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Center for an Urban Future

The genius of Mayor Bloomberg's plan to develop a new applied sciences campus in New York City is that it acknowledges the increasingly pivotal role of academic institutions as drivers of local economic growth. At a time when large corporations may not be the reliable job producers they were in the past and cities like New York badly need to generate new sources of job growth, universities are critical local anchors that employ thousands, spin out new businesses and train the workers needed by growing industries. But it is not just scientific research institutions and engineering schools--like the one that Cornell and Technion are building on Roosevelt Island--that provide this kind of spark. In New York, design and architecture schools arguably have been as, or more, important to the city's success in the innovation economy. New York design universities such as Parsons The New School for Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts have been critical catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth. Their graduates have produced dozens of start-up companies that set up locally--something that has eluded most of the city's scientific research institutions. Thus far, the "innovation economy" initiatives advanced by city and state officials have largely overlooked design universities. This is a missed opportunity in a city that is arguably more of a creative hub than a high-tech center. As this report demonstrates, New York's design universities are already a key piece of the city's innovation infrastructure. But at a time when designers are having a growing influence on everything from smart phones to the delivery of health care services, these institutions are poised to play an even more central role in New York's economic future. Drawing from a wide range of institutional data, survey results, and extensive interviews with more than 50 academic leaders, educators, entrepreneurs and business executives in New York's design and architecture communities, this report documents the contributions of design and architecture schools to the New York City economy. It assesses the breadth of programs and educational assets and evaluates trends with respect to enrollment, employment, spending and business creation. (Contains 27 endnotes.)

Descriptors: Architectural Education, Design, Art Education, Urban Universities, Innovation, Economic Development, Urban Areas, Enrollment, Talent Development, Foreign Students, Entrepreneurship, College Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Approach, Business Administration Education, Partnerships in Education

Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:

Autor: Giles, David


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