Downtown Brooklyn Setting Pace for Innovative Urban Development, Report Finds
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, NYU Wagner's Rudin Center, and Appleseed Inc. unveiled a new report on Feb 23 at the Wagner school, explaining how Downtown Brooklyn became a major destination for innovative urban development, and offering ways to keep it that way.
The report, titled "Downtown Rising: How Brooklyn Became a Model for Urban Development," states that Downtown Brookyn is setting an ambitious pace for the rest of the city and providing a model for other burgeoning central business districts across the region and nationwide.
"You have the Brooklyn Bridge Park on one end, Barclays Center on the other, and in that is a massive amount of energy and activity which is spreading all the way down to Sunset Park and Industry City to all the way north in Greenpoint,” said Mitchell C. Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU Wagner, and Director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. Professor Moss,who moderated the breakfast forum centered on the report, added, “We believe Downtown Brooklyn's success is reflected in the number of new start-ups, households and cultural activities that have reinforced the superb quality of life in the borough."
Among the attendees was Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who spoke about not leaving behind the local residents as money continues to foster economic opportunities in Downtown Brooklyn.
At the same time, Senator Charles Schumer commented on the report, saying in a written statement: "Downtown Brooklyn has transformed into a 24 hour live, work, play neighborhood. Driven from creating a central business district as charted in the Group of 35 Report, to the tech boom in Brooklyn, businesses and people simply want to be here. Continuing these smart development policies are key to keeping Brooklyn on top."
Expanding Banking Access to the Poor: New Gates Foundation Initiative Based at Wagner
Now, a five-year Financial Access Initiative funded by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will bring together top researchers from Harvard, NYU, Yale, and Innovations for Poverty Action to assess existing research on global financial access, generate new evidence through field work, and inform regulatory policy.
"As donors in this space, it is critical that we make decisions informed by sound research," said Bob Christen, Director of Financial Services for the Poor at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope that the Financial Access Initiative will yield data, analysis, and research that decision makers need to deliver financial services that markedly advance the well being of the poor."
One of the biggest hurdles to opening up financial sectors to those living in poverty is a lack of hard data and analysis about how poor households manage their finances and cope with risk: which financial products do the poor use and why, who has access to what, at what cost and where. The impact of regulation and government policy on the broad availability of finance is still badly understood. Most fundamentally, despite the anecdotes, rigorous evidence is lacking on the economic and social impacts of different interventions and policies.
Director and Principal Investigator Jonathan Morduch said: "The Financial Access Initiative will systematically address important knowledge gaps and contribute to a much stronger understanding of the issues hindering access to good financial services."
Under the direction of Morduch, a professor at New York University, the Initiative is based at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and is co-directed by professors of economics Sendhil Mullainathan of Harvard and Dean Karlan of Yale. Christina Barrineau, who formerly headed the International Year of Microcredit for the United Nations, will lead the Initiative as Managing Director.
Field research will be coordinated by Innovations for Poverty Action, an organization based in New Haven, Connecticut, and headed by Dean Karlan. The research will build on studies with existing microfinance partners in a dozen countries including Mexico, Peru, India, Pakistan, Ghana, and the Philippines. The Initiative is also developing new collaborative relationships to broaden the potential of the research and dissemination of findings.
To reach Christina Barrineau, call 212.998.7536 or send email to Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org.