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Thread: Updating an old city - Bloomberg's vision for NYC

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Updating an old city - Bloomberg's vision for NYC

    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that by 2030 there will be an all day rush hour and that all transportation systems are in a serious need of updating. Additionally, the technology in all of its utilities is need of updating.

    I think that there are an amazing number of cities that are facing the exact same thing. But just short of rebuilding the entire city, how would one go about starting a full updating of a old city?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian
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    The first thing would be to modify the regulations so that they support a more sustainable pattern of growth, then I would invest in infrastructre to help foster the changes in land use and development to move towards sustanability.

  3. #3
    This sparks a question: how many big cities are going to grow over the next few decades, or at least not decline but are absolutely constrained by geography from expanding outwards? I can think of a couple:

    New York City
    Boston
    San Francisco
    San Jose
    Chicago
    Washington
    Los Angeles (?)

    Are there others? I would not count declining cities that think they can reverse their fortunes such as Philadelphia or Detroit.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    This sparks a question: how many big cities are going to grow over the next few decades, or at least not decline but are absolutely constrained by geography from expanding outwards? I can think of a couple: Chicago
    Chicago has alot of vacant and underutilixed land currently within its boundaries, so there is a lot of space for increasing density. This is happening increasingly in the Near South Side between Downtown and The University of Chicago's neighborhood. Many vacant lots are being consolidated and large scale (relative) developments are occurring with associated infrastructure improvements (ie. improved streets, new streets, etc.)

    But captial improvements for large "old" cities is something that is probably always a budget item and never ending.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    But captial improvements for large "old" cities is something that is probably always a budget item and never ending.
    There are parts of Chicago that still have wooden water mains that were laid in the 1880s and 1890s.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that by 2030 there will be an all day rush hour and that all transportation systems are in a serious need of updating. Additionally, the technology in all of its utilities is need of updating.

    I think that there are an amazing number of cities that are facing the exact same thing. But just short of rebuilding the entire city, how would one go about starting a full updating of a old city?
    One major change I can see is turning major freeways that go through these cities into HOT lanes. At least with a city like NYC, if they get the kind of growth they're talking about, it would almost be unavoidable.

  7. #7
    For New York, working through the NIMBY opposition to allow more (affordable) housing to be built all over the city will be key. NY'ers have insanely long commutes. More people need to be able to afford to live near their work.

    There is still tons of abandoned, underutilized, and vacant land in NYC. There's lots of room for growth. Manhattan's population today is lower than it was in the 1940s. A lot of NYC's growth has come from Queens.

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    Economist article: Michael Bloomberg sets out a bold new vision for his city

    There's a short article about Mayor Bloomberg's vision plan for NYC in the Economist online edition. Today they have a free pass for premium content, if anyone wants to check it out.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Sweet....

    Quote Originally posted by fort lauderdale love View post
    There's a short article about Mayor Bloomberg's vision plan for NYC in the Economist online edition. Today they have a free pass for premium content, if anyone wants to check it out.
    I recently had a birthday and got a full year of the Economist as a present.....starting in January......can't wait....
    Skilled Adoxographer

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Great Find!!! I copied and pasted the article to save people the trouble of watching the HBO trailer on the economist site.


    The new New York
    Dec 13th 2006 | FLUSHING MEADOWS, QUEENS
    From The Economist print edition

    Michael Bloomberg sets out a bold new vision for his city
    Corbis
    IN ITS early days New York was a city that looked forward. Its street grid was designed for 1m people at a time when the population barely topped 100,000. Central Park was planned 150 years ago in a swamp nowhere near the heart of Manhattan, which was then still downtown. The subway was built 100 years ago when much of New York was still farmland. But the city lost the vision thing about 50 years ago, as it slipped into what appeared to be an inexorable process of decline.

    The best evidence of how much things have improved in New York is the fact that its mayor is again thinking visionary thoughts about the future. Although the city's fortunes started to recover under the strict hand of Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s, as recently as five years ago—when the terrorists attacked—it was easy to fear the worst for New York. But this week Michael Bloomberg, who succeeded Mr Giuliani soon after those attacks, unveiled a 25-year plan for upgrading the city. If it is implemented, it may have a bigger impact than the city's two greatest builders: Fiorello LaGuardia, mayor in the 1930s and 1940s, who oversaw massive public works programmes and built airports, and Robert Moses, who dominated urban planning in the middle of the 20th century, building roads, bridges and tunnels.

    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. First, he expects New York's population, already at a record high, to grow by around 1m by 2030, to 9m. Second, the city's infrastructure—much of it a century old—is crumbling, and needs to be upgraded. Third, the city must become much greener.

    To transform New York into a “sustainable city” Mr Bloomberg has set ten goals, to be monitored by a new Sustainability Advisory Board made up of scientists, scholars, academics, city planners and environmentalists. 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.

    Wisely, Mr Bloomberg left the details of how to implement his vision to another day—probably in March. It will not be cheap, and cash will have to be found from somewhere. The influence over federal money enjoyed by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Charlie Rangel, now that the Democrats rule Congress, will help. So too might a more constructive relationship with the state, if the new governor, Eliot Spitzer, can bring Albany to heel as effectively as he did Wall Street. Happily, the city's bond rating is as good as it has ever been, and the financial alchemists in City Hall last week raised $2 billion to fund a West Side subway extension: a feat that may portend other creative money-raising.

