Archive for the ‘infrastructure’ Category

Paul serves as the Executive Director of the Gaia Institute and leads the staff in pursuing the Institute’s mission of exploring through research, development, design and education the interrelationship between human communities and natural systems.  They are located on City Island, Bronx!  BX Pride!


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The famous Deer Island "eggs" in Boston. These state-of-the-art digesters harvest methane gas to power the wastewater treatment plant. Photo courtesy of Dann Blackwood via USGS.

Wastewater treatment – what’s not to love?  It’s an elegant formula of chemistry, biology, and human ingenuity that transforms waste into a resource.  Whether it’s stormwater, open roof tops, or abandoned piers, we frequently encounter the waste-to-resource paradigm as we study urban ecology.  Wastewater treatment provides clean, freshwater inputs to waterways, alternate daily cover for landfills, and (dare I say it?) fertilizer pellets.  Yet there is still more that we can extract.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, New York City will soon join other cities in taking its utilization of wastewater one step further.  The New York Times reports that the City’s Department of Environmental Protection wants to harvest 100% of the methane produced in the treatment plant digesters to be used a clean, renewable energy source for heat and electricity.  The City is also looking for opportunities capitalize on the footprint of these plants by installing solar and wind energy projects.  Read more about the proposal here.

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View of Manhattan from the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Photo credit: Jason Aloisio

What factors will play a role in improving the urban landscape?  According to Sarah Goodyear of Grist, several of our urban ecology topics have made the list.  Check out G (for green roofs), P (for pavement demolition), U (for urban agriculture), and the rest of the ABCs in The Urban Landscape from A to Z on Grist.org.

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