Ciudades sostenibles

NUEVA YORK – A la mayoría de las personas, las ciudades grandes y densamente pobladas les parecen pesadillas ecológicas, terrenos baldíos de cemento, basura, humos de diésel y embotellamientos de tráfico, pero, en comparación con otros lugares habitados, las ciudades son modelos de responsabilidad medioambiental. Conforme a los criterios más importantes, la comunidad más verde de los Estados Unidos es la Ciudad de Nueva York, la única ciudad americana que se acerca a las normas medioambientales establecidas en otros lugares del mundo.

El neoyorquino medio produce 7,1 toneladas métricas anuales de gases que producen el efecto de invernadero: más que el sueco medio, que produce 5,6 toneladas métricas, pero menos que el término medio de los Estados Unidos, que asciende a 24,5 toneladas métricas. Los residentes de Manhattan, el más densamente poblado de los cinco distritos de la ciudad, producen menos aún.

La clave para la relativa benignidad medioambiental de Nueva York es la de que se trata de una ciudad extraordinariamente compacta. La densidad de Manhattan es de 67.000 personas, aproximadamente, por milla cuadrada, es decir, más de 800 veces la de los EE.UU. en conjunto y unas treinta veces la de Los Ángeles. Al encontrarse los habitantes más cerca unos de otros, se reducen las distancias entre sus destinos diarios y se limitan sus oportunidades de consumo descuidado, además de que la mayoría se ve obligada a vivir en algunas de las estructuras residenciales  más inherentemente eficientes en materia de energía del mundo: los edificios de pisos.

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