Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Reading and Response: Green Metropolis

Your next reading, a selection from Green Metropolis by David Owen, can be downloaded here.

Read this interesting take on urban ecology and write two thoughtful paragraphs as a comment below. Address the following in your writing:
  • How does David Owen expand your view of the relationship between NYC and the environment?
  • Discuss one point you agree with and one point that you question/challenge.


  1. David Owen greatly expanded my views between NYC and the environment. He had so many facts that I have not known about and points that I believed to be untrue until he explained it. Before reading Green Metropolis, I believed the exact opposite of what Owen believed. I thought that having more trees, less vehicles, congestion, and living closer to nature was the greenest and most environmental way of living. Urban cities are usually believed to be wasteful places that produced a lot of greenhouse gases, such as Manhattan. However facts supported his thesis, which was that Manhattan is actually the most environmental city and place to live in, compared to rural places that are considered “environmental”. Some points that Owen made were that “New York City is responsible for almost 1 percent of all the greenhouse gases produced by the United States…but they overlooked ...the fact that the city contains 2.7 percent of the country’s population”, NYC residents use an “average of 4,696 kilowatt-hours per household per year” compared to the average household in Dallas that use 16,116 kilowatt-hours, and NYC has the lowest carbon footprint compared to other places in the U.S. He explains how Manhattan is environmental because everything is so compacted that many pedestrians walk to get to their destinations. Therefore, NYC residents use less gasoline, only 146 gallons per person per year and 90 for Manhattan residents. On the other hand, Vermont uses 545 gallons per person per year. Compactness doesn’t allow as many cars in the city so “82% of employed Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot.” The average New Yorker from all five boroughs “annually generates 7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases.” That is 30% less than the national average of 24.5 metric tons. Owen also pointed out the heat that escapes from apartment buildings can heat the floors above. One point that I disagreed with Owen was that trees should still be planted and parks help Manhattan become a little bit closer to nature. Owen said how the purpose of planting more trees is just to make residents feel less in an urban environment. It was considered depressing and was meant to let people feel less in a man-made environment and more cheerful. Owen believed that instead it “reinforces the view that urban life is artificial and depraved and makes city residents feel guilty about living where and how they do.” However, I believe that it gives a nice affect to such an industrious place, to have many modern buildings and skyscrapers, but still have space to have something like central park and trees. A point that I agreed with Owen is that moving communities closer together saves more space than spreading them apart from one another. By spreading out, lands had to be cleared out in order to let people live there. However, if there was an earthquake in NYC, the possibility of deaths would be much greater than an earthquake in a rural town. Of course there are many positive and negative affects of urban communities, but what Owen argued was the space of a community takes up. Therefore, in that sense I agree with him.
    -Emily Ho

  2. As probably many others had thought, I too believed New York to be very ecogically unfriendly, however this text has definately opened my eyes to some interesting facts presented. I never realized the amount of walking and public transportation use I was doing until reading this text and also many other people use this system as well. Due to the condensed nature of the city as well as the one way streets, its very difficult to drive through the city and unless ones knows how to navigate and is familiar with the area, getting around to places is difficult. Even with this knowledge and know-how, traffic is and will always be a problem. Also, due to such a small living space, people don't collect as much unnessasary items. I, for instance, have much less space in my dorm, then I did back at home and have to constantly stop myself from buying things I don't need because I now share a room with 2 other people as well as the suite with 2 additional people. Living in New York not only led me to conserve energy because I had no car, but it also saved me from buying an excess of things.
    The author makes an interesting point when he states that many think New York seems "unatural" because of the concrete, glass and steel, but then he counters this point by stating how eco-friendly it is due to the energy saving nature of the city because it is so condensed. He also reveals that building homes in the middle of nature not only requires creating pollution due ot driving, it also disrupts the natural state of the forest or wherever this dwelling is built.
    However, all the same, though living in New York is more eco-friendly because of the amounts of people living in it and the style in which these people live, living in such a condensed city can be suffocating. Coming from another large city, Los Angeles, I find that the constand sea of people to be frustrating and stressful. though LA has also a large population, the area is very spread out. I find the huge amount of people consentrated in area much more unnatural then the concrete or steel or glass. Even Central Park was crowded with people and unless one could find the time to travel deeper into Central Park or find time to come on a day when people have to work, it is difficult to find peace and quiet, especially if one lives in dorms.

