NYC in 2030: Remedies for Growing Pains
December 13th, 2006

Following his speech on the challenges facing a growing New York City between now and 2030, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gets high marks for “the vision thing (Click here for his speech.)

“In a world of civic tortoises who huddle in their shells fearing any change, the mayor with his vision that the city must build housing and infrastructure so that the metropolis can accommodate more than 9 million residents in 25 years is a lion embracing the unpredictable but optimistic path of urban expansion,” cheered Harvard professor Edward Glaeser in the Sun.

The Daily News said the mayors goals are “inarguably good ones.”

But when it comes to the details of what should be done and how to do it, let alone how to pay for it, things get dicey. The Sun, which for the most part applauds the mayors vision, and the Post both fault the mayor for giving in to what the Sun terms “the global warming fad.” But, the Post goes beyond that to advise the mayor to think more about the present. Citing a recent report on the citys inability to issue accurate water bills, the editorial says, “If Mayor Mike has infrastructure on his mind, you’d think he’d be worried about the municipal water pipes in the here and now. Instead of roads, bridges, parks, subways and the electrical grid in 2030 – far enough in the future to fret about while not actually having to do anything. Except maybe cobble the topic into a presidential platform.”

And while giving Bloomberg enormous credit for daring to address our growing pains, Michael Goodwin in the News sees a gap between Bloombergs rhetoric and reality. “Bloomberg’s team rarely says no to any new project. He has blithely ignored concerns about the size of the huge Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, essentially arguing that bigger is always better,” Goodwin writes. If Bloomberg really listens to what New Yorkers think about their growing city, the columnist continues, he will “get an earful about noise. If he looks carefully, he’ll see that erratic enforcement of parking and driving regulations contributes to artery-clogging traffic. He’ll learn about architects and builders who thumb their noses at his Buildings Department, especially outside Manhattan. The agencyonly seems to show up when there is a disaster, which helps explain why nearly 100 workers have been killed in construction accidents since October 2001.”

And even the generally effusive Glaeser has qualms. If the city is to continue to grow, he writes, “The mayor should be at least as concerned with eliminating taxes and regulation as he is with building subway extensions.”

But the most churlish reaction may have come from the Times, which dismissed the speech in a 103-word news brief and noted the speech was “accompanied by videos and images of himself in a plaid bathrobe making toast and drinking coffee.”

By on December 13, 2006, 10:15 am
In category: Demographics,Gotham City,Land Use | 4 Comments »

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4 Responses to “NYC in 2030: Remedies for Growing Pains”

  1. Larry Littlefield Says:
    December 13th, 2006 at 11:40 am

    I guess school seat capacity didn’t make the top ten.

    But here is the most important thing to consider — growth on the scale proposed in the plan is unlikely.

    Since New York City is already developed at a high density, adding people means building up, and that means the difficulty and expense of displacing and removing existing land uses.

    This can only be profitable if NYC continues to be vastly more expensive than the rest of the country. Not just much more expensive; vastly more expensive, and nonetheless people and firms will not choose to go elsewhere at a fraction of the cost. In other words, a perpertual real estate bubble is required.

    At the peak of the previous real estate bubble in 1987 the Koch Administation released “New York Ascendant,” which was based on a similarly grandiose forecast.

    In 1969, when the city’s employment peaked, the Lindsay Administration released its plan for the city (the last one before now) which also forecast massive growth.

    In short, the city’s population will continue to inch up on the margin, constrained by the high costs required to expand an already built environment. More pressing that planning infrastructure for another million people is addressing problems that already exist because of public facility inadequacies today. Like capacity on the Lexington Avenue Subway and school seats.

  2. Streetsblog » Futurama 2030 Speech: News Round-Up Says:
    December 13th, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    […] NYC in 2030: Remedies for Growing Pains (Gotham Gazette) […]

  3. New York City » Blog Archive » Oscar Beat 06 - United 93′ is best for NYC, Borat is … Says:
    December 15th, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    […] – NYC in 2030: Remedies for Growing PainsGotham Gazette, NY – 20 hours agoSpot a published piece that would fit this blog? Let us know about it, at [email protected]. In a world of civic tortoises … […]

  4. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Preparing For A Future With A Million More New Yorkers Says:
    December 27th, 2006 at 6:41 am

    […] The New York Times, oddly late-arriving in covering Mayor Michael Bloombergs speech planning for New Yorker in the year 2030 which was commented upon amply in New Yorks other newspapers two weeks ago this week ran an editorial praising the speech, though wondering how he was going to pay for it all. […]

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