1. NextGen NYCHA (New York Public Housing Authority)

NextGen NYCHA is the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) plan to revitalize aging infrastructure throughout the city’s public housing developments through environmental-focused sustainability initiatives. At the top of the Authority’s sustainability plan was the installation of over 2.5 million square feet of solar panels across public housing complexes throughout the city, generating enough energy to power 6,600 of the city’s 178,000 units (also making the NYCHA the city’s “largest landlord” according to Curbed).

The first of these panels were installed in 2017 and though this amount only accounts for a little less than 4% of the city’s total public units, the steps being taken will significantly reduce existing carbon emissions created by traditional means of energy including fossil fuels by as much as 30% over the next decade.

This reduction also has the potential to significantly improve access to clean air for residents, as 43% of public housing developments are located in areas that see the most hospitalizations for asthma-related illnesses and emergencies.

In addition to solar paneling, under the NextGen NYCHA the Authority is also making strides to improve access to urban farming, the use of energy resources, and overall the quality of living throughout New York City’s public housing through a four goal system to “transform[ing] aging buildings and infrastructure into sustainable, healthy communities” for the twenty-first century.

With these and other solar power installations taking New York City by storm, it is likely that New York will continue to lead in the clean energy revolution.

Next, check out a map of New York’s potential solar powered rooftops as well as ten of the most exciting sustainability projects currently unfolding in New York City. Rachel Bruce is a senior Growth and Structure of Cities Major at Bryn Mawr College and a first-year Master of City and Regional Planning Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. Get in touch with Rachel at @rachelabruce on Twitter and Instagram.