Here is a stellar excerpt from the New Yorker article called Green Manhattan:

Most Americans, including most New Yorkers, think of New York City as an ecological nightmare, a wasteland of concrete and garbage and diesel fumes and traffic jams, but in comparison with the rest of America it’s a model of environmental responsibility. By the most significant measures, New York is the greenest community in the United States, and one of the greenest cities in the world. The most devastating damage humans have done to the environment has arisen from the heedless burning of fossil fuels, a category in which New Yorkers are practically prehistoric. The average Manhattanite consumes gasoline at a rate that the country as a whole hasn’t matched since the mid-nineteen-twenties, when the most widely owned car in the United States was the Ford Model T. Eighty-two per cent of 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 residents of Los Angeles County. New York City is more populous than all but eleven states; if it were granted statehood, it would rank fifty-first in per-capita energy use.

While I think it is important to realize that most people (myself included) do not desire to live in New York City, it is also important to realize what density can do for you. Manhattan is a prime example on what density can accomplish in and of itself. Imagine its potential when combined with other sustainable principles in an aesthetically pleasing and community oriented manner; steps Manhattan is surely taking, but not on the mark yet. What’s more is that one need not live in a metropolis to enjoy the pleasure of density (but perhaps not the curse of over crowding.) More of this to come. Promise.

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