New York has a long history of leadership in finance, media, and fashion. But green? Why not Masdar, or one of the new built-from-the-ground-up green utopias, asked session moderator Andrew Shapiro, co-founder of GreenOrder.
The city's strength is partly its age, size and complexity. "The reality is that the majority of cities aren't green field opportunities," said panelist David Bartlett, IBM's vice-president of industry solutions during the session. "Old infrastructures are where the opportunity for innovation lies. I think that makes New York the best candidate," he added.
The city's aged infrastructure is more opportunity than obstacle, and it's better for a city like New York to have an aged subway, in need of repair, than to have to build a new system from scratch, at nearly insurmountable costs. New York has a track record of committing to billion-dollar scale green infrastructure, from the 3rd Water Tunnel, to the 2nd Ave Subway line. "
In New York, the political leadership starts with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has led a sweeping effort to ready the city for the stresses of climate change and an additional million residents expected by 2030. The resulting blueprint, PlaNYC (pronounced plan-why-see) points the way to increased building efficiency, higher levels of renewable energy, less waste, cleaner air and water.
The technology tools that will make possible this smarter, more efficient future are entering service today. There's automation device by device, or system by system, but no one is watching the sum of the systems, and doing so can deliver savings of 40 percent or more.
The city's competitive edge also includes its "brain base". And New York is deepening its considerable R&D resources. Uptown, Columbia University is building a new satellite campus in northern Manhattan, which will be home to a brain and behavior research science center, along with additional capacity for engineering, business and continuing education.
In many ways, cities offer more fertile ground for VERGE technologies to flourish than national or regional efforts. The best minds in the world want to be here, and even if they don't want to live here, It's never hard to have a meeting here.