SUSTAIN Model Block

Cooper Union Stock Photo

SUSTAIN is a collaborative project between the Institute for Sustainable Design and Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) that will create a model block for urban sustainability initiatives, research and artistic expression. The SUSTAIN project will harness and focus the talents of artists, architects, residents, small businesses, and activists to develop creative solutions to the challenges of urban sustainability on one city block—E. 4th street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery in Lower Manhattan. Together, we will test energy, water and waste reduction strategies that draw from the lived experience of residents and commercial tenants.

The first phase of the project will primarily consist of information gathering about the block. Engineering students will work with Architecture students to create a holistic portrait of the model blocks' energy, waste and water use, and will produce documents that will become a foundation for further initiatives on the project site. During the second phase, which will overlap the first, we will commission installations and art projects to engage the community, inform the public and encourage wise resource use and reduction with an overall goal of changing individual behavior.

This project will be implemented over the course of two years. It is our conviction that once this project is complete, the block will serve as a model for community-based sustainability efforts throughout NYC.

For information on our previous collaborative work with FABnyc, see our Green Infrastructure Proposal

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.