Sunday, May 08, 2011

From Lopate Show on NYU expansion controversy: how Atlantic Yards fits into the discussion

Yes, Atlantic Yards remains a touchstone in discussions of urban issues. During a 4/19/11 segment on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show regarding New York University's Expansion Plan, the topic came up at the end.



At 30:59, Lopate asked, "Do you think that the Atlantic Yards controversy fits into this discussion?"

"Absolutely," responded author and urbanist Roberta Brandes Gratz. "Because, as I try to show in my book [The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs], there are basically two ways at looking at the future of change in a city. One is these large, overbearing, urban-renewal-style Robert Moses kind of projects, in which you wipe out an existing fabric to build a new one of questionable quality or whether you try to fit in and build on existing assets, which is, as I point out in the book, the Jane Jacobs way."

If course it's hard to build a sports arena out of existing assets, but sports facilities are not economic saviors, which is why the city and state support for the Atlantic Yards arena is so questionable.

And there were industrial buildings in the Atlantic Yards footprint that had already been rehabilitated, and others awaiting such work. But there never was an open debate about what to do with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Vanderbilt Yard, much less the blocks adjacent.

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