Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Debating Jobs and Economic Development

Everyone agrees: New York needs jobs.

But when it comes to the specific projects that politicians and developers promise will create them, the issue often becomes more complicated and controversial, particularly for those who live in a neighborhood that will be changed as a result.

In recent months, the city has approved two such projects: a giant IKEA furniture store in Red Hook, Brooklyn and a water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. And in coming months, the fate of another huge project - the development of the West Side of Manhattan that includes a new football stadium for the New York Jets - will also be decided.

Supporters of each of these projects promise that they will bring much-needed jobs to the city. But opponents question such promises and point to the cost to taxpayers, the increase in traffic, and scourge of pollution that come along with new them.

The details and plans of such projects lie largely with the mayor and the city's Department of City Planning, which is responsible for the city's physical planning and review process.

But it is the local City Council member - who is elected by just a few thousand people - has the most to gain or lose politically. Individual council members often use their power over land use decisions and zoning as well as their "bully pulpit" to help shape economic development proposals.

Here are three new economic development projects that will reshape the city and a look at what City Council members on both sides have to say about each.

Brooklyn IKEA Furniture Store

Post your views on Red Hook Ikea

YES: Why Brooklyn Needs IKEA - Sarah Gonzalez
Councilmember Sarah Gonzalez, who represents the neighborhood where the new IKEA will be built, argues that "there hasn't been an investment of this size in Red Hook since World War II."

NO: Companies Must Share Our Values - Charles Barron
East New York Councilmember Charles Barron argues that companies can do more to help local residents. "We don't talk about the fact that IKEA is a Swedish company from a country where 90 percent of the workers are unionized," he says, and "none of the IKEA workers in America are unionized."



Bronx Water Filtration Plant

Post your views on Bronx Water Filtration Plant

YES: A Legacy Investment - Madeline Provenzano
YES: Job Creation for Future Generations - Joel Rivera
Bronx council members Madeline Provenzano and Joel Rivera say that Van Cortlandt Park is the best place to build a new water filtration plant for the city. "We need to provide a job creation program to ensure that future generations will be able to put food on their plate, clothing on their back, and be able to pay the rent," says Rivera.

NO: Wrong Place, Wrong Time - Oliver Koppell
NO: Jobs Don't Trickle Down - Helen Foster
Bronx council members Oliver Koppell and Helen Foster say the filtration plant should be built elsewhere. "The promise of jobs is a red herring," says Koppell. "This is a project being built in the wrong place at the wrong time."


West Side Stadium and Convention Center

Post your views on West Side development

YES: Time To Develop the West Side - David Weprin
Councilmember David Weprin, who chairs the council's finance committee, argues that the plan to develop the West Side, expand the Javits Convention Center, and build a new stadium for the New York Jets is "an opportunity to leverage private investment to create jobs and economic growth."

NO: Stop the Stadium - Christine Quinn
West Side council member Christine Quinn argues that the Jets stadium will be "the most expensive stadium ever built" and that 21,000 people who live in the area are not being given a chance to say in the future of their neighborhood.

Print Friendly and PDF

Editor's Choice

Gotham Gazette: New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
Gotham Gazette: 
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast Max Politics Podcast