The drama of modern relationships between man, society and nature is largely rooted in the specificity of technocratic thinking, based on a system of consumer and utilitarian values. The analysis of the environmental status quo, the acute need for significant changes in environmental situation, the current practice of man-society-nature interaction require not so much a new practical experimentation as a radical revision of the established as the only true metaphysical and moralistic paradigms. Society has faced the need for a new conceptual vision of man’s place in the world, where man is a link of the life cycle, which ultimately determines the boundaries of ecology, human society and urban ecology in particular.
If until recently the ecological risk was associated with the effects of natural disasters, now it is identified with technological risk. Today, technological and environmental risks are two interrelated aspects of the problem of man’s survival and sustainable existence. Environmental risks generate a certain state of mass public consciousness – the environmental stress, which arises in the process of gradual or sudden threat to the nature and human life. Further the paper considers the issue of local environmental stress on the example of megapolis, and New York in particular.