New York City aims to be the next Silicon Valley by attempting to attract excellent students and professors. But it's unclear whether this approach will make any gains for the city.
Mike Segar / Reuters / File
"The RFP is the next step in the initiative – unveiled in December 2010 – that seeks a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for access to City-owned land – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, or on Governors Island – and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration. The City is also prepared to make a significant investment in site infrastructure, offering up to $100 million in a competitive process designed to select the proposal that yields the most benefit to the City for the lowest commitment of City resources. The City expects that any public contribution will be matched several times over by resources raised by the winner or winners themselves."
Will excellent students and professors and new firms want to locate in these areas? I realize they need to be gentrified but will these "desirable engineers" want to live and work in these locations? If they do want to live and work in these locations, is it obvious that there will be a significant "spillover" effect that benefits incumbent New Yorkers such as my parents? Will the imported engineering nerds really make a discovery that they would not have discovered had they not been in NYC? It is true that access to Wall Street may offer some synergies as engineers seeking venture capital for their own version of Facebook will have an easy time getting to Wall Street to make a presentation but should city money be used to subsidize such activities?