The implications of such a plan - championed by new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - extend well beyond the ecological.
Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got tongues wagging this month when she championed a plan for a Green New Deal, and drafted a proposal to kickstart the committee that would create it. While she’s not the first to suggest the idea, timing and the cultural climate are apt for a renewal of the discussion.
Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, which emphasizes decarbonization, job creation, and social and economic justice, is politically audacious—it aims for 100 percent renewable energy within 12 years—but in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s most recent warning that the world has about a decade to get climate change under control if we are to thwart its worst effects. With close to half of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from the built environment, architects and designers should feel welcome wading into the conversation.
The Green New Deal (GND) is a proposed economic stimulus program in the United States that aims to address both economic inequality and climate change. The name refers to the New Deal, a combination of social and economic reforms and public works projects undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression. Supporters of a Green New Deal advocate a combination of Roosevelt’s economic approach with modern ideas such as renewable energy and resource efficiency.
A Green New Deal would inject capital, job training, and manufacturing incentives into the system, accelerating the pace of a green economy. Building green infrastructure would be a major source of employment, and would help establish better social and economic equity, too; reliable, multimodal transit infrastructure to and from working-class neighborhoods would provide access to more jobs, schools, grocery stores, and other essentials they may currently be isolated from.