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    Mind the Gap: Transit Lessons from New York and London

    Organized by the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) in partnership with the Centre for London, LSE Cities, and the Regional Plan AssociationAs global cities and financial centers, New York City and London have much in common—not least their transportation history. Both committed early to underground rail transportation as a way to ease mounting surface congestion, supporting private franchises which would later become component parts of a municipally owned and operated transit system. In New York, this transit investment followed demand—with rail and later subway connections mimicking the growth of the city northward and eastward from its origins in lower Manhattan. In London, transit investment in many cases led demand:  early underground lines connecting central rail stations were followed by lines stretching out of the city to reach undeveloped land and create new commuter suburbs. 

    The early history of London’s tube is instructive, as London is once again looking to transit investment to help shape the future growth of the city. Over the last three decades, numerous ambitious transit projects—from the Docklands Light Railway to the Jubilee Line Extension and London Overground rehabilitation—have helped to redefine the neighborhoods and hence the property markets in which they are set. Indeed the tie between the two is so strong that the uplift in value resulting from these rail extensions and improvements is now a key ingredient in their funding.

    New York, in contrast, has seen no real geographic expansion of its underground rail system over this period. Capital expenditure has instead been focused on bringing the subway system up to a state of good repair and on providing new capacity to relieve oversubscribed rail corridors, such as the Lexington Avenue line on Manhattan’s east side. With the exception of the 7 line extension now under construction, economic development goals have not featured prominently as a factor in the prioritization of transit investments.

    For two cities that are considered similar in many ways, the difference in approaches to transit investment is marked. Why has one global city chosen to move forward on so many transit-based economic development initiatives while another has not? What has led to London’s success in using rail transit to regenerate huge swathes of the city? How have these projects been financed? What role have public and private actors played over time in their success? How and what might New York learn from London’s experience? What changes to existing governance or laws might encourage or allow similar investments to be made in New York?

    Organized by the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) in partnership with the Centre for London, LSE Cities, and the Regional Plan Association

    Sponsored by the Durst Family Fund for Research
    Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:00am
    Casa Italiana, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

    9–9:15am Welcome and Conference Goals
    Vishaan Chakrabarti, The Center for Urban Real Estate, Columbia University GSAPP
    Kate Ascher, Milstein Professor of Urban Development, Columbia University GSAPP

    9:15–9:45am  Keynote: The View from London
    Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor of London, Transport

    9:45–10:45am Transport and Urban Development
    This first panel provides a short introduction to the evolution of urban transit in New York and London. Both cities have old transport systems that have been the subject of recent renewal and, in London’s case, expansion. The panel discusses how transport infrastructure in these cities has historically shaped the urban form, both at the metropolitan and at the city level, through related real estate development.
    David King, Columbia University
    Nicky Gavron, London Council Planning Chair
    Jeffrey Zupan, Regional Plan Association
    Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation
    Moderated by Tony Travers, London School of Economics

    10:45–11am  Coffee Break

    11–12pm  Who Drives Who? Transport Infrastructure and Economic Development
    The second panel discusses the link that exists today between transport investment and economic development. It will evaluate the impact of public transport projects on land value, real estate development, and ultimately economic growth in the two cities. Using recent examples ranging from the extension of the DLR to the Olympic site to the London Overground, the panel comments on how the extension or rehabilitation of existing rail lines has created space for growth – and examines why this form of growth has been almost exclusively limited to London.
    Ian Lindsay, Crossrail Land & Property
    Andy Altman, former CEO, Olympic Legacy Development Corporation
    Seth Pinsky, New York City Economic Development Corporation
    Robert Paley, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
    Moderated by Mitchell Moss, Rudin Center, NYU

    12–12:45pm  Networking Lunch

    12:45–1:15pm  Keynote: The New York View
    Michael Horodniceanu, MTA Capital Construction Company

    1:15–2:15pm  Whose Responsibility? Institutional Challenges for Regional Transit
    This panel examines the challenges associated with multiple institutional levels involved in the planning and implementation of public transport projects. It will contrast the trajectory of projects like the ARC tunnel and the Second Avenue subway with the outcome of those like the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line—projects deliberately implemented for economic development purposes. Drawing on these and other examples, the panel will explore ways that the challenges of existing governance structures might be overcome as part of developing new models for investment in transit infrastructure in the future.
    Steven Norris, Former Minister of Transport, London
    Ben Rogers, Centre for London
    Sam Schwartz, Sam Schwartz Engineering
    Kathryn Wylde, Partnership for New York City
    Moderated by Robert Yaro, Regional Plan Association

    2:15–3:15pm Financing Transport: Private Capital for Public Projects
    This panel explores issues around the financing of transport infrastructure, including the nature of public-private partnerships supporting these projects. Drawing on lessons learned from current projects such as Crossrail and the Battersea extension to the Northern Line in London, and contrasting them with the experience of the #7 line in New York, the panelists will reflect upon new and alternative funding strategies being deployed in London to underpin major infrastructure projects and the more limited role private financing has played to date in New York.
    John Dickie, London First
    Peter Anderson, Canary Wharf Group / Board of Transport for London
    Jeff Rosen, Metropolitan Transportation Authority
    Jay Kriegel, Related Companies
    Moderated by Carl Weisbrod, HR&A Advisors

    3:15–3:45pm  Networking Break

    3:45–4:45pm Now What? Making Progress in New York and London
    Having discussed a wide range of issues, this last panel explores the possibilities for progress—on a political, institutional, and financial level. It takes into account lessons learned and explores what needs to be done going forward to allow New York to reap some of the benefits in terms of economic growth and vitality that London’s recent investment in its transport system has produced.
    Tony Travers, London School of Economics
    Bob Yaro, Regional Plan Association
    Carl Weisbrod, HR&A Advisors
    Mitchell Moss, Rudin Center, New York University
    Moderated by Kate Ascher, Milstein Professor of Urban Development, Columbia University GSAPP, Columbia University GSAPP

    4:45–5pm Closing Remarks
    Vishaan Chakrabarti, The Center for Urban Real Estate, Columbia University GSAPP, Columbia University
    Thursday, April 11, 2013
    Casa Italiana, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue