs/milliontrees.shtml>.
  • Nowak, David, and Daniel Crane. “Carbon Storage and Sequestration by Urban Trees in the USA.” Environmental Pollution 116 (2002): 381-89. Science Direct. Web. 16 May 2010.Office of the Mayor. MAYOR BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR PATERSON, ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SILVER AND OTHER OFFICIALS BREAK GROUND ON EAST RIVER WATERFRONT ESPLANADE IN LOWER MANHATTAN. NYC.gov. Office of the Mayor, 18 Aug. 2009. Web. 16 May 2010. <http://www.nyc.gov:80/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fhtml%2F2009b%2Fpr381-09.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1>.



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