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08 APRIL, 2002
Lower Manhattan should be rebuilt but "decisions made on rebuilding and the memorial should move slowly enough to allow appropriate reflection, grieving" and the public's ongoing participation says the final report issued by The Civic Alliance To Rebuild Downtown New York from its February 7th "Listening To The City" citizens' forum.
The text of the full report is available here [PDF format]
Further, the forum's over 600 participants agreed that any memorial erected at the World Trade Center site should honor the "individual victims" and the innocence, strength, diversity and courage of the rescue workers and the "everyday people" killed on September 11th.
The Civic Alliance, a coalition of over 85 business, community and civic groups including the Regional Plan Association, the New York University Wagner School of Public Service and NYU School of Law, and New School University's Milano Graduate School, is convening a series of citizens' forums as a means for the general public to influence in a real way the recovery and rebuilding process. The initial gathering of February 7th allowed participants to discuss and vote on preliminary guiding principles for rebuilding and the essence of a memorial, and the report of those findings has been presented to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to help guide its planning efforts.
"The participants of the first meeting came from all walks of life - downtown residents and workers, families of victims and survivors, emergency and rescue workers, business and property owners, interested citizens and community leaders," said Arthur J. Fried, executive director of the NYU Wagner School's Center for Excellence in New York City Governance.
Fried said, "These people came together and forged a common vision of the values and principles of rebuilding that represent the aspirations, memories and pride of New York and the metropolitan region."
"What emerged was a remarkable consensus on the ways to transform Lower Manhattan into the world's first great 21st Century urban space while at the same time creating a powerful memorial integrated into the very fabric of downtown," said Robert D. Yaro, president of the RPA and a convener of the Civic Alliance.
Some of the other key findings of the February 7th meeting regarding the future of downtown Manhattan are:
The February 7th forum used "Electronic Town Meeting" tools developed by AmericaSpeaks, a nationally-recognized nonprofit that organizes similar large-scale civic forums, to gather this information. Guided by trained facilitators, participants gathered into groups of 10 to 12 people each to brainstorm and discuss their ideas. Results of each of several thematic conversations were collected by means of a network of wireless laptop computers and polling keypads, and the consensus of the entire 600 plus person group on many issues was tallied.
Dennis Smith, NYU Wagner Associate Professor for Public Policy, was recently interviewed about New York City policing and his study of the New York Police Department's "Operation Impact" by the BBC and, separately, by a Brazilian news program (go to link below, click video box No. 2, then click new video titled "Tolerencia"). The interviews are part of the elevated profile that his recent research work on "Operation Impact," a method of hot-spot policing, has received. Professor Smith's expertise was also called upon by The New York Times. The newspaper interviewed him in December, 2007, about the overall effectiveness of the policing program (link to the article below).
After working for more than four years alongside Mayor Cory Booker to improve public education in the City of Newark, NYU Wagner alumnus De'Shawn Wright (MPA '02) has garnered an exciting new position in public service -- he has been named the new deputy mayor for education by Washington, D.C., Mayor-elect Vincent Gray. The Mayor-elect was quoted referring to Wright and another new appointee as "top-notch professionals" in policy and management for large and complex urban school systems.
Gray chose Wright, who formerly worked for the New York City Department of Education, on the strength partly of his school reform work in Newark, N.J. In addition, Wright served as a partner with the Newark Charter School Fund, which was successful in gathering support to help fund the city's charter schools.
Since graduating from Wagner, Wright has returned to Wagner on numerous occasions, including in 2009 for a public event with Mayor Booker. We wish him well as he begins his latest leadership position.