On November 2, the Forum convened four figures who have radically reconfigured the New York City urban landscape under Michael Bloomberg: Daniel Doctoroff, former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of NYC DOT; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of NYC Parks; and Adriaan Geuze, Principal of West 8 and Designer-in-Charge of Governors Island.

Doctoroff opened the evening by describing three key strategies as Deputy Mayor: transforming deindustrialized sites into residential, commercial, and open space assets; realigning government policy to increase global competitiveness; growing the city’s economic base. Sadik-Khan followed, exhibiting her celebrated transit-, bike-, and pedestrian-friendly projects: hundreds of miles of bike lanes, Select Bus Service, and new plazas along Broadway. The final item she presented was a rendering of Times Square: a hardscape likely to endear tourists and New Yorkers alike.

Benepe also had a great deal to boast: the development of the most open space since Robert Moses including visionary High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park projects as well as the planting of half a million trees ahead of schedule. In addition to the completed parks, Freshkills and others would continue to add to the Parks Department’s growing open space arsenal. Geuze described a paradigm shift whereby mayors, rather than private developers, were increasingly becoming clients–a welcome shift in making cities livable in a post-industrial era.

London urbanist Peter Murray moderated the ensuing conversation. He drilled Doctoroff on losing the Olympics to London, though Doctoroff maintained the Olympic Plan set into motion the transition of deindustrialized areas of the city into genuine assets for New Yorkers. When Sadik-Khan was challenged on the defeat of congestion pricing, she replied that its advent was not far off. Although panelists questioned whether future mayors would rip up bike lanes, halt tree plantings, and weaken PlaNYC, there was consensus that the next administration would have to be more ambitious about financing public works projects to make New York the most livable city in the world.

A printable transcript of this event is available to Forum Fellows by emailing web@ffud.org.

Photos:

Daniel Doctoroff, Janette Sadik-Khan, Adrian Benepe, Adriaan Geuze, Peter Murray


Daniel Doctoroff


Janette Sadik-Khan, Adrian Benepe, Adriaan Geuze


Adriaan Geuze and Peter Murray


Frances Halsband, Alex Garvin, and Rosalie Genevro


William Rawn, Connie Fishman, and Wendy Feuer


Carol Willis, Markus Dochantschi, and Abby Hamlin

 

VIDEOS

Forum Fellows interested in viewing a video of the event may email web@ffud.org for access information.