The greenest building is the one already built. Most old buildings were designed with a sophistication of thought rather than a sophistication of technology, which in terms of climate control and energy usage, integrates them with the environment in a way that most new buildings do not. Furthermore, repairing, rehabilitating and re-using buildings and materials save money, fuel and energy without the waste, debris, noise and truck traffic that new construction generates when it involves demolition of an existing building.
Historic districts in NYC are the densest neighborhoods of the city. They are standing models for how to build great neighborhoods elsewhere.
A growing body of research in cognitive science illuminates the physical and mental toll bland, corporatized cityscape exacts on residents. Historic districts provide the opposite kind of cityscape.
Historic districts are dynamic places that pull more than their weight compared to other neighborhoods in terms of job growth, small business habitat, and as workplaces for start-ups, as well as the creative, restaurant, and tech industries.
While New York’s historic districts are only 3.4% of the city, more than $865 million a year is spent on them in construction and rehabilitation.