Friday, July 2, 2021

New York City's Metamodern Approach to an Energy Crisis

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I love New York. The people. The Food. The coastal setting. The nightlife. The vibe. They are all fabulous. New York has also led the way in showing how big cities can become more sustainable. There are many green things about the Big Apple that make me appreciate it in deeper ways. However, a recent event highlights how even the best efforts can become metamodern and seem disjointed. If you are unsure about what I mean by metamodern and metamodernism, please have a glance at this post wherein I discuss metamodernism and sustainability.

This week a cellphone alert was sent out to all NYC residents urging them to cut air conditioning and any other unneeded electricity due to high energy use during a heat wave. Anyone who lives in New York will tell you that those emergency alerts can be a bit jarring given the history of emergencies in the city--from 9-11 to Superstorm Sandy. The alert and various other news sources noted that there could be blackouts and other energy disruptions if people did not stop using electricity immediately.

As the article linked in the previous paragraphs notes, the problematic part of this ask was that some of the most visible signs of NYC energy usage--the many vibrant signs in Times Square--did not go dark. Many New Yorkers were rather upset that they were being asked to conserve energy while a big symbol of New York's advertising world did not. 

This points out a very metamodern issue. Was it really a crisis if it was only a crisis for some? Especially if those feeling the crisis were citizens and not businesses?

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