CISC Research Featured in Newsweek

If you pick up the current copy of Newsweek, check out the Back Story (on the back page) and read about a project of the Institute for Sustainable Cities and Evan Mason of Sustainable Yards.  Lesley Patrick, Program Manger at the Institute and researchers–Jennifer Cox, Kristen Grady, and Kate Ervin, worked with Evan on this project to map out the private, non-public green spaces of Manhattan and conduct an analysis of their potential ecosystem services. The findings are a welcome and fascinating surprise; an expose of something hidden in plain sight. An entire fifth of Manhattan’s landmass is yard space, excluding parks and cemeteries.

So, why does this matter? Well, if you have walked anywhere in the aftermath of tornado-town or our recent onslaught of storms, you notice a whole lot of water in the streets. That water, which makes up a large percentage of the 27 billion gallons of water that ends up in NYC’s sewage pipes and overwhelms our combined sewage overflow management system, which means that raw sewage ends up in our water ways. (Warning, the video linked here is pretty gross). There is of course more to it than this, but that is the basic idea. On a related note, see yesterday’s post about green infrastructure and the Newtown Creek Water Treatment facility–all of this is connected.

For additional coverage of the story, visit the PLoS blog. Want more info on the study? You can email me at


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