    The plan builds on work that Mayor Bloomberg has already put in train. Much of the city has been re-zoned to allow a better mix of offices (again in short supply), industrial activities and housing. Some $4 billion has been committed to finishing a third tunnel to bring water into the city, $1.6 billion to build a badly needed water-filtration plant and $13 billion for the most ambitious school-building upgrade ever. A former landfill, once the world's largest, will soon be the biggest new park to open in a century.

    Upgrading the city's power supply, and making it far greener, seems certain to be one crucial battleground. Another hugely controversial issue will be whether, and how, to introduce congestion pricing for vehicles, probably at first in the bottom half of Manhattan. Mr Bloomberg is known to admire London's congestion charge. Having seen off smoking in the city's bars, he ought to be ready for what is perhaps an even greater political challenge. For the moment, he is still hesitating.

    In general, though, he is a mayor in a hurry—and not just because, as rumour has it, he is considering a run for the presidency. His goal is to make the implementation of his vision for the city as irreversible as possible; for it is more than likely, after he steps down in 2009, that politics in New York will return to their bad, old, shortsighted ways.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt View post
    A lot of NYC's growth has come from Queens.
    Hope I'm not hijacking the thread, but you make a good point. I don't know much about New York, but I would bet what you say is true -- everyone thinks NYC is growing because of Manhattan's continued gentrification, but the real growth is in the outer boroughs.

    Here in Chicago, many people made the mistake of saying the city had a population increase because of the redevelopment and subsequent growth of the near west and near south neighborhoods near the Loop. Fact is they had minimal increases in population; the real growth was in the Latino areas of the northwest and southwest sides.

  12. #12
    Shouldn't we, as planners, keep cities from becoming obsolete through capital improvement planning and nudging (jack-hammering when necessary) the political will to do so, and fund it?
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
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  13. #13
    20th century Manhattan was built as a subway city. It should be no surprise that infrastructure is not keeping up with traffic conditions. They allowed demand to increase substantially by covering the island with skyscrapers but did not expand capacity.

    If you're not going to expand capacity, you have to put a limit on demand. Congestion zoning is the only way to go.

    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    Shouldn't we, as planners, keep cities from becoming obsolete through capital improvement planning and nudging (jack-hammering when necessary) the political will to do so, and fund it?
    Cities don't become obsolete. They become dysfunctional or abandoned. Whose job is it to intervene on the functionality of the city if not the planners?

  14. #14
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fort lauderdale love View post
    There's a short article about Mayor Bloomberg's vision plan for NYC in the Economist online edition. Today they have a free pass for premium content, if anyone wants to check it out.
    Moderator note:
    Threads merged.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  15. #15
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by passdoubt
    Manhattan's population today is lower than it was in the 1940s.
    It's hard to imagine but true. Although Lower East Side turn-of-the-century squalor ala Jacob Riis photos wouldn't be something to emulate. Then it was a demographic of mass agrarian immigration (peoples with large families). Nowadays, public health, fire codes, and child labor laws are much better - thankfully, and the lifestyle shift toward empty nest singles and DINK couples means that even with a forest of forty-storey high-rise condos, modern Manhattan is still only about 60% as densly populated as it was during it's WWI peak.

    But when you add the effect of so many more commuters today and especially the impact of cars, Manhattan probably seems as congested as ever.
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    20th century Manhattan was built as a subway city. It should be no surprise that infrastructure is not keeping up with traffic conditions. They allowed demand to increase substantially by covering the island with skyscrapers but did not expand capacity.

    If you're not going to expand capacity, you have to put a limit on demand. Congestion zoning is the only way to go.
    The subway system has not significantly expanded since 1954. I'd sure love to see a congestion charge and have it go fund things like the badly needed 2nd Avenue Subway.

    When New York was on the ropes during the 70's, it was too financially strapped from the loss of its tax base to the burbs on Moses planned expressways to keep up with the necessary level of maintenance on the subway. The loss of population fueled the conditions favorable to high crime. Now the rise of population fuels the need for increased investment in public works. Hence the ever-present need for a vision of where things need to go based on where they are and have been.
    Last edited by dobopoq; 15 Dec 2006 at 11:14 PM.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  16. #16
    Sorry to bump an old thread, but I think it's great that NYC is actually thinking 24 years ahead. The city's website has a section of their website devoted to Bloomberg's vision, called PLANYC 2030. There's a PDF version of a brochure they included in the NYT a few months ago as well.

  17. #17
    After a lot of community meetings and soliciting of comments, the Mayor's office has issued a revised and detailed PlaNYC report.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/planyc2030/html/plan/plan.shtml

    They seem to really be focusing on improving mass transit and making the city greener, which are the two things in which I'm most interested. And it's not just broad strokes, they even have a 166-page technical assessment (large PDF) backing up their transportation ideas.

    Another interesting part of the plan is adapting/hardening the city to the projected effects of climate change--e.g. building sewage systems so they don't overflow when sea level rises, modifying building codes to deal with more violent weather, consider large-scale projects like seawalls.
    Last edited by brandonmason; 29 Apr 2007 at 8:07 AM.

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