    -k woo

  3. David Owen had many interesting views and opinions of the relationship between NYC and the environment. He pointed out many aspects of the relationship that I had never before thought about. I'm not even sure that I would have drawn these connections between the two if it wasn't for this article. David Owen points out all the obvious annoyances of NYC, like how ownership of a car is nothing but a hastle, and how everyone is extremely close, living wise to each other. I love NYC, but will admit that I've always kept it in my mind as a place that is full of pollution. It never striked me as a place that could help benefit the environment. However, David Owens has made me think differently. Most of the harmful gases and fuels in the world come from cars, and since it's such a inconvenient thing to own in NYC we've lowered the amount of fuels that get leaked into the atmosphere. Heat leaks through aparntment ceilings to help heat other apartments, further concerving energy. Everything is extremely close to each other so energy and time is saved. NYC is actually not harmful to the environment, but a great benefit for it actually.
    I agree with David Owens that the city can help benefit the environment rather than harm it. Actually, most people that live in NYC are so concerned with being "green" that we end up putting together many products and events and figuring out ways of further conserving energy. It completely makes sense to me that since everything is so close together in NYC, that a lot of energy and power is saved because most things are in walking distance. When they are not in walking distance, public transportation is made extremely convenient and comes second nature to most New Yorkers. One point that I do not agree with is that people that live in the country, or more sparsly populated cities, actually harm the environment. Even though they use cars more frequently, and their heat leaks through their houses just into the atmosphere and can do nothing else productive, there are still far less people living in a country town than in NYC. This makes it impossible for towns in the country to be more harmful to the environment in this way. If the country was just as densly populated as NYC, then I would agree with David Owen on this point, but if there are less people, then there is less pollution.

    Rachel Cutler

  4. David Owen expanded my knowledge on the relationship between nyc and the environment by bringing up all these different aspects which affect the polluted air and which is disrupted to the animal. He gives many suggestions of how there is unnecessary waste of houses and usage of vehicles such as cars driving long distances. He also basically tells us how through time how the waste starts, by humans and animals.

    karriena wadwani
    I agree with David when he goes on to explain why people would build houses in the middle of the woods and far away where people have to drive for miles to get there and that it is very disruptive to the environment. He is right that it is very wasteful and i can definitely see his point of view, that is it really necessary for these houses to be built so far away from the city where it is pretty much isolation. Although its nice to be further way as some people might like living in their on space it is definitely unnecessary because of the waste of transport it takes to get there and it is disruptive to a space where wildlife could be living.

    karriena wadwani

  5. I must say, this is the most interesting of the articles we have had to read.

    I have always thought of New York City, and most cities for that matter, to be centers of pollution and other ecological harm. That is the way most people seem to think. Until reading David Owen's "Green Metropolis," I hadn't considered thinking of the matter in terms of individual people. Which makes complete sense. New York is only a large source of harm because their are so many people living their. But their urban lifestyles make their impact much less present. Since everything is so compact and close together, most things are within walking distance. This eliminates the need for cars, and people can take public transportation for longer trips. Cars are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in most of the country, but it is an insignificant issue in New York City. I also agree with the Owen's view of the countryside. Speaking from experience, things are so far away in the country. No one can walk to their jobs, stores, or anything but their car. People feel like they are more eco-friendly simply because they are surrounded by nature instead of a concrete jungle. But by placing themselves in nature, they are just doing more harm.

    As far as disagreement goes, I didn't really read anything that I disagreed with. Owen backs up his points with pretty solid facts and has a very convincing argument. I guess if I had to question something, I would wonder if all the pollution coming from one condensed area would do a lot of damage to the surrounding area, even though the individuals are fairly eco-friendly.

    Also, Rachel, I believe Owen was saying that individuals in the country cause more pollution than individuals in the city, not area versus area.

    - Benjamin Chambers

  6. David Owen sees the New York City as a representative role model of green metropolis due to its high density. I had thought that high density of NYC had created many anti-environmental problems without any doubt till I read this book. When I go to school and come home after school, I see the cramped roads with cars and it reconfirms me that driving a car in New York City is one of the things that I have to avoid. Busy and dense city like New York always reminds me of the stressful traffic–jammed roads, smog, carbon dioxide emission, and endlessly generated chemical wastes to deal with. However, according to what Owen said, high density of cities like New York rather less affects to ecological environment because its “tightly circumscribed space” and interdependence (-‘relationship’)provide the city’s remarkable efficiencies and make the city dwellers voluntarily accept public transit and walk reducing carbon footprint by diminishing dependence on automobiles. I didn’t realize that the life in the suburb considered as an eco-friendly living is just ostensible as living away from the city makes people end up consuming more gasoline and electricity to have accessibility and generating more wastes to run their country lives. It was amazing that urban density itself can have a positive effect on the environment creating the efficiency and living in the urban city like New York is a part of the contribution to make environment greener without any sacrifice.

