The core of the guidelines is a set of strategies to design our built environment to serve OneNYC’s visionary goal of zero waste. They were developed over a year of intensive fact-finding, six collaborative workshops, and the involvement of many city agencies and private stakeholders (see About the Guidelines).

During this period, we witnessed the energy and motivation of our ever expanding “advisory committee” and its excitement in finding others to work with toward this goal. As Bridget Anderson, DSNY Deputy Commissioner for Recycling & Sustainability, said in the final workshop: ←  The editorial “we” employed in this chapter refers to the members of consultant team developing the guidelines: K+C, ClosedLoops and Foodprint Group.

“This whole process has been one of exhaling. Now there are more people involved, not just Sanitation, and we need everybody. There’s been so much creativity and vision on display, and I’m excited for it to continue.”

The statements highlighted below were made by participants in the final workshop, in response to the question “What value do the guidelines have for you?”

“The guidelines create a bridge between the urban planner and the architect, with waste being a part of their jobs and their role in the city.”
—Matt de la Houssaye of Global Green USA

The implementation phase will demand even more creative collaboration across disciplines, agencies and stakeholders. We need the active engagement of the design community, with their strengths as 3-D problem solvers, to make our sidewalks and streetscapes do even more. The management of waste has not traditionally been part of street or building design, so making that change will require that we inspire the design community to come up with solutions that spur New Yorkers into embracing a zero waste lifestyle.

“I was intrigued by implementing these ideas in an architecturally and urbanistically beautiful way to engage and influence behavior.”
—Gregory Kiss of Kiss + Cathcart, Architects

The process can tap creativity while educating the next generation of designers.

“I can see using the guidelines in the classroom to come up with new design ideas.”
—Kaja Kühl of Columbia University

As strategies are applied to pilot designs in NYC, we’ll need to assess their success and refine designs in an iterative process. DOT has followed this process with its temporary plazas that, if successful, become permanent.  What works in one urban condition may not work in another, but following these strategies will lead to many design solutions. ←  NYC DOT, “NYC Plaza Program Application Guidelines 2017,” link.

“We discussed bridging the gap between high-level systems thinking as well as practical implementation.”
—Tessa Vlaanderen of Circular Futures

We will need waivers from codes and policies for some of these pilots, which lead to permanent changes in policies and codes to allow and incentivize implementation of the strategies on a larger scale.

The guidelines should be a living document, updated regularly with new data from research and evaluation of pilots and reflecting changes in policy implemented.

“I appreciated the feedback from research on every aspect.”
—Laura Rosenshine of Common Ground Compost

Next Section: Policy Suggestions →