Megaprojects in NYC: Their Role in Shaping Neoliberal Urban Policy

Authors: Gerardo Del Cerro Santamaria*, Fulbright Specialist
Topics: Global Change, Urban and Regional Planning, United States
Keywords: urban megaprojects, new york city, neoliberal urban agenda, globalization, political control
Session Type: Interactive Short Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galerie 2, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

We conceptualize UMPs as large-scale urban development projects that sometimes have an iconic design component, usually aim at transforming, or have the potential to transform, a city’s or parts of a city’s image and are often promoted and perceived by urban elites as crucial catalysts for growth and even as linkages to the larger world economy. In many instances, regaining global visibility is not only a quintessential urban economic strategy, but it also serves the purpose of symbolic or representational transformation, which is especially useful for regions and cities with distinct political identities.
In New York City, urban megaprojects have played this role over the decades. Megaprojects have contributed to rebranding the city and produce a global image for New York, largely associated to magnificent constructions, skyscrapers, and the power of reaching the almost unreachable.
In this paper, we will focus on the role of UMPs in shaping the neoliberal agenda that all NYC mayors since Koch have followed in the city. By explaining the genesis and impacts of megaprojects such as the New World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, Cornell Tech, Essex Crossing and others, we will try to shed light into the major role that UMPs have played and continue to play in urban strategies of “development,” “trickle-down economics,” “revitalization,” “gentrification” and the overall strategies of political control in New York City.

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