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Alexandra Lange

Via bobulate: New York City as business


bobulate: Mayor Michael Bloomberg runs New York City like a business. It started three years ago:

[O]n Earth Day, the Mayor launched PlaNYC, a comprehensive, long-term sustainability plan that has become recognized by other cities not only for its exceptional achievements, but for the innovative process with which it was developed. Mayor Bloomberg championed PlaNYC and shepherded its creation using pragmatic principles borrowed from the business world: an emphasis on innovation, a disciplined focus on goals and cost-benefit analysis, and a commitment to accountability made possible by tireless efforts to measure and analyze data. A new case study, PlaNYC: The Process Behind the Plan, shares the full story for local leaders eager to replicate New York’s success.

This is completely new:

This process required a new level of coordination between City departments that didn’t previously exist. All too often in municipalities, as in any organization, projects and programs are siloed within departments that don’t communicate. To resolve this, the Mayor created ... a central office to drive the creation of PlaNYC and manage collaboration between departments. Cooperation wasn’t optional, since Mayor Bloomberg made clear his personal commitment to the plan.

I like this. Required cooperation. And even better news: Bloomerberg’s model (hire the brightest people and get out of the way) is taking root in cities all over the United States.

Yes, but: the jury is still out on how much all those bright people got (and will get) done. Bloomberg has been clever to take charge of Governors Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park, two projects initiated long before his administration that could eventually be seen as his major urban successes. This despite the fact that initially he and Dan Doctoroff were more interested in buildings than open space: Hudson Yards, Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Bloomberg did recognize the attractions of the High Line while still an candidate, but his greening has been incremental and not a little bit self-serving. He is on trend, that’s for sure. Whether his model is sustainable or replicable seems very much to be seen.



Posted in: Public + Private

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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