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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal resolution on Feb. 7, seeking $180 billion over 10 years to remodel every public housing unit by making the units compatible and adding renewable energy tools. (Photo by nrkbeta | CC BY-SA 2.0)

Researchers from Penn’s Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, the University's hub for social science research on the climate emergency, offered data to support the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act

The legislation was proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and calls for every public housing unit in the United States to be revamped. In the process, the units would be fitted with solar panels and other renewable energy sources, Penn Today reported.

CityLab reported Penn's (SC)2 found that adding green technology to these housing spaces will be equivalent to removing 1.2 million cars from the road each year, reducing America's carbon footprint and creating approximately 250,000 jobs annually across the country. 

PennToday reported (SC)2 worked with Stuart Weitzman School of Design’s The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology and Data for Progress, a group that uses data science to support leftist causes, to offer the data supporting the Public Housing Act.

“If we build the skills and the technological capabilities to retrofit public housing units around the country, that will make it easier to retrofit every other kind of home, too," (SC)2 director Daniel Aldana Cohen, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, told PennToday. "If we develop those skills through the public housing, it will become easier and more efficient to decarbonize the whole building stock.” 

Ocasio-Cortez’s office reached out to Cohen earlier this year, according to Penn Today, asking him to support a public housing component of the Green New Deal. Cohen became a senior fellow with DFP in August. DFP and the McHarg Center studied how workers and residents may be affected by a green investment in public housing.

“At the end of the day, it’s about green improvements that will drastically improve residents’ living standards and also build the skills of those who live in the communities,” Cohen told PennToday. “We’re going to leverage public housing to provide resilience services for the whole community.”