The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly

The correlation between real estate desirability in a given area and its eco-footprint might not be so basic.

By Nathalie Nayman July 11, 2017

Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents and exorbitant house prices normally go hand-in-hand with environmental consciousness. It’s a no-brainer. The closer you are to Manhattan, the more likely it is that you commute by work by bike. Well-heeled also tend to use less energy and choose “green” options. These folks who shell out insane rent checks might be responsible for rapid gentrification rates but hey – at least, they recycle. Overall, expensive real estate equals eco-friendly, right?

Well, not exactly. Recent research has found that the correlation between real estate desirability in a given area and its eco-footprint might not be so basic.

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Generally, New York tends to do a pretty good job when it comes to environment initiatives. One of the prominent development trends these days are LEED-rated constructions and ‘green” renovations. And then there’s city’s constant “green” efforts, like OneNYC sustainability program, that heavily invests in renewable energy and electric vehicles.

The problem is, the new economy model with companies such as Uber and Lyft, along with the uptick in deliveries, might just be substantially reducing all this environmentally-friendly work. Could it be that New York is far less ”green” than we think?
“Researchers are just beginning to conduct studies to understand these impacts,” reports DNAInfo.

There are lots of questions to answer. Does Uber actually reduce private car ownership or, on the contrary, causes even more congestion? “
According to DNAInfo, “A recent study on app-based ride services like Uber and Lyft found a net increase in 600 million vehicle miles traveled.” That means, three to four percent jump in traffic – primarily in Manhattan.

Related: Bronx’s Grand Concourse to see improvements for pedestrians amid $164M transformation

And what about all these countless delivery apps? How many of these meal prep kits or emergency booze supplies are being delivered by bike – and how many involved car trips that could have been avoided if the customer bothered to walk half a mile to a local grocery store?
To answer these questions with precision, one needs a whole lot of data.

But one thing is clear, the current ranking of NYC neighborhoods on the “green” scale is not exactly reliable. Right now, three Brooklyn neighborhoods considered to be the “greenest” in the borough are Park Slope, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights. What will happen to this ranking – and how it will affect real estate prices in the long run – once data scientists come up with reliable ways to measure all these Uber rides and Amazon deliveries, is a great unknown.

Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

Nathalie is an international media trooper. After working as a journalist in Moscow, Nathalie participated in local politics and social movements in Cairo where she covered the protests and political upheaval of the Arab Spring. Nathalie is Agorafy's content manager. She produces and oversees unique and creative content for the Newsroom.

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