Managing the megacity for global sustainability: the new york metropolitan region as an urban biosphere reserve

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Jun;1023:125-41. doi: 10.1196/annals.1319.005.


The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), while not originally conceived to include urban areas, was intended to include sites representing all significant ecosystems with the goal of support for sustainable development locally and globally. Drawing on the example of the New York Metropolitan Region (NYMR), which has a population of 21.4 million, it is argued here that the eventual inclusion of the largest of the world's cities in WNBR not only is within the logic of the biosphere reserve concept, but would also benefit the network and its goals. The ecological significance of the NYMR, its role as a driver for global environmental change, as well as the efforts under way in the city to improve urban environmental management and governance are all examined. Potential added value to the WNBR of including megacities such as the NYMR is considered, in particular, regarding the sharing of best practices, lessons learned, and the strengthening of links between megacities and their global natural resource bases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • City Planning / methods*
  • Conservation of Energy Resources / methods
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environment Design*
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • International Cooperation
  • United Nations