A week ago we asked our readers to comment about why NYC’s middle class has vanished 44% faster than in the rest of the United States since 1970. We cited reasons suggested by a NYC think tank, the Center for an Urban Future. One of them: a NYC job mix that had “shifted away from positions that provide middle-income wages and benefits.”
In a companion 2009 report, “Building New York City’s Innovation Economy,” CUF suggested specific ways for NYC to encourage job growth in the tech sector, including linkages between research universities and tech entrepreneurs.
Such linkages already have been developed by individual research universities; in Brooklyn, SUNY Downstate Medical Center has been operating an Advanced Biotechnical Incubator for several years and is working with the NYC Economic Development Corporation to establish a biotechnical manufacturing center called BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
CUF’s recommendations have been embraced by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who recently announced “the creation of a Presidents Council for Manhattan’s Innovation Economy, [to be] made up of the presidents of the borough’s leading scientific universities and research institutions.”
Where this initiative goes depends a lot on the Presidents Council leadership and its ability to attract entrepreneurial capital. But, with major research institutions throughout the five boroughs, it’s an idea worth trying on a city-wide basis.
We hope Mayor Bloomberg and the other four borough presidents are paying attention.