Skip to content
Grist home
TRIPLE your gift

Articles by Colin Kinniburgh

Colin Kinniburgh is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist covering climate change and cities.

Featured Article

Paris public housing.

When U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman visited his childhood home in Harlem’s East River Houses last winter, he was struck by a piece of graffiti at the entrance. The tag read, simply, “Help.” 

For Bowman, it was a fitting testament to the state of New York City’s public housing, which aims to provide “safe, affordable housing” to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. In recent years, however, the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, has become a poster child of environmental injustice and government neglect. The agency faces a $40 billion backlog of lead paint, mold, heat and gas outages, and myriad other problems to fix. This has translated into a public health crisis for its half-million residents — more than the population of Atlanta, Georgia — which, like so many other symptoms of inequality, has only deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NYCHA’s neglected infrastructure also takes a toll on the climate. A study by the agency last year found that its outdated heating systems waste two-thirds of their energy. Those systems are overwhelmingly powered by fuel oil and natural gas. As a result, NYCHA buildings alone produce a whopping 3 per... Read more

All Articles