Michael Bloomberg asked me to be his planning commissioner and put me in charge of shaping the entire city of New York.  And he said to me on that very day, that New York was projected to grow from eight to nine million people.  And he asked me, “So where are you going to put one million additional New Yorkers?”

In this TED talk Amanda Burden talks about the importance of creating great public spaces.  Amanda has helped create some of New York City’s best outdoor spaces including Battery Park,  the High Line and Brooklyn’s waterfront.  She says that when she thinks about cities she thinks about people, where they go and where they meet.  She begins her talk with one of my favorite spaces in New York City, Paley Park.

“So what’s the trick? How do you turn a park into a place that people want to be?  Well, it’s up to you, not as a city planner but as a human being.  You don’t tap into your design expertise.  You tap into your humanity.  I mean, would you want to go there?  Would you want to stay there?  Can you see into it and out of it?  Are there other people there?  Does it seem green and friendly”  Can you find your very own seat?”

“A successful city is like a fabulous party.  People stay because they are having a great time.”

Bravo NYC.  Hopefully other cities will also continue to work on implementing great outdoor spaces.



Amanda Burden is “arguably the most influential figure in New York City government, next to Mayor Bloomberg.”

Vanity Fair, May 2010