What is "Sustainability"?

Many voices and cultures express their definition for the concept of putting back what you take from the earth. Below is the consensus definition for sustainability, as well as a definition expressed by a Columbia University professor:

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

- The Brundtland Commission (1987)


“The question of sustainability is basically a determination of who will win the race between depletion and innovation.”

- Travis Bradford (2012)


Sustainability, in the practical definition of reducing costs and optimizing assets, gets right to the fulcrum of how to balance growth with innovation to overcome the consequences of compromises made long ago on the path to modern development.

To understand this level of impact upon the largest city in America, I managed a benchmarking analysis for the New York City Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability (OLTPS). Our objective was to study the sustainability agendas and political institutions of 30 domestic and 6 international cities in order to produce a set of recommendations for New York City's future sustainability plans. 

Criteria:

+ Size

+ Geography

+ Innovation

+ Relevance to NYC

Key findings of the report are:

+ Comprehensive sustainability planning is accelerating

+ New York City is a model for sustainability

+ Energy efficiency is a high priority

+ Climate resiliency is still in early planning stages

+ Political priorities shift, but sustainability remains

+ Innovation is taking root everywhere

 

Read the full report below [full page/spread navigation controls appear above the lightbox]: