Case Studies in Urban Sustainability: Los Angeles and New York City

Date of Creation

Summer 2019



The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sustainability as the notion to “create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations” (US EPA, “Learn About Sustainability.”). It is no secret that the United States tends to fall behind when it comes to sustainability, let alone urban sustainability. When there is talk of environmentally sustainable cities, smaller cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Cape Town are usually the topic of conversation. It is time we take a closer look at larger cities, with arguably the largest environmental problems, and see what we can improve upon. If we can identify the greatest urban environmental challenges in our most highly populated cities, then we can more easily start to understand what solutions might work best at solving our problems.

This project looks at Los Angeles and New York City, the two most highly populated cities in the United States. In the analysis of each city, key environmental issues, current sustainable design features, and the plans in place to become more sustainable are identified. From here we can measure our progress, and determine if we are being progressive enough in light of climate change threats. Research in this area can help us figure out the most effective ways to design and change our cities moving forward.


sustainability, environmental studies, United States


This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Bucknell University's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Document Type

Digital Project