Starred Review. While the conventional wisdom condemns it as an environmental nightmare, Manhattan is by far the greenest place in America, argues this stimulating eco-urbanist manifesto. According to Owen (Sheetrock and Shellac), staff writer at theNew Yorker, New York City is a model of sustainability: its extreme density and compactness—and horrifically congested traffic—encourage a carfree lifestyle centered on walking and public transit; its massive apartment buildings use the heat escaping from one dwelling to warm the ones adjoining it; as a result, he notes, New Yorkers' per capita greenhouse gas emissions are less than a third of the average American's. The author attacks the powerful anti-urban bias of American environmentalists like Michael Pollan and Amory Lovins, whose rurally situated, auto-dependent Rocky Mountain Institute he paints as an ecological disaster area. The environmental movement's disdain for cities and fetishization of open space, backyard compost heaps, locavorism and high-tech gadgetry like solar panels and triple-paned windows is, he warns, a formula for wasteful sprawl and green-washed consumerism. Owen's lucid, biting prose crackles with striking facts that yield paradigm-shifting insights. The result is a compelling analysis of the world's environmental predicament that upends orthodox opinion and points the way to practical solutions.(Sept.)
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ISBN-10:  1594488827
ISBN-13:  978-1594488825
Author:  David Owen
Publisher:  Riverhead Hardcover
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review by . November 11, 2009
David Owen pops holes in environmentalists' cartoon thought balloons to help us see the world as it is, instead of how we think it is. He is adept at reframing one's thinking with examples and explanations that make simple sense.    The greenest people in America? Manhattanites--with the lowest average carbon footprint in the country. We sustainability-mongers tend to tout Portland or Seattle or San Jose, but New York has them all beaten hands down for walkability, transit, density …
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