There are lots of obvious benefits that flow from downtown development — new housing and job opportunities, a stronger tax base, a more attractive and culturally vibrant city center, and better access to goods and services, to name just a few. A key benefit that’s often overlooked, however, is that the right kind of development helps to confront the climate crisis. It may seem counterintuitive to think of dense, high-rise construction as a form of environmental progress, but it is. Transit-served downtowns like New Rochelle’s are less car-dependent and consume less energy per capita than other patterns of development. And by densifying urban cores, we help to preserve natural open space elsewhere. These facts are well illustrated in this really neat map from the New York Times which shows how land use patterns contribute to — and can help address — the climate emergency. There are, of course, many other factors that affect climate change, but this may be the area in which local government can have the greatest impact. So, in addition to being great for New Rochelle’s parochial interests, downtown development is among the best things we can do for the planet.