Durabilité des mégapoles

NEW YORK – Pour la plupart des gens, les grosses villes densément peuplées sont des cauchemars écologiques, avec leurs zones de béton, leurs déchets, leurs gaz d’échappement diesel et leurs embouteillages, mais par rapport à d’autres espaces habités, ce sont des modèles d’éco-responsabilité. Aux termes des normes environnementales les plus importantes, New York est la communauté la plus verte qui soit aux Etats-Unis, la seule des villes américaines qui ne soit pas loin de satisfaire aux normes fixées partout ailleurs.

Un New-Yorkais émet en moyenne 7,1 tonnes de gaz à effet de serre par an. Il dépasse les 5,6 tonnes émises par un Suédois, mais n’atteint pas 30% de la moyenne américaine, qui est de 24,5 tonnes. A Manhattan, la circonscription la plus peuplée des cinq circonscriptions de la ville, les résidents en rejettent moins encore.

C’est dans son extrême densité que New York puise sa relative propension à l’écologie. Avec environ 25 869 habitants au kilomètre carré, Manhattan est plus de 800 fois plus peuplée que l’ensemble des Etats-Unis et près de 30 fois plus que Los Angeles. Cette densité a non seulement pour effet de réduire les distances des trajets quotidiens et les occasions de consommation irresponsable, mais de forcer la majorité des gens à vivre dans l’un des types d’habitation les plus intrinsèquement économes en énergie: l’immeuble.

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