Thursday, June 5, 2008

LW! Urban Forests Environmental Project UPDATE

If you didn't get a chance to Tune in to The Brian Lehrer Show on May 21 to learn about LW's environmental project: “Urban Forests in the Midst: In your Backyard,” you can download the conversation at:

Scroll down to "backyard trees" and click on the arrow!

LW's Evan Mason and Bill Solecki from CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities talked with Brian Lehrer and fielded listener questions about the acres of open spaces located behind rowhouses throughout the City—in neighborhoods as diverse as the Upper West Side, Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cobble Hill, and many more, in all five boroughs!

We are conducting a Pilot Project to:

Investigate the environmental benefits of these open spaces;

Instill awareness about the benefits of backyard open spaces, such as the capacity to reduce air pollution, alleviate strain on the the City’s water treatment system, and the temperature reduction capabilities of these combined backyards;

Inspire public policy officials and residents alike to recognize the environmental contributions conveyed by even small spaces to the urban air we breathe;

Incentivize landlords and tenants to maximize the environmental benefits of these backyards!

Stay tuned for future emails to update you about the progress of the study and shed light on what you can do to clean the air, reduce the burden on the City's aging water treatment infrastructure and enhance your enjoyment of even small open spaces—be they front, back or side yards!

Did you know that there are 108 acres of open spaces hidden behind rowhouses on the Upper West Side alone? That is 13% the size of Central Park! These backyard open spaces convey a range of environmental benefits to the entire City—and yet these benefits are overlooked by the architects of public policy for NYC, environmentalists, building owners and tenants alike.

To learn more about the project, check out this recently published Gotham Gazette article at

"Urban Forests" Team:
This research study is a creative community-university partnership that brings together Landmark West!, a non-profit community-based organization committed to preserving the architectural heritage of Manhattan's Upper West Side with The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in order to develop evidence-based policies and best practices with regard to environmentally sound management of privately owned open spaces.

To donate to this project, click here. Help us meet our goal of $200,00 for this project!

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