Updated: Jan 22, 2020
Cornell President Martha Pollock, opened the 2018 Long Island City Partnership (LICP) Summit by touting the benefits of the Cornell Tech campus - just a short ferry ride away from the restaurants, entrepreneurial space, and studios of Long Island City. She was impressed with the scale of thinking it took to shape both Long Island City and to develop the new Cornell Tech campus. Pollock tied that to a change instituted at the school: students work on teams to complete yearly capstone projects for companies like Apple and Google, and the companies typically propose that students solve specific problems by instituting specific solutions. This year, Cornell Tech forced a change, urging companies to pose broad questions to student teams to inspire new, creative, and broad-based thinking. The start of Apple and Google’s new questions began, “How might we…?”
“How might we…” also became a theme of the LICP Summit day, stretching across different panels and speakers who sought to encourage the audience to engage in the entrepreneurial thinking that helps Cornell Tech, Long Island City, and our city as a whole to thrive. James Patchett, head of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, spoke about Sunnyside Yards and the way the visioning group behind early master plan stages is charged with figuring out “what this could be.” Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York, discussed the importance of strong narratives to shape “what could be.” Specifically, Wilde talked about the need for a comprehensive strategy to unite city agency efforts in Long Island City in order to form “a rounded story of education, workforce, and jobs,” just like the Brooklyn Navy Yard has done in recent years.
On another panel, NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, NYC Transit President Andy Byford, and NYC School Construction Authority’s Lorraine Grillo spoke about the need to create plans that span mayoral administrations. Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago and developers from Tishman Speyer and Innovo Group discussed the challenges and potential changes to industrial zoning in the neighborhood. In both conversations, officials talked about pushing the envelope beyond the standard bureaucratic processes to make lasting change in the city by rethinking industry and breaking free of the mayoral cycle.
As the day progressed, LICP President Liz Lusskin, her board members, and city and industry leaders expressed palpable and inspiring pride in the neighborhood’s growth and in looking proactively towards the future. Karp Strategies was excited to be present at the event, and looks forward to being engaged in Long Island City in the long term. More immediately, we left the Summit with a pressing desire to partner with our clients to ask, “How might we….”