ULTRA-Ex: Exploring Linkages among Ecosystem Services, Public Health, and the Green Area Factor in New York City
The project is working to develop social indicators on urban green spaces, examining urban-exurban carbon dioxide and micro-climate gradients, working on green urban design, and working to quantify ecosystem services related to green roofs in East Harlem. Investigators will monitor and quantify the ecological and public health benefits of natural ecosystems and evolving green technology interventions in three New York City neighborhoods; bolster the acceptance and value of such systems and interventions to stakeholders; and develop a common planning platform for stakeholders interested in optimizing the ecological and public benefits associated with different urban greening strategies.
The community of East Harlem was chosen as the pilot research site to monitor and evaluate the development and impact of green area for social/recreational space and for food production. The research to date has found a variety of development strategies that quantify publically accessible green areas. The project’s application of the Green Area Factor calculation can be modeled to highlight various “softscape” surfaces within the neighborhood realm to plan effective greening efforts.
OUTCOMES: Demonstrated a difference of 10-14 ppm in CO2 concentrations between NYC and a forest to the north, used GIS to determine that East Harlem is a particular place of concern in NYC, worked with PlaNYC 2030 on expanding access to parks, and worked to bridge the gap between community-driven spatial organization and municipal urban design. The project has also resulted in numerous out reach activities, two journal publications, and a published thesis.