It’s easy to label taxi drivers’ resistance to ridesharing companies as just a bunch of people trying to stop progress. This is, after all, what they are doing, since companies like Uber and Lyft represent a modern fix for the old urban scourges of congestion and immobility. But it is still worth noting the cabbies’ side of the story. [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more
On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a program to streamline the city’s criminal justice system. Called “Justice Reboot,” it will digitize various aspects of the city’s courts and jails, hopefully clearing up two backlogged institutions. The mayor launched it out of a “long-term commitment to bring the criminal justice system into the 21st century.” [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more
It is the golden age for park construction in Lower Manhattan. In under twenty years, the area encompassing the Hudson River waterfront from Battery Park up to Chelsea has received several new iconic spaces, thanks to a combination of public and private funding. Last week, a new one was announced for the mix, when billionaire couple Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg committed $113 million to build Pier 55. [read the rest at Forbes]… Read more
To those well versed in modern urban American government, the resistance of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio to Success Academy must have felt familiar. Here was a charter-school network that had improved the outcomes of poor minority students, in some cases by 75 percent over similarly situated public schools, and the mayor nearly stopped its expansion before New York governor Andrew Cuomo intervened.
De Blasio’s move would have affected only several hundred children in one city, but it symbolized why government fails in big cities generally.… Read more
At a recent Atlantic Media panel on global urban issues, Amanda Burden, New York City’s planning director, discussed how challenging it has been to make housing affordable in that city.
“What we haven’t figured out,” she said, “is the question of gentrification.”
Her term referred to the displacement of New York’s poor residents by the professional class that is moving into Harlem, certain neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and elsewhere. This has increased rents, uprooting many households and sending people in search of cheaper neighborhoods, sometimes outside the city altogether.… Read more
After being elected New York City’s mayor in 2002, Michael Bloomberg quickly expanded on the city’s vast progress from the 1990s. He combined predecessor Rudolph Giuliani’s reforms in welfare and policing with his own, by rezoning much of the city’s land for needed housing, reducing public school inefficiencies, and finally advancing major transportation projects like the 7-train extension and rapid buses. Along with these he pioneered small changes in the urban fabric—from the High Line Park to an automobile-free Times Square—that may have seemed insubstantial to outsiders, but were appreciated by New Yorkers both real and at heart.… Read more