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  • Writer's pictureUrban Time

A New Urban Ecology Research Campus?

Cross-Posted from The New School News

Situated in New York Harbor, the 172 acres of Governors Island hosts historic buildings, green spaces, educational, arts, and cultural centers, and a landmark monument managed by the National Parks Service. In 2020, The Trust for Governors Island and the Mayor of New York City launched an international competition to establish a Center for Climate Solutions on the Island.

In December 2021, the Trust for Governors Island announced four finalists for this competition’s first phase, which included a joint proposal submitted by The New School and CUNY. The two universities collaborated on the initiative, the Climate Center Consortium (C3), that would seek to merge the work of climate change adaptation and mitigation with environmental justice in order to develop just and equitable solutions that will lead to a climate-resilient future.

“Climate change is among the most urgent problems of our time,” said Dwight McBride, President of The New School and a University Professor. “Solutions will require not only science, but design and social science to inform how we lead substantive transformation in attitudes about climate change in our society, our culture, our education, and our behaviors in order to effect lasting change.”

C3 draws together academic, research and community organizations to advance a range of educational needs, including K-16 learning opportunities, degree-granting courses, career and workforce development, as well as continuing education credentials for educators and practitioners. In order to develop transformative climate solutions, C3 will facilitate collaboration across disciplines, sectors, community members, environmental justice organizations, and stakeholder groups on Governors Island, around New York City, and across the globe.

“As a university that is home to one of the leading design schools in the world, strong social science scholarship, and applied solutions-based scholarship around sustainable futures in urban contexts, The New School is proud to collaborate with our C3 partners on this innovative project that will inspire bold change grounded in principles of social and environmental justice,” President McBride further shared. “As a community leader in New York City civic and cultural life, The New School regularly engages in partnerships aimed at designing and implementing solutions to some of our city’s most pressing problems, and we are excited to be a finalist for this important reimagining of Governors Island.”

C3 imagines Governors Island as a living laboratory for just climate solutions through transdisciplinary research, prototyping, and commercialization, focused on building design, technology, and nature-based solutions. Centered on the adaptive reuse of many of the Island’s historic buildings, the consortium will create classrooms, research space, and dormitories. C3 will also add new spaces including areas for conferences and gatherings, field and forest research, and public participatory demonstration sites.

C3 partners include Barnard College, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Columbia University, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York University, Northeastern University, University at Albany (SUNY), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and over 40 community-based, education and environmental organizations. SCAPE, FXCollaborative, Henning Larsen, and Ramboll collaborated with C3 to develop a design approach that resets New Yorkers’ relationship to land, water, buildings, and each other.

“Climate change is an issue that impacts every facet of our lives, which is why we are so thrilled to be collaborating with our C3 partners on this opportunity to reinvigorate Governors Island as a research and educational center dedicated to combating the environmental crisis,” said Renée T. White, Provost of The New School. “Sustainability education is woven throughout our curriculum here at The New School, and we are committed to harnessing the power of our collective knowledge to shape a fairer, healthier, and safer future.”


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