One Vanderbilt features direct access to Grand Central Terminal. Credit: Evan Joseph.

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Forth Bagley Discusses the Future of New York City’s Commercial Districts with Crain’s

The KPF Principal explored solutions to aid the city’s transformation in a recently published op-ed titled “New York Isn’t Dying, It Just Has To Change.”

Citing recent reporting around an exodus to New York’s suburbs and the sharp decrease in office occupancy, Forth explains how we can leverage the current moment to create a more resilient city. “It would be a mistake to conflate challenges to the traditional office building with those of the American city, especially New York,” Forth states. “To write off our city because we identify it as purely a center of work is to underappreciate how much it has been a magnet of innovation, activity, and leisure, particularly over the last twenty years, as well as to lose the opportunity to project how the city will be occupied in the future.”

Forth highlights ways in which the city, and its commercial districts in particular, can evolve to better serve users and the urban realm. Hybrid work and other “technological advances of the last two decades has fundamentally benefitted urban residents more than their suburban and rural counterparts, unlocking the commercial and social viability of neighborhood after neighborhood,” notes Forth. Further, he explains that districts previously dedicated to offices should be reimagined into dynamic and economically resilient mixed-use centers. And lastly, Forth points out that office space as a program is shifting to benefit the user. He writes, “Our new office buildings will look radically different in ten years, reflecting how we work alongside AI, accommodate hybrid and reduced workforces, and focus on environmental, physical, and mental health.”

In closing, Forth asserts that if “New York City can quickly adapt zoning and building codes, invest in environmental resiliency, and upgrade transportation infrastructure… it will be a story of urban innovation as we transform our highest density commercial environments to accommodate the way we all want to live.”

Read the full article on page 8 in the digital edition of Crain’s.