Theses Master's

Planning for the Next Generation: Composting in New York City

Chon, Jeeyoung “Jacey”

Growing significance of environmentalism in today’s culture has given way to the environment-conscious young generation rising up with youth-led movements and initiatives. While the realization of practical actions may vary from one urban area to another, New York City, with its 2030 Zero Waste goal, can capitalize on this momentum to widely execute the program’s key initiative: composting. To that end, this research seeks to identify the factors that New York City's residents face when attempting to compost and explores possible interventions the City can implement to bolster community engagement. With the young generation’s demonstrated responsibility and sensitivity to trending environmental issues, the research aims particularly at those aged 20-39 to be effective conduits of the social movement. Online survey responses were collected from those identified as the target group via popular social network platforms. The quantitative data was further complemented by in-person interviews of the City residents, volunteers and staff at relevant organizations. The findings suggest that the low participation rate in composting programs can be overcome by addressing the following prominent barriers:​ 𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴​ to composting sites, ​𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 ​on the topic, and ​𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴​. Starting with the City’s young people, the concept of “nudging” can be employed to influence their proactive behavior and allow their participation in the composting program to be the source of inspiration to other age groups in realizing the 2030 Zero Waste goal.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Devlin, Ryan T.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 11, 2020