    I agree with his idea that that the urban density can contribute to make the environment greener mainly by generating efficiencies and enabling the city residents to live without automobiles. As Owen said, NYC concentrated population makes the city lowest car to resident ratio in the US and this significantly plays an important role to reduce fossil fuels. For example, when I told some people who had lived in NYC that I was going to New York, “all of them” advised me not to drive a car in the city due to the limited parking places and congestion on the road. And now I’m using metro subway trains instead. I believe that there are many people out there in NYC just like me. He also suggested that we need to live closer to one’s daily destination to reduce vehicle miles traveled and increase the efficiency of energy production and consumption. Theoretically, this is right. However, as he mentioned, rising real estate values in New York City is considered economic impediment for people and prevent them from residing closer to the city even though they want to do so. The closer to NYC, the higher housing cost. Also living in the compact space like New York is considered efficient in a proximity and accessibility aspect. But for people who want to live in the spacious place enjoying leisure, I have a doubt if they want to live in the tightly arranged space. People’s right to live in the place where they want to live and enjoy their lives should also be considered as important as the efficiency for the environment.

    - Chris Shin

  7. David Owen brought up many interesting points throughout his article, "Green Metropolis". I never really thought that New Yorkers as a whole were "green". He brought up some interesting points, making the comparison between city and suburb life. People in New York for the most part, do not drive cars which directly cuts down on a large part of the pollution in the city. This article definitely expanded my knowledge of the environmental thoughts surrounding New York City. I agree with Emily. I had the same exact view of New York City, how could a "concrete jungle" possibly be environmentally friendly? I am glad that I got the opportunity to read this article and change my opinion of the city.
    I agree with pretty much everything that Owen stated in the article. It was a very different concept that i had not explored before this article.

    Kerry M

  8. It is hard to believe that the average New Yorker generates 7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases, let alone to think that that is 30% less than the national average. New York is just "green" in comparison. It was an interesting concept that Owen proposed regarding New York's success. He credits the "extreme compactness" of the city to its recent "green" state. I agree with Owen completely. Since everything you could possibly need is right at your figertips, or maybe just a short subway ride away, this leads to success. It is pure convenience having everything so close.

    continued, KM

  9. As i was reading this article, David Owen truly expanded my view of the city as well as the environment. Being a New Yorker myself, i vaguely knew about the environmental status of New York, but after reading this article it opened up my thoughts about the city today and how there is a deep relationship between NYC and its environment. The facts on how much electricity is used up in the city was intriguing as well as the electrical bill that is payed throughout the year. What was even more interesting was the fact that Cholera hit NYC in 1832 killing over 3,000 people! Information like these made me conclude how much of the city needs an environmental and community upgrade.

    One point that i agree with Owen on is that he explains that spreading people across the countryside may make them feel 'greener' but that doesnt reduce the damage they do to the environment. This point seems reasonable to me because if you sent people to the countryside, especially people who don't recycle, what makes them change their mind to recycle there? They would end up just damaging that area as well. One point that i question or challenge with is what Owen states about New yorkers being better environmental citizens than other Americans. Truthfully, in my own opinion, i disagree with this idea because New York City isn't quite the cleanest place sometimes especially compared to the country areas like Connecticut, or Delaware. I think they do a better job keeping the neighborhood squeaky clean.

    -- Grace Kang

  10. Through time, the human race has evolved creating new problems in our society. Today, we face one of the biggest issues we have yet to resolve- global warming. In the article"green metropolis" david owen approaches how New York City has exemplified an eco-friendly city. Even though it seams as if an urban jungle like new york would produce a great amount of pollution, the architectural structure of New York has become a model for what a "green" city truly is.

    As Owen begins to narrate his article, he commences to depict the difference between city and suburb life. Through this, he portrays the importance of having an extremely efficient method of public transportation such as the subway. As foreigner to this country, my first impression of the city was the utility of these subways. Here, everything one needs is accessible by either walking or using public transportation unlike in my country. As opposed to other cities, cars are the handicap to the individuals because of the high price of parking lots, the perpetual traffic jams, and the amount of vehicles in the city. Thus, through this, NYC has become a more eco friendly city. The access to these methods of transportations reduces the fossil fuels and thus help the environment.

    In our struggle to overcome the issue we face today, it is essential to have models such as this that Owen states - NYC. The proximity to our daily routines, the accessibility of the public transportation, and the ecological conscience people are begging to assume have created the essence of the "green" environment New york has become. And thus, as Owen's premise is exposed one comes in conscience with the contribution little changes create in our world.

    Dani Lloveras

  11. After reading David Owen’s ‘More like Manhattan’, I’ve realized Manhattan have a knowingly lower environmental impact than other rural areas. Before reading this article, I thought that New York is extremely destructing the nature, as there is many cars that drive on gasoline emit hazardous fumes. However it was different then what I was thinking. New York was one of eco-friendly city in America, especially when compare to suburban area. It says, “the average resident of New York sate uses gasoline than the average resident of any other state, and uses less than half as much as the average resident of Wyoming. Eighty-two percent of employed Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. That’s ten times the rate for Americans in general, and eight times the rate for workers in Los Angeles Country.”

