Released in 2007, and updated in 2011, PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s sustainability plan, was an unprecedented effort led by Mayor Bloomberg to prepare the city for one million more residents over the next two decades, strengthen the city’s economy, combat climate change, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Much of PlaNYC’s success can be attributed to the strong commitment and support of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Over the past five years, the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and city agencies have focused their attention on meeting PlaNYC’s numerous initiatives and targets, and they have produced detailed assessments of outcomes in annual progress reports, greenhouse gas inventories, and other documents. With the Bloomberg administration coming to a close at the end of this year, it is likely that the city’s sustainability policy will undergo change, and new directions will be charted. While New York City was implementing PlaNYC, cities across the country have adopted their own plans and methods of incorporating sustainability into urban policy and business. Taking stock of what other cities are doing, developing an inventory of this activity, and analyzing the various approaches to planning, governance, budgeting and performance management will provide insight on the state-of-the-art in urban sustainability policy and help to inform future discussions in New York City.

For this project, students will conduct an urban sustainability benchmarking analysis, paying particular attention to these issues and discussing new approaches that could be considered in New York City. Students will pay attention to how sustainability or related agendas have fared during political transitions in other cities and how stakeholder groups have contributed during transitional phases.