Episode 9: The Future of Cities will be a new chapter of the award-winning, 17 1/2-hour public television series New York: A Documentary Film. Episode 9 is a dramatic and compelling consideration of the forces that have transformed New York at the start of the 21st century: the most stunning era of growth and change, challenge and opportunity since the events of September 11th, and since the New York series’ last look at the city as a whole.
In a way that would have been literally unimaginable just thirty years ago, New York has sought to transcend the narrative of inexorable economic decline and intractable social conflict that defined older cities in the second half of the 20th century for more than fifty years. Exploring the dramatic changes to the physical fabric of New York – along its miles of reclaimed waterfront, in its host of new public spaces (including Brooklyn Bridge Park and the High Line), and, not least, in the redevelopment of Ground Zero and of lower Manhattan as a whole – this new episode will document how that stunning transformation has occurred – and what it means for the life of the city, the nation and the world.
Along the way, it will explore in dramatic detail how New York City has grappled on the local level with critical issues of immigration, diversity, growth, economic change, climate change, social justice and governance – issues that have become critical challenges around the globe – demonstrating and affirming, in the end, that in many ways the entire world in the 21st century is rapidly acquiring the characteristics of the modern city New York has pioneered for four hundred years – and that New York remains, as it enters its fifth century as a metropolis, the pre-eminent and in most respects most successful urban laboratory on the planet: a place where the challenges and opportunities of modernity are confronted with an intensity and vision unparalleled in the world – and where the most critical human experiment on earth continues to unfold: the crucial, sometimes harrowing experiment, to see if all the peoples of the world can live together in a single place.
Kenneth T. Jackson and Ray Suarez are joined by a whole new generation of diverse and eloquent New York voices, speaking to the meaning and significance of the city that has emerged over the past fifteen years, including writer Suketu Mehta, urbanists Ester R. Fuchs and Vishaan Chakrabarti, urban theorist David Owen, activist Majora Carter – as well as Michael R. Bloomberg, Dan Doctoroff, Michael Kimmelman, Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Bill De Blasio, who will offer their unique perspectives on the transformation of this city of cities.