The Public Health Future of NYC

There is a dream that I have for New York City. It all starts with when I was a teenager and I had high hopes for what the  future of our world could be. I would watch movies like Back to the Future II – seeing the hoverboard, the flying cars, all the amazing possibilities, and I would think to myself, “wow, I can’t wait to live in that world.” Even today, I  research Walt Disney’s original plans for Disney World in Florida, and I’m inspired all over again like when I was a kid. Re-watching his original broadcast from October 1966, and seeing his concept for the original plans of E.P.C.O.T. (the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow) was truly awe-inspiring . All the possible advancements in planning and designing the integrating of flows and different aspects of one’s life and lifestyle, it really gets you thinking ‘outside the box.’ It was odd though, because while I was left with an immense feeling of wonder after all my research and nostalgia, I couldn’t help but feel some sadness in the pit of my stomach.I felt like we felt like we fell short of the future we should have had. That feeling combined with my experiences growing up and witnessing how people actually treat one another within their environment pushed me into what I’m most passionate about now, social wellness and urban revitalization of NYC in 2021.

The promise of an innovative and integrated NYC of the future is possible. But to get there, we can no longer tolerate empty words, corruption, non-integration of critical systems and departments, leadership that lacks vision and accountability. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way since the crime-ridden streets of the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. But we can do better, we can continue to evolve. We need to focus on outcomes that positively impact the greatest number of NYers, not just personal or special interest groups. Projects and initiatives that take into account the full complexity, diversity and flavour of our great city.  . For God sakes, we’re New Yorkers. The people of this town can do so much when we come together. So, now that I got that off my chest lol, what is my dream you ask?

My dream is developing  buildings that are designed and built for growth, sustainability, agriculture, and smart technology. I want buildings where each individual structure is a micro-city in itself. We should have more buildings  that allow  people to live,work, play, and sustain a healthy lifestyle all under the same roof. If we have seen other buildings and cities arise around the world doing this, then why can’t we do it here? There are so many areas for improvement. For instance, why can’t we have little to no noise pollution from emergency vehicles? Why can’t we have green spaces built upon and into all our major buildings now? Why can’t we grow plants that can filter our water systems with aquatic life to recycle our waste, producing clean water as an outcome? Why aren’t our building materials and codes changed to provide eco/natural materials that are not harmful to our environment or the world’s natural ecosystem? Why do we not have monorail systems and multiple layers of traffic, or, at the very least, the foundation for it to be built?

I believe that we can have all of this and so much more. To get this done, it’s going to take the spirit of everyone involved at Public Health Schools, New York City Government, and, most importantly, the private sector. We can have this beautiful future now, but we  have to  start connecting all the different groups that are working independently towards their own goals, and get them aligned behind these larger city-specific objectives. I believe that through the right relationships and associations we can see this dream I have become a reality within our lifetime. We can only do this together, as an integrated team with the collective purpose of improving the human experience for all in NYC. Some might say my dream is a little lofty, but in the end, if we can leave this reality a little better and kinder for the next generations to come after us, then we will have done our job. Let us lead by example and show them all.