Testimony of Kathryn S. Wylde
President & CEO
Partnership for New York City
Before the New York City Planning Commission
For the Public Hearing on The New York University Core Project
April 25, 2012
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on the NYU 2031 Core Expansion Plan, part of New York University's long-term framework for growth.
The Partnership for New York City represents the city's business leadership and its largest private sector employers. We work together with government, labor and the non-profit sector to promote economic growth and job creation in New York. We believe that NYU's expansion plans in Greenwich Village will contribute in very important ways to New York's future as a global center of education, research and innovation.
When considering an institutional expansion plan, it is easy to focus on the physical elements of redevelopment in our very densely developed city. For the immediate neighborhood, in particular, attention goes to building size, obstruction of view corridors, and loss of open space. But when eighing the relative community benefits and intrusions associated with the expansion of a great university, we would urge everyone to look further and reflect upon the intangibles.
When I think about NYU's expansion, the first things that come to mind are the contributions of the Wagner School, the Rudin Transportation Institute and the Furman Real Estate Institute. A huge share of New York's most important public policy makers, expert planners, thoughtful urbanists and civic leaders are graduates these schools. NYU houses important institutes like the Brennan Center, which has led efforts to reform Albany, and the Research Alliance for the New York City Schools, which provides for independent analysis and public reporting of the impact of education policies and programs. No program had more impact on the creation of Silicon Alley and the emergence of the 7,000 tech companies and 90,000 new tech jobs in the city than the NYU Media Lab, led by Red Burns. And few institutions have contributed more to the resurgence of the film industry in the city than the Tisch School of the Arts that trains the industry's most productive talent.
These are only a handful of the dozens of critical schools and programs at NYU that require physical space and support facilities. These programs are making enormous contributions to the city that will be enhanced and sustained by the proposed expansion. These are the assets that the Planning Commission needs to weigh against the physical intrusion that any significant development will make in virtually any established community of New York.
The nexus between NYU's success, and the success of our overall city economy is strong. We all recognize that NYU is a large employer and a magnet for bringing fresh talent to the city. We know that graduates of NYU disproportionately stay in the city, working in business, government and the non-profit sector. NYU also generates intellectual property that is the basis for business creation and triggers billions of dollars in private investment.
Like other great universities, NYU is in global competition for top educators, researchers and students. To be successful, universities must offer state of the art facilities. On its current campus, NYU has approximately half the square footage per student as Columbia, one-quarter as much as Harvard. To maintain its world class status, New York University must expand and modernize its facilities. The NYU 2031 Core Expansion is the key to the university's future, and to its continuing contribution to the New York economy.
We urge the Commission's support of this expansion proposal, for which the university has struggled to achieve a balance between their needs and the sensibilities of their neighbors. NYU is an anchor of the city's past and future success, and accommodating its next generation of growth is the least we as a city can do to recognize and support this fine New York institution.