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Stern's Urbanization Project Hosts a Conversation with Richard Florida and Fred Wilson

Conversations on Urbanization: Fred Wilson and Richard Florida

I don’t think we can discount how important the turnaround of New York City itself was.

The Emergence of Tech in New York

As a part of the Conversations on Urbanization series held by NYU Stern’s Urbanization Project, NYU Global Research Professor Richard Florida spoke with Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures in a public presentation on October 9. During the conversation, Wilson shared insights into factors that led to the emergence of the tech industry in New York City.

“I don’t think we can discount how important the turnaround of New York City itself was,” Wilson observed, noting that tech companies began to settle in the city in the mid-1990s as it became a safer place to live. He outlined how tech start-ups drew talent from San Francisco during the past decade as transportation improved and Brooklyn became an attractive place for middle class people to live. Additionally, “Google gave a huge gift to New York by building here.” Looking forward, Wilson predicted continued expansion of the industry as universities deliver strong technology programs in the city and the boroughs continue to offer workers a high standard of living and easy transportation. “I think the combo of Citi Bike and the water taxi will be phenomenal for the city,” he asserted. He noted that growing tech companies have been challenged to find space that will fit their needs, but innovative landlords are beginning to offer the short-term leases and open space layouts that the companies desire.

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