Mitchell Joachim says in building a sustainable city, location is everything

Columbia University urban designer Mitchell Joachim talks about designing an environmentally friendly city from scratch. “Location is everything,” he says.

If you could invent a new, environmentally friendly city from scratch, where would you start?

Architect and urban planner Mitchell Joachim told EarthSky that – in making cities sustainable – location is everything.

Mitchell Joachim: It’s a little too nebulous to say that, ‘here’s a ton of money – please give me a city from scratch.’ A lot of it is based on where it is. For instance, on the moon or Mars. There you would develop a totally, radically different city than in the center of Colorado. And if we were to develop a city from scratch, what would that look like. So location would be first.

Second, you’d have to think about energy.

Mitchell Joachim: Energy would definitely be a big issue and how most of that energy could be sourced and be absolutely renewable. So we’d start with wind or harvesting rivers or solar situation we could make this whole city completely independent of coal power or nuclear and run it on renewables.

Joachim said that there are many cities that stand as examples of ecologically sound urban development. For example, New York City…

Mitchell Joachim: New York City is one fabulous example that we’re constantly learning from. Density, for instance, is an excellent thing about New York City, at least when it comes to the ecological and environmental implications. Also public transportation. Eight hundred miles of New York City subway. Granted, the infrastructure is slightly decrepit, but it’s still fantastic when it comes to mobility.

Our thanks to:
Mitchell Joachim
Columbia University
New York City, NY