The SDG SUMMER SCHOOL 2017 was held to conceive ways to use Open Data, crowdsourcing technoogies, and low-cost open source solution to tackle sustainable development in ways that even schoolchildren can participate in, and develop prototypes suitable for deployment. In NYC, the school was in close collaboration with UNICEF and focused on urban waste! The school focused on understanding the complexities of waste management and included a trip to Freshkills Park and Sims Recycling Center, and an excellent discussion with Curb Your Litter. Follow the ongoing project here.

Event Date: July 17-21, 2017

CUSP Research Seminar: The Value of Trash

Event Date: March 26, 2014

While there have been recycling programs in the US for many years, the overallrates of recycling have stagnated, and the use of recycled material in manufacturedproducts is minimal due to high cost and unpredictable quality and supply.However, this situation is beginning to change. The scarcity of natural resources, extended producer responsibility laws and taxes as well as the focus on corporate and municipal sustainability is helping drive both the desire to improve diversion rates as well as the demand for recycled and recovered material. Companies & cities are starting to realize the “value of their trash” – some are even creating income streams from their discarded material. This talk will describe the changing economic environment in the world of waste management and the challenges of realizing a closed-loop supply chain. It will also propose research topics to help us better understand the best methods of engaging the public (and corporations) to help drive a more sustainable environment.

Action Carting Visit

Event Date: March 13, 2014

New York City waste collection is generally divided into residential waste(municipal solid waste), commercial waste and construction waste. Residential waste is handled almost entirely by the New York City Department of Sanitation while the other two types of waste are handled by private companies. By far, the largest and most progressive company handling commercial waste is Action Environmental Services. This week a small group of researchers had a chance to visit their prized collection facility which was recently inundated with the latest technology in waste: an optical sorter.

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Public Mapping Mission

Event Date: November 22nd and December 7th

How can citizens take an active role in raising awareness and bringing about positive change in their communities? With the development of low cost technologies, engaging in environmental science is easier than ever. But how can citizen science research and initiatives be translated into public policy?

This course will be an introduction into one of the more popular open science tools; aerial mapping. This DIY approach, developed by the Public Lab, gives citizens the opportunity to generate high resolution maps of desired areas using low cost tools. The course will be divided into two sessions. First, participants will have an introduction to citizen science and ways to use citizen efforts to work with government and influence policy. This initial session will give a fundamental overview of balloon mapping tools and techniques while also brainstorming and identifying locations that participants could map in their own communities. The second session will be a hands on event in which participants will put into action citizen science by mapping a nearby land mark and reporting back the experience to the community.

The goal of the course are to provide an overview and understanding of citizen science and its relationship to public policy through discussions of previous and existing experiences and by conducting hands on research enabling participants to explore and gather data in their own communities. Sign up at The Gov Lab Academy.

This course is a collaboration between Public Lab, Center for Urban Science and Progress, GovLab, P2PU and the MIT Media Lab.

Balloon Photography at Freshkills Park

Event Date: September 29th, 11am-4pm

Sneak Peak is an annual event hosted by the Parks Department and New York Department of Sanitation held at Freshkills Park in Staten Island. The event is an opportunity for the public to explore Freshkills Park through biking, hiking, canoeing and other outdoor activities. This year there will be a new event, balloon mapping!

In partnership with Public Labs, the New York City Parks Department, Open Trash Lab and the Center for Urban Science and Progress, we will be hosting three workshops during the event to demonstrate balloon photography techniques and let the public begin to map this vast landscape.

The event will be held on Sunday, September 29th from 11am to 4pm in Freshkills Park Staten Island. For more information about the event, visit the Official Site.

View photos on Flickr.