Category Archives: Projects

Power Play: an Energy Map of New York City

First posted Feb. 13, 2012 on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog.

New York City, energy map, energy usage

Midtown Manhattan is red hot; Greenpoint a cool yellow and beige. It’s all a matter of energy: A new interactive, color-coded map created by a team at Columbia’s engineering school allows viewers to pinpoint and compare estimated energy usage, building lot by building lot, throughout New York City.

The researchers, working under Professor Vijay Modi of the Earth Engineering Center, a center of the Earth Institute, hope the new map will encourage city planners and building owners to seek more efficient ways to produce and use energy by using cogeneration, conservation and alternative energy systems. The map was created by the Modi Research Group.

“The simplest thing we learned [from the map] was that there are possibilities for doing lots of things which are hard to see when you don’t look at the big picture,” Modi said. For instance, neighboring buildings with large energy demands could team up to install cogeneration systems, which use heat generated from electricity to heat the buildings, cutting energy use.

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COMPLICITY

 

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How Connecticut Chained Itself to Slavery 

Published Sept. 29, 2002, this special issue of Northeast magazine unlocked a side of slavery, and of Connecticut history, that had never been clearly told. The 80-page edition has been used as a teaching tool in schools throughout the state and turned into a book, and it won the Sigma Delta Chi Public Service Award for magazine journalism in 2002. Editing and writing for this issue was one of the highlights of my career, and changed my way of thinking.

Here’s one example: Tiffany’s, the New York icon of wealth and status, was founded as a dry goods store by two young men from Connecticut. Their fathers staked them to the venture with profits earned in their mills, which took cotton picked by slaves in the South and turned it into coarse “negro cloth,” sold back to slaveowners to clothe their “property.” 

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