Action plan released to reinvigorate New York City

Making New York
Work for Everyone
Conceptual Rendering of Greeley Square, for illustrative purposes only. Rendering by FXCollaborative

The New York State Governor and New York City Mayor have recently released the Making New York Work for Everyone action plan with forty initiatives to make New York City the best place to work and as a roadmap for the city’s future. The action plan results from six months of work by The New New York panel of civic leaders and industry experts.

New York City faces many issues that were either magnified or a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with reduced office workers and tourists coming into the city and many people leaving for other parts of the country. There is a need to reimagine the city beyond the previous era and reinvigorate the city beyond an employment and tourist hub.

The action plan seeks to create a path of equitable economic recovery and resurgence and to reimage how people work and enjoy the city. The action plan appears to be a collation of many initiatives (or plans) into one action plan to create a holistic approach.

Making New York
Work for Everyone
Conceptual Rendering of Broad Street. Credit: Downtown Alliance

The Making New York Work for Everyone action plan acknowledges various issues that it faces, including high office vacancy rates, long commutes across the five boroughs and regional rail, unaffordable housing, lack of childcare, reduced foot traffic, and that commuting daily to business districts is not coming back. It also acknowledges that zoning codes are a barrier to supporting affordable housing growth, green energy investment, repurposing vacant spaces (offices), and reducing restrictions to increase the flexibility of businesses (bike repair, catering, food order, etc.).

Making New York
Work for Everyone
Conceptual Rendering of Fifth Avenue. Credit: Fifth Avenue Association

The panel that oversaw the action plan was mostly made up of representatives from multinational and real estate companies; however, the plan was also formulated based on interviews with over 200 local and global experts that included representatives from architects, landscape architects, ASLA, AIA, Universities, Non-profits and other key stakeholders.

Flatiron Plaza and Worth Square
Conceptual rendering of Aerial View of Flatiron Plaza and Worth Square looking south from West 25th Street and Fifth Ave. for illustrative purposes only.
Credit: NYC DDC / AECOM and MNLA

For landscape architects, many initiatives impact their design practices, such as changes in business zoning, reducing commute times, and increasing affordable housing; however, the key initiatives of note include creating an NYC Director of Public Realm, making public realm improvements across the five boroughs, expand Open Streets program, activate space with programming, art, create permanent Open Restaurants program, invest in protected bike infrastructure, and more. These initiatives will not only improve the city but prove the opportunity for landscape architecture firms to create more city-shaping projects.

The Making New York Work for Everyone action plan sets out the key agencies, key outputs, next steps, and milestones for three and seven-year timeframes with target metrics and implementation needs. The action plan is a key driver to create change within the city of New York and also creates a basis for many other cities to look to the future in a post-COVID world.

Find out more about the Making New York Work for Everyone action plan at

About Damian Holmes 3312 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at