    In my opinion, the most outstanding reason is because New Yorkers are more likely to live in dense cities and less likely to own cars. As New York is extremely dense, it is more accessible to pedestrians. What makes people more accessible in walking is densely packed buildings, which make people to walk and use public transportations. As it is difficult to restore nature to its former condition once it is laid waste, NYC is protecting nature in their way.


  12. The article opened my eyes to some surprising facts about New York. I had not really been one on the front of the 'Green War'. I mean I try and recycle, and I wouldn't mind having a compost, although it was rare to find one at my house. I, like many people Owen talks about, thought that by simply living in the suburbs of Connecticut I was being greener than any city-dweller. I mean I saw natural trees and streams! But to find out that actually those who live in the city are the greener folk, I was a little taken aback. After further reading, the more Owen explained his position I began to think to myself 'Wow, that actually makes sense'. Yes New York is notorious for being at the front of the sources for pollution and use of natural resources, however in terms of the amount of people living off of those resources, New York really is a green metropolis. Owen explains that people living in New York are close to everything, so (a) the need for a car is almost non-existent. This alone reduces the carbon footprint of any person. Living in Connecticut (as Owen also found) to go ANYWHERE a car is needed. I had my own car during my junior year of high school, however in the fall of my senior year it broke down. It was then I realized that without a car and living in the farm town of Bethany, you could do very little without means of transportation. There were not enough people to warrant public transportation, and so the long stretches of road were just a burden. I had to rely on a friend or a parent to help me get to where I was going, be it school or work etc. In New York I just walk everywhere. Even if it is forty or fifty blocks away, if I have the time, I will walk it. Owen also explains that when a person feels obligated to live in the country, in order to be more green, (or really whatever the reason), he destroys the country. Owen pointed out that a person who loved the woods would more than likely damage it more so than a person who did not care for the woods. If more people lived in cities, then more natural land would be left untouched. Another interesting point that Owen brought up was how cities got their bad reputation. In the beginning of the urbanization of New York, people did not have the advances we have today, and so the streets were filthy with trash, and disease was everywhere. This mentality of cities being the mecca of poor living, I believe, still is apparent today. When in high school I would often visit friends of mine in the city. When talking to friends back in CT about it, more often than not I would get the response that New York was dirty, littered, and a center for crime. I know and knew at the time that this was not true. Yes there are bad places, but it is like that everywhere. New York is actually rather clean, and is always being taken care of by the great staff and janitors of New York.

    One point I did not completely agree with is the fact that Owen seems to believe that people who live in the suburb destroy is. It read to me like if you live in a suburban or rural area you are doing more harm than good. While I can see the potential to waste more natural resources such as fossil fuels in suburban areas, I really do not believe that people living in those areas only destroy it. I think that there is a strong urge to maintain the natural areas where they are prevalent. There was a campaign, not too long ago, in the area I lived that stressed the importance of not littering, and how to take care of the land you lived in. Also, around where I lived there is a famous trail called the 'Blue Trail'. It is a beautiful path through the woods right behind my Mother's house that went through most of CT. There is a large committee committed to keeping it clean, and preserving the wildlife and plant life that surrounds it. So again, I think that while people in suburban areas may use more resources than those living in the cities, I think that they do not simply disregard the land they live on completely.

  13. The article was truly a eye-opening experience, that resulted in the total transform of the way I looked at cities and suburbs. Not only does he hits on how our perspective on big cities are wrong, and that actually green living is not green at all. It is not hard to agree with him since all the data he uses to support himself is so obvious when you think about it once. I liked most how he got into the details of a average person’s life, such as pointing out only 6% of SUVs are used off road, and that green buildings are merely a pseudo-green housing. I have learned so much from reading this article, not only did it change my perception and perspective on sustainability, but probably changed my future decisions in life also.

    I definitely agree that there is no such thing that could be truly sustainable. I think that sustainability is more of a spirit that an individual or group embraces in their heart and practices in their daily life. The biggest challenge, I agree with Owen, is the problem of transportation. Fuel efficiency will only create a new strain of problems that are not largely anticipated due to immediate benefits that it is creating. Transportation in any form will exist like housing, and it will always remain as a problem on some level, and that is why I think it is the most challenging problem that we have to solve.

    Section FF Nerd - Jaeseong Yi

  14. In the concluding statements of Green Metropolis, author David Owen plainly states that “many of the benefits of urban density are counterintuitive.” It is counterintuitive to common perception of New York to consider that one of the most polluted sections of urban life on this planet is paradoxically also the one of the most eco-friendly. The distinction highlighted by Owen is that relativity it important when considering cities and their environmental impact. While New York “generates more greenhouse gases, uses more energy, and produces more solid waste than any other American region of comparable size”, Owen also presents the idea that New York, when considered on a per capita scale, is actually a beacon of eco-responsibility. It was fascinating to discover that “New Yorkers, individually, drive, pollute, consume, and throw away much less than do the average residents of the surrounding suburbs, exurbs, small towns and farms.” This is an innate trait of an urban system where residential and commercial enterprises coexist in a compact urban setting, a setting where bicycling, public transit, and walking are the primary means of environmentally unobtrusive transit.

