It is clear from the readings that Mayor Bloomberg had an immense impact on the growth and “rebirth” of New York City post-9/11. According to Larson, from the start, Bloomberg and his administration planned to “reshape” the environment of New York City on a Robert Moses type scale. Their strategy for rebuilding the city came from synthesizing the views of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs on urban planning. The Bloomberg administration’s agenda to rebuild New York City, maintained the actual ideas of Jane Jacobs that “won over” New York City (mainly the importance of diversity) by using the aggressive tactics of planning and building that Robert Moses has used (Larson 2013).
The main tool that the Bloomberg administration used to bring their plans into action was rezoning. They used rezoning as a tool to “build up” the city in height and density, promote a healthier economy, and get more “use” out of land that was initially set aside for industrial uses. In this way, during Bloomberg’s time as mayor, the number of housing units in the city increased by 5.3% and approximately 310,000 more people were able to live in the city from the areas that were rezoned between 2002 and 2009 (Schuerman 2013).
Rezoning in New York City brought about a change that was vital to the recuperation of the city after the 9/11 attack. However, it only brought about hope to certain groups of people. According to Schuerman, “Real estate developers say the biggest reason they built bigger and taller was because Mayor Bloomberg projected the sense that the city had a future, and that the future looked bright (at least to them and the people able to afford the 360-degree views from atop their towers)”(Schuerman 2013). This is a good point that was also implied in the assigned readings. While Bloomberg’s Plan was intended for the “well-being” of NYC residents, it was really only taking into account of certain classes of NYC residents. Because of rezoning, the cost of living in the city increased and people had to pay 6% more of their income to rent their homes than before the Bloomberg Plan (Schuerman 2013).
Intentionally or not, the Bloomberg Plan has caused tens of thousands of middle-class New Yorkers to leave the city because of the high cost of living that has come from rezoning (Schuerman 2013). We can see from this how one plan can have such different outcomes for different people. For the wealthy the Bloomberg Plan was the most efficient and “successful” plan to rebuild their city. And unfortunately, for the middle-class residents, this plan took their city away from them.
Larson S. (2013) “Building Like Moses with Jacobs in Mind”: Contemporary Planning in New York City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press
Schuerman M (2013) New York, the Vertical City, Kept Rising Under Bloomberg. http://www.wnyc.org/story/300641-how-new-york-vertical-city-kept-rising-during-bloomberg/ (last accessed 31 March 2017)