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Infrastructure We Can Live With: The Neighborly Substation

Wednesday January 2009

Presenter: Hope Cohen, Deputy Director,Center for Rethinking Development
Panelists: Ronald H. Bozgo, Vice President for Engineering, Con Edison; Ashok Gupta, Air and Energy Program Director, Natural Resources Defense Council; James T. Gallagher, Senior Vice President, NYC Economic Development Corp., Chairman, Mayor's Energy Policy Task Force; Janno Lieber, President, World Trade Center Properties, Silverstein Properties
Moderator: Peter W. Huber, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

All over the world, cities integrate electrical substations into the streetscape and bury them beneath buildings and parks— keeping them out of eye and earshot. If London, Tokyo, and Anaheim can do it, why not New York?

One reason is the city’s zoning code, which relegates substations—electricity’s local distribution hubs—to the industrial areas of New York’s past. The results: land used inefficiently and substations sited more by zoning and politics than by engineering. Substations need to be located near businesses and homes. Lower Manhattan’s 7 World Trade Center demonstrates what’s possible in New York—substation and offices together in a handsome building. It should not have to be the lone example.