    I was very pleased to read the arguments he presented, and I cannot pretend that I had much to disagree with. I really enjoyed the metaphor wherein Owen compares the idea of public campaigns encouraging New Yorkers to consume even less of the resources they already do (at an already dramatically lower rate than the rest of the nation) was like “trying to fight obesity by putting skinny people on diets.” I have a lot of respect for Owen’s idea that New York as a city “proves that tremendous environmental gains can be achieved by arranging infrastructure in ways that make beneficial outcomes inescapable and that don’t depend on radically reforming human nature or implementing technologies that are currently beyond our capacities or willingness to pay.” I think there are a lot of extremely sound points in Owen’s piece, and I definitely was forced to reconsider my perception of the ecological impacts and implications of densely populated urban life and how intelligently designed systems can create “unconscious” and positive environmental implications, given the systems are structured consciously and correctly.

    ~Erica Derricka

  15. David Owen's writing "Green Metropolis" expanded my horizon greatly and made me more aware of how efficent and helpful New York City is. Many people think of Manhattan as a polluted germ fill place. Owen goes on to descibe how that perspective is totally wrong and how people should open their eyes in seeing how many natural resources America saves by having a dense populated society like New York City. Reading this article truly expanded how I feel about New York and has driven me to cherish and respect it much more.
    I think he makes an interesting point, that many people in the United States seem to over look when they think of New York. This point is that New York is eco-friendly in its own way. It may not have an immense amount of trees and greenary, but it sure does save a lot more than the suburbs can say. I think it is interesting how he brings up the point that people in Manhattan use walking as a means of transportation far more than anywhere else is America. Also, I found it interesting how New Yorkers rank first in public transit (use of subways and buses) than in an other place in the US. New York consumes the smallest amount of gasoline in which people haven't seen since the !920's which was when the first car was invented! Owen stated very interesting facts that supported the statement that New York is an enviormentally friendly place. On the other hand, there are some aspects he touched on which I do not particularly agree with. For instance, he believes that more and more places should start becoming like New York City. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love New York and believe it is a great place, but I think that there should be countrysides and suburbs with a large amound of greenery. I believe that it all balances each other out. As for everything else, all of the points Owen made were very interesting well thought out. I think Owen helped people to realize the important of New York and how much it helps the enviornment and reserves resources.

    Brittany Faruol

  16. Even after eighteen years of a Manhattan upbringing under my belt, I thought I would have known better than to believe all the stereotypical assumptions about New York pollution and waste. Sadly, it was not until I read David Owen's article and realized the level of effort that us New Yorkers unconsciously contribute towards the environmentally-conscious movement. Although New Yorkers are so used to the convenience of public transportation, it is hard to grasp the true concept of commuting. On account of our city's small size, large population, and sometimes bitter representation, no one would ever
    bother to think there could be a positive spin on congestion in an urban area.

    As years pass i have realized that even in our concrete jungle, the minimal effort each individual makes, contributes to the promotion of a "greener" environment. So, through the article, David Owen emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of our resources such as the public transportation and explains how through proper use of our resources we can continue to make a difference in our environment and keep promoting the model of what a "green city " ought to be.

    Phoebie Miller

  17. To be honest, the ideas posited in David Owen's book were not entirely new to me. While I wasn't aware of the finite differences between city and suburban living in relation to the environment, I was aware that living in the city at least made greener living easier. I knew that city life meant more walking, less driving, and far more convenient access to daily locations. Still, David Owen added to my prior awareness by allowing me to look at supposedly "sustainable" things in a new light. For example, Owen states that "trees are ecologically important...because their presence along sidewalks makes city dwellers more cheerful about dwelling in cities." This almost "socio-economic" view of looking at urban life is something I find very intriguing, as it is a counter-intuitive view that allows me to look at situations from new standpoints. Owen continues with this dynamic viewpoint at the end of the article, where he details the myth of "sustainability." He states, for example, that "hybrids are not sustainable, because they require petroleum and the world's supply of petroleum is finite." In this way, he instantly debunks "sustainability," and enables us to realize that "sustainable" goals are not necessarily worth our time. We should instead look at the situation differently, by examining the concrete effects of our actions. Owen expanded my view by showing me that even greener living can be successfully achieved if we simply approach the problem sensibly, looking at the consequences that we already know will come to pass.

