July 22, 2011
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants NYC to be the new capital of technology.
According to The New York Times, Bloomberg wants to bring a new engineering school to New York. To entice universities, Bloomberg is offering to contribute as much as $100 million as well as a chunk of public land for a selected university to expand or build a school of engineering and applied sciences. Bloomberg hopes the new school will help make the east coast city more competitive with the West Coast's Silicon Valley.
"During the 1980s and 90s, Silicon Valley--not New York--became the world capital of technology start-ups, and that is still true today. But if I am right--and if we succeed in this mission--it won't be true forever," said Bloomberg as quoted in a press release.
The "Applied Sciences NYC" Initiative was first unveiled in December 2010. After receiving a Request for Expressions of Interest from 27 top-tier institutions from around the world, Bloomberg announced he would move the process on to the next step and begin accepting proposals. City officials will evaluate proposals against a set of goals that were designed to improve New York City's economy and global competitiveness.
Universities have until the fall to submit a proposal and a winner will be selected by the end of 2011. The winning institution will develop their campus at one of three City-owned locations--the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island or on Governors Island. Crain's New York.com reported that Roosevelt Island is the most attractive option as it is close to Manhattan, public transportation and has easy access to Queens neighborhoods, a potential hotbed for startups. Though Bloomberg acknowledged that the city cannot catch up to Silicon Valley overnight, he still wants to begin the process as soon as possible--the first phase of the project will begin by 2015.
According to the press release, an economic impact analysis showed many benefits from a new engineering school in the city, including an estimated $6 billion in overall economic activity across the five boroughs by creating hundreds of new companies as well as some 30,000 jobs. The school would also create roughly $1.2 billion in direct and indirect taxes for the city.
According to Crain's New York.com, big-name universities, such as Stanford, Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, have already shown great interest.
"We have been in New York City a long time," said Cornell University President David Skorton. "This is part of our DNA."
Compiled by Heidi M. Agustin
"Bloomberg Pledges Money and Land for Engineering School," cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com, July 19, 2011, Patrick McGeehan
"Mayor Bloomberg Announces Request For Proposals For New or Expanded Engineering and Applied Sciences Campus in New York City," nyc.gov, July 19, 2011
"NYC to Silicon Valley: It's on," crainsnewyork.com, July 19, 2011, Daniel Massey