Friday, January 24th, 2014

Bloomberg’s New York

The weekly program the Urbanist on Monocle 24 internet ratio devoted its entire last two episodes to a retrospective of New York under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It’s a lot of material but there are great interviews with Amanda Burden, Dan Doctoroff, various journalists and more.

Here’s episode one (Click here for MP3 file if it doesn’t display for you):

And here’s episode two (Click here for MP3 file if it doesn’t display for you):


Cities: New York

3 Responses to “Bloomberg’s New York”

  1. CityBeautiful21 says:

    I listened to both of these earlier in the week and they’re excellent. The principal question raised for me was this- there is a claim by one of the interviewees that zoning had not changed in NYC since 1961 or sometime thereabouts.

    Is this true?

    If it is, then any critique of Bloomberg’s tenure that includes chiding him for not doing enough to stem gentrification must also grapple with the hand he was dealt, and the failure of those before him to provide more elasticity in the city’s housing stock.

    After losing 800,000 residents in the 1970s, the city’s population has increased ever since. How was the city supposed to hold the line on affordability with a basically static set of buildable air rights that could be bid up to exorbitant heights?

    I’m not saying that Bloomberg is immune to criticism here, but I do think that whoever was the first to change zoning after such a long period of inaction was bound to see the highest-margin, luxury residential projects rush in first.

  2. I believe the current zoning code came into being in 1961. There certainly have been rezonings and tweaks, so it wouldn’t be fair to say the city has been encased in amber since then. But I do think Bloomberg’s rezoning of a third of the city represents the most comprehensive change since the ’61 ordinance went into effect.

  3. pittzburgher11 says:

    I found the discussion concerning the trade-offs between leaving mid-town “aesthetically appealing” vs. remaking it in an “efficient” manner interesting. This is especially true when considering the comment that Manhattan is for the most part built out. Eventually you get to the point where older buildings are considered more expendable and less likely to be preserved for simply being from a different era.

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