    -Abigail M (part 1)

  18. Overall, I greatly agree with Owen's ideas. I've lived in a few different urban and suburban areas, and I know from personal experience that closer density to destinations allows fo a greener life. As I was reading the excerpt, I was constantly reminded of the time when I lived in the suburbs of the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. Now, these suburbs were very different from many suburban areas in the States-- in fact, where I lived, everything was actually close. About a ten minute's walk away there was a small strip mall complete with a grocery store. Across the road from my house was the school. Car rides were only necessary if we wanted to go out to the city for leisure. The closer suburbs of Auckland city in New Zealand also allow the same movability-- my aunt has lived in Remuera for years, and has only recently purchased a car. Having experienced these locations, I came to Maryland and was greatly disheartened at the need to drive anywhere to go do anything remotely entertaining. Still, I find Owen's idea of compacting every person together in closer density slightly disconcerting. Indeed, the open air of a wide lawn is something I find myself missing, despite the convenience of the city. I do not think it fair to stack people on top of each other for the goal of a greener planet-- it totally disregards other concerns we may have.

    Honestly, I would like to see some sort of compromise between the two-- between suburbia and city life. Indeed, it looks like the Gold Coast in Australia has a good balance-- the grocery store is a little farther away, but not so far as to encourage a car trip. And perhaps New York could fill its unused places-- rooftops, for exmaple-- as locations for more natural scenery.

    -Abigail M (part 2)

  19. David Owen extremely expanded my knowledge related to New York City and the environment. He wrote all different aspects includes different examples which are New Yorkers, individually, drive, pollute, consume, and throw away mush less than do the average residents of the surrounding suburbs, exurbs, small towns, and farms. (P.7) Apparently many New Yorkers walk and take public transportation to go somewhere. Eighty-two percent of employed Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. (p.2) However talking about countryside, I totally agree with David Owen’s opinion about the countryside. I used to live in Lancaster Pennsylvania and I have to drive to everywhere. Car is the most important thing if you live in the countryside in other word, you can’t go anywhere without car. New Yorkers live together and closer in concrete jungle called New York City. Anyplace that has such tall buildings and heavy traffic is obviously an environmental disaster-except that it isn’t. (p.3)
    There is no reason why I don’t agree with David Owen’s article since I learned a lot from his article. I’m surprised that Manhattan actually has the lowest car-to-resident ration of anyplace in America because I still see lots of cars on the street and following that there’s traffic jam everyday. The Key to New York’s relative environmental benignity is its extreme compactness. (p.3) It is interesting point that Owen thinks compactness is environmental benignity. I usually thought it is bad point about cities same as Seoul, Korea and Tokyo, Japan. However there is one point that I don’t agree with Owen. He mentioned that New York is the greenest community in the United States and I am not sure about the statement. Everyday when I walk to school, I see and smell something on the street. If New York is truly the greenest community in the US then people in NYC should make it cleaner and make themselves as a part of green community.

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  21. While reading "Green Metropolis" there were many areas where I found myself nodding. Living outside of New York, a place with no subways and very few buses, my only way of transportation was by car. When my parents were at work my brother, grandparents, and I were constantly stuck in the house moping around. Once people turned to an age where they were able to drive or work, it meant they needed a car like David Owen's family. However, I never thought of all these things as a part of helping or destroying the environment.
    I guess I agree with everything since its all basically true. New York is filled with tall buildings because it is a small state. By building houses, apartments, stores etc on top of eachother they are working with the little land they have. New York knows how to save!!! One thing I want to question is, was it neccessary to write 46 pages on this topic? They could have covered the same points in like 4-6 pages!

    - Michelle Chang

  22. David Owen expanded my view of the relationship between NYC and the environment by making me consider the city’s environmental impact in a broader sense. Like most people, I always thought of New York as being bad for the environment, because it just looks so artificial and grim. I have also gone all my life hearing about the pollution from the cars, and learning about the ecosystems it destroyed, as well as the waste it produces. Reading this article was the first time I ever really thought about the fact that most New Yorkers don’t own cars, or have yards that need watering and fertilizing, so in that sense, the article was very eye-opening.
    I have actually lived in the Connecticut suburbs, in a town very much like the one Owen describes in the article, so I can say from first-hand experience that the points he makes on that subject are very true. The house I lived in was over 200 years old, and not very well insulated, so we were always wasting heat (usually through those oh so pretty, but very inefficient antique glass windows). Town zoning laws also prohibited stores from opening locations in our town (we only had a gas station, a post office, a pharmacy, and an extremely expensive grocery store) so any time anyone wanted to do pretty much anything, it was guaranteed there was at least a 30 minute drive involved. The low population also ruled out public transportation. And on the rare occasion that someone wanted to walk somewhere instead of driving, they were usually thwarted by the fact that our town has no sidewalks. Let me tell you, it’s pretty annoying trying to walk somewhere when every five minutes you have to run off the side of the road to avoid being hit by a car. Because of these facts, most families have two cars, and usually three or more if they have children with driver’s licenses. A point I disagree on is the one about how must urban New York trees are simply there for decorative purposes. I know that a lot of trees were planted for the purpose of offsetting the effects of carbon emissions.
    -Nicole Oliveri

