Bryant Park

Public Spaces

What Makes Bryant Park Successful?

Data collection, flexibility, constant improvements, and efficient private-sector management techniques.

A recent online article in Governing magazine by Steve Goldsmith (former mayor of Indianapolis and deputy mayor for operations for New York City, currently a professor of government at the Harvard Kennedy School) pointed to the transformation of Bryant Park as a model for public space managers looking to “deliver results more efficiently.”

Mr. Goldsmith posits that governments have more responsibilities than ever, and that “[t]he onslaught of responsibilities has outpaced changes in the available processes as public officials face hurdles in hiring, procurement and partnering that increase the time and effort necessary to produce positive change.” To effