New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability

At a Glance


Government/Public Administration

Project Type

Engagement and Behavior Change




New York , NY


Cathy Chen helped the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability develop and advance strategies and actions for meeting the City’s OneNYC goal of reducing GHG 80% by 2050 from 2005 levels.


The New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (MOS) enlisted Cathy Chen to support the Buildings team with designing programs to help the City reach its GHG reduction target of 80% by 2050. With buildings contributing to 73% of total GHG emissions in New York City, reducing emissions from this high-impact sector proved to be both a challenge and an area of opportunity. 


As part of the NYC Carbon Challenge, Cathy explored opportunities for program expansion, particularly into the City’s retail sector. She conducted extensive market research through conversations with think tanks, industry associations, business improvement districts, and chambers of commerce. Based off this research, Cathy built a foundational framework that identifies and establishes strategic partnerships for program support and design, market research and participant recruitment.

Cathy also researched best practices in other jurisdictions to help inform New York City’s programs and policies. She focused on the groundbreaking precedent set by Brussels that resulted in the transformation of an old building stock into hundreds of modern, low-energy and zero-energy buildings. Through conversations with experts from Brussels, Cathy documented training and employment outcomes, and translated this information into a framework that can be used in the New York City context. 

Potential Impact

The analysis behind New York City’s retail sector and Brussels’ buildings sector lays the groundwork for MOS to design and implement programs aimed at reducing GHG emissions from New York City’s building stock. These programs can help bring the City closer to achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

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