  23. After reading David Owen's Green Metropolis I was amazed by the interesting facts I learned about new york city. When I picture new york city, the gray color from the cement buildings creating a cold industrialized city with dirty streets comes up to my mind. But it was very surprising to read about facts that was contradicting from the images of new york that I had. For example, new york city "actually has the lowest car-to-resident ratio of anyplace in America", and ranks last in per-capita gasoline consumption among the fifty states. Most of the facts and statistical information he compared with new york city to other states of U.S were very unexpected and shocking to me. However, the results of the statistical figures were pretty reasonable once I give it a thought about it. Such as, for the figures for the cars and gasolines- it was understandable when I thought about how majority of people in new york use public transport or walk to places due to the busy traffic, inconvenience of parking and the expensive cost of keeping a car in new york city.

    I strongly agreed with Owen when he talked about how if human activities gets concentrated in one limited area, it "reduces the human footprint", which means “less disruption of nature”. I remember once, I was thinking about solutions of the pollution over the world, I thought of limiting certain confined small areas to squeeze in the population, and purifying other parts of the world. Although the idea that I came up with was unrealistic, the main stream was similar to what Owen thought. However, I thought if there were suggestions how to effectively cut down all the pollution and waste rather than just showing and telling the facts and the comparison of energy consumption, it would have been more informative and provoking to others.

    Ji Whan Lee

  24. David Owen truly expanded reader’s view of the relationship between New York City and the environment. This article clearly stated how New York City stands as one of the role models of green metropolis. I was really amazed by his great amount of research involved in his article, it changes image of New York. I didn’t realize the average resident of New York State uses less gasoline than the average resident of any other state. He also states Eighty-two percent of employed Manhattan residents travel to work by public transit, by bicycle, or on foot. New Yorker chooses public transit because they don’t have a better option. One of the reasons is having own parking space takes a lot of money. I learned so much from reading this article. Unlike other states in American, New York is accessible to everything by either walking or using public transportation. I liked Owen pointed out that when people live close together they become less dependent of automobiles. As I read through this article, I liked the concept of buying hybrid car. It lower the cost of driving for the person who owns the car also it is greener than just gasoline cars.

    Sukki Son

  25. David Owen's article, Green Metropolis, changed my entire perspective of the relationship between NYC and environment.He began his article by describing his personal life in NYC. Then, he provided us with the facts I never knew. For examples, he states that New Yorkers are practically prehistoric of burning of fossil fuels and the average resident of NY state uses less gasoline than the average resident of any other state. I never would have thought that New York is the greenest community in the United States.

    I agree with David Owen's idea of urban density can make the environment greener. Since New York City public transportation like subway and bus are easily accessible, New Yorkers don't depend on cars as much as other states in United States. However, I disagree with him when he says that it is unnecessary for these houses to be built so far away from the city. Some people don’t prefer where it is very chaotic and busy.

    Yoori Chang

  26. David Owen's writing Green Metropolis put a new light on how efficient new york city is. Even though there is alot of pollution in new york city the dense populated city produces less pollution than a more rural area like Connecticut. It gave me a new perspective I've always thought new york city was a gross over polluter but Owen gave me reasons to believe its not as bad as what I thought. New york city doesn't have alot of greenery like more rural areas but we make up in ways we save energy by living in a densely populated area. Things such as heat isn't wasted because of how close we live to each other that the excess will go to our neighbors unlike the more suburban type area where things are more spread out so whatever is wasted gets released to the environment. We also save alot in fuel because a majority of people will commute by bus or train while others in suburban areas will commute by car. Our usage of public transportation lets us use less fuel per person versus someone who commutes long distances by themselves in a single car.
    Although New york city is such a great place I would disagree with Owen when he says there should be more densely populated areas like new york city. It makes sense to make areas like nyc but I feel that there is no need for more New york cities in the world. We should just try to be more efficient in the ways we use energy.

    Daniel Kim

  27. After reading this article i had an entire different view of new york city and how it relates to the enviornment. I thought of new york as he described typical people would a dirty city with pollution and probably not a place you would say was not hurting the enviornment. But in the first few pages David Owen opened my eyes to a new point of view. His story of how he lived in the city then his move to out of town and the costs was amazing. Also his statistics were shocking for example he states that 82% of people in new york either take public transport,bike or go on foot. I would have never guessed but its true so he really did expand my view and knowledge about New York city and how it relates to the enviornment.

    I agree with David's point that the more coompact we are and the less living space we have the less we accumulate. Even if you do have the money to buy tons of things, sometimes it wont all fit into your tiny apartment sop you dont end up getting bigger items. In comparison to living in a suburb outside of the city you have space to fill up your house with anything you want.However i disagree that everywhere should be more like New York city, because even though being more compact may help could you imagine if places like new jersey were all like new york. I think people enjoy living in the suburbs because you can get away from all the hustle and bustle of city life.

