The Origins of Bloomberg's PLANYC

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at Regional Planning Association annual meeting. Photo by Ethan Arpi.

In The World In 2008 – a supplement to the Economist – Mayor Bloomberg outlines some of the aims and inspirations for his super-ambitious PLANYC, a city-led initiative to convert New York City into one of the greenest mass human developments on earth. Mayor Bloomberg’s Plan, like New York City itself, is a postmodern mash-up with ideas and inspirations taken from cities around the world. In the Mayor’s own words:

In developing the climate-change strategies that underpin PlanNYC, we drew on the experiences of Berlin for our renewable-energy and green-roof policies; Hong Kong, Shanghai and Delhi for our innovative transit improvements; Copenhagen for our pedestrian and cycling upgrades; Chicagoand Los Angeles for our plan to plant 1m more trees; Amsterdam and Tokyo for our transit-oriented development policies; and Bogotá for our plans for Bus Rapid Transit.

The Mayor also mentions London, Stockholm and Singapore as inspirations for his congestion pricing proposal, one of the more controversial measures of his plan. (See: What Is Congestion Pricing?)

There’s an interesting story behind many of Bloomberg’s proposals; they come from cities in the developing world, places where municipal funds are hard to come by so every project must be constructed carefully for it to succeed. Another interesting point is that city leaders are increasingly communicating with each other, exchanging ideas and success so that they can be replicated throughout the world.

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