Governing the Metropolis: New York and the Metropolitan Region

New York

City Profile:

New York is the 27 th - most extensive, fourth-most populous and seventh-most densely populated U.S. state. As of 2016 it had an estimated population of 8.55 million. New York City makes up over 40% of the population of New York State. New York City is an important center for international diplomacy, and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.

Nueva York



Thomas K. Wright is President of Regional Plan Association (RPA), an independent urban planning think tank focused on improving the prosperity, infrastructure, sustainability and quality of life of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region. As a leading thinker on urban and regional policy, Wright is a frequent speaker, lecturer, and commentator on economic growth and development, roads and transit, good governance, and other public policy issues. He has steered many key RPA initiatives, including the historic Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York following the September 11, 2001, attacks; the campaign to create a mixed-use district at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards; the protection of the New Jersey Highlands; and a vision for the revitalization for the City of Newark. He also played a key role in the creation of A Region at Risk, RPA’s influential third plan for the metropolitan region published in 1996, and he is guiding the organization’s development of a fourth regional plan.



The case of New York metropolitan region presents a case of historical decline in metropolitan governance. It shows the lack of institutionalism and the discontinuity of public policies that onced favored sustainable mobility and the generation of quality public spaces. Some examples are analyzed in-depth, such as The Port of New York Authority and the TriBorough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. While the region has grown, prospered and seen changes, the institutions have remained stagnant or have been influenced by political cycles.

The article critically analyzes the governance structure, which fragmentation poses major challenges for urban management and planning, particularly because of the lack of coordination in public policy and investment. The three states -New York, New Jersey and Connecticut- squabble over funding and compete for business, rather than understanding their collective destiny. Though funding presents its problems, the greatest challenge for New York Metropolitan Region is not paying for the projects, but agreeing on new systems to address the shortcomings in the planning, financing, governance, and implementation of regional infrastructure.