    -Kamela Wade

  28. David Owen, in Green Metropolis, has expanded my view of the relationship between
    NYC and the environment with several unique facts. “Live Smaller” refers to the fact that the average size of families has shrunk in NYC, “Live Closer” – refers to the fact that people live closer to where they work, or study, and “Drive Less” refers to the use of public transportation. These are facts that I already knew but I did not imagine
    that these are actually good for the environment. Since NYC looks dirty and crowded to me, I was surprised to read that Manhattan is an eco-friendly city.

    I somewhat disagree with the author that other places should make Manhattan a model. One of the biggest reasons is that I do not want to see people crowded in one area as in Manhattan. Although people might be living an eco-friendly life, I do not think this is one of the most comfortable places to live. I know many people have moved out of Manhattan because of its congestion. I find it difficult to stand the garbage on the streets or the stinky smell from the underground. On the other hand, Tokyo is almost never stinky. It is a crowded area, but people are more wide spread in the wider area. Still,
    public transportation is highly developed and people do not use too many cars. Also I find Amsterdam to be eco-friendly too. Half of the population in Holland uses a
    bicycle at least once a day. They use bicycles as their transportation and I think it is a wonderful tool. It is good for exercise and you do not pay for gas. Also they have trams which they can take. I found almost no garbage in the street and I felt so comfortable when I visited there. So I am not sure if Manhattan is the best idealistic example for the rest of the world.

    -Kodo Nishimura

  29. David Owen's contradictory ideas had deeply risen my horizon of my view of the relationship between NYC and the environment.
    Firstly, I really didn't think of the big city Manhattan could be or potentially is more environmental friendly that rural area before. I totally agree what David thought about living closer and smaller can reduce the pollution by transportation and the energy consume per household. If that is the case,I think NYC could be very environmental to live.

    But think about it other way, even though we don't live in a big house, as Manhattan is the heart of NYC, it runs day and night non-stop, such as night clubs and bars, they consume high energy, which is hard to reduce.

    Also, will people life style is hard to change too. How can a city person live so inefficiently by riding bicycle everyday to work?

    Moreover, if a place is too crowed, it will create another problems such as bad living standard,jobs problems, noise pollution etc.

    Cherry L

  30. David Owen's 'Green Metropolis' was not really a shock but rather a very understanding idea about relationship between ecology and the urban area. I agreed upon most of the author's ideas since I myself have had similar experience to Owen's when I was living in Pennsylvania in 2005. Where I lived was an extremely rural area where you had poor Internet connection and where you had to drive almost ten to twenty minutes if you wanted to grocery shop(I remember how my host sister and I would have to drive four hours to get dresses for our school dance parties). I have been living in Seoul for the rest of my life and one major difference between living in rural area than living in city was the importance of owning a car. In Seoul and now in New York, I have been taking subways or walking to places. I have seen most Seoul-ers and New Yorkers doing it too. Where in Pennsylvania, every thing was spaced out, car was like your feet. Without your car, you basically could reach nowhere. People in that area did complain a lot about their waste on gas money and how driving takes up so much of there spare time. So, no public transportation is not only doing harm to the ecology, but also wasting people's money and time. From the experience, I see cars as one of the huge destroyers of the ecology, so I strongly support the fact that the compactness of the New York City makes it greener.
    One thing that I thought differently to Owens was that though the New Yorkers are already living Eco-friendly, we still should try to be more friendlier. I think “trying to fight obesity by putting skinny people on diets.” was too negative of a comment about the campaigns. New Yorkers should not feel so guilty but should still try to be greener.

    +) It was interesting to know that the trees in the cities were more for psychological reasons then ecological reasons.

    YoungJi Cho

  31. In chapter one of David Owen's Green Metropolis, he opened my mind up to the fact that New York is not just a gigantic energy 'consumption junction' as may seem evident at first. It never occurred to me that the living conditions that come with being in Manhattan are positively influencing the green movement that is attempting to create a society that damages our planet to the least degree possible. Owen bluntly points out the irony in this, and then supports his claim with very obvious reasons that I have overlooked: New Yorkers use up a much smaller living space which causes for less large appliances and electricity in general, as well as walk everywhere to eliminate the huge pollution factor of automobiles. He then mentions some not-so-obvious reasons of why New York is much more efficient than other American cities, including the fact that compact living conditions encourage people to have smaller families.

    I definitely agree with Owen when he argues that Manhattan is a very energy-efficient city, and that compact cities should be more frequent in order to greatly reduce land and energy consumption in the future. However, I feel that the type of lifestyle that comes with compacting one's life can be approached in a smaller scale, eliminating such a need to severely sacrifice the natural environment of an area for a large city. Perhaps small towns can invest in bicycle transportation, or something not as big a Manhattan.

    Andrew McCausland

    Sorry for being late!