Tuesday, October 11, 2011
PlaNYC: Success or failure?
From Architectural Record:
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled PlaNYC in 2007, it was seen as a visionary proposal that would likely define his legacy. With the city’s population expected to rise from 8 million to 9 million by 2030, the catch-all initiative sought to make the city greener and more livable by increasing the number of mass-transit options, energy-efficient buildings, and parks, among other aspects. Many goals were designed to come to fruition long after Bloomberg left office in 2013, and in many ways, PlaNYC’s scope evoked Robert Moses, sans the emphasis on cars.
So how is PlaNYC faring four years after its launch? Opinions vary. Numerous aspects of the scheme, particularly its sustainability initiatives, are already visible across the city, in the form of new high-speed buses, stricter energy standards, and eco-friendly vehicles—and they score great reviews. But there also are critics who say changes have been slow to roll out and don’t improve the fortunes of all New Yorkers equally.
Tom Angotti, a professor of planning at Hunter College, takes issue with the general methodology of PlaNYC. It favors improving the lives of 1 million people who have yet to move to New York, he says, rather than the millions who are already here, many of whom are poor and need attention. Angotti notes that the plan was written by McKinsey and Company, a consulting firm that advises banks, pharmaceutical, and telecom companies, among others. “It’s an accountants’ approach to the city,” Angotti says, “not a planners’ approach.”