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The World Bank and Cities: Dawn of A New Era?

January 2, 2010
by Lawrence Gulotta

untitledClick here for the original article, The World Bank and Cities: Dawn of A New Era?
Neal Peirce / Dec 31 2009
It is fitting that we welcome the World Bank’s commitment to cities and the “dawn of a new era.

In my region, New York State, we have a “Downstate” mega metropolis of 8+ million people, NYC, and its surrounding suburbs of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland with over 5+million residents.

Mostly ignored by the intensely NYC based multi-media are the remaining fifty-three (53) counties of NYS comprising the so called “Upstate.”

There is a strong undercurrent of disaffection between the downstate megalopolis and the upstate counties. So strong, of late, that some political leaders are supporting legislation to create a separate 51st State comprising the non-NYC centered counties, “Upstate.”

Upstate suffers from declining population, anemic job creation/ high unemployment, significant pockets of rural and urban poverty, technological underdevelopment, and a strong cultural disaffection from powerful downstate NYC.

The significant Upstate cities, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Bingington, Niagara Falls,etc. have experienced de-industrialization, population loss, declining standards of housing maintenance and development, cultural and civic anomie. The academic and urban expert, Dr. Fred Siegel, recently described “Upstate, beyond Albany, ” as Appalachia.

The World Bank needs to focus some of its energies on assisting the vast “Upstate” NY region realize its potential in the 21st century, by working with the great University system, SUNY, and other civil and private institutions to rescue this vast region from its long-standing underdevelopment and stagnation. The alternative to doing nothing is to reinforce the separatist and know-nothing-ism currently in vogue.

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