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December 16, 2006

Richard Florida

The "new" New York

« Still fighting the hippies | Main | Neo-conservatives and Cities »

Nyc Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making lot's of moves lately to ensure New York remains the world's greatest city, with efforts to ban transfat, bring talented musicians into the classroom and remake education. Now he also aims to make the city greener and more sustainable, with a concerted strategy to address what I call the "externalities" of the creative age.

According to The Economist: "To Mr Bloomberg, New York is competing—especially with London—to be one of the great cities of the 21st century, attracting the increasingly mobile and wealthy global elite. His plan addresses what he sees as the three chief challenges facing the city as it makes that transition. ... To transform New York into a “sustainable city” Mr Bloomberg has set ten goals, to be monitored by a new Sustainability Advisory Board...The goals include a massive increase in affordable housing; the pledge that every New Yorker will live within ten minutes' walk of a public park; and an overhaul of public transport, including a subway extension. Mr Bloomberg wants New York to have the cleanest air of any big city in America and to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming by 30% by 2030. And he wants to open 90% of the surrounding rivers, harbours and bays for recreation by reducing water pollution and preserving natural spaces. More here.

While Washington buries its proverbial "head" in the sand refusing to even believe the creative age is upon us, mayors like Bloomberg have become the engines of policy innovation developing new strategies not just to accelerate the transition to the creative economy but to begin to address its downsides.


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From what I've read, Mr. Bloomberg's plan goes beyond thinking about one abstract group like "the creative class" -- even though the needs to attract the best and brightest is likely in his thoughts. His plan goes to making a city viable for the long term -- for everyone.

CEOs for Cities has a great new blog post on how New York has become a place for families.


As the blog references, it costs a small fortune for families to live in New York. They could be living in a mansion with their own backyard in some other community for the money they pay to be in an apartment in New York. This shows how Bloomberg and his team are making high density living desirable.

That could be a model for many North American cities going forward.


Wendy, Great comment! He's not the only one. The model for this kind of broad-based approach is Richard Daley in Chicago-who brought everything from trees to community parks and community theater to virtually every neighborhood, and certainly not just downtown. "Everybody's Buddy" Cianci did something similar in Providence, welcoming immigrants, young creatives fleeing unaffordable housing in Boston, and even reaching out to the gay and lesbian communities while making Providence better for everyone. Other examples are Martin OMalley's Baltimore and John Hickenlooper in Denver who are developing strategies to include everyone. That's why I always say the key to getting beyond our cultural divide and political polarization lies at the local level. When I meet with city leaders around the country and watch these inclusive strategies I can't even tell who's a Republican and who's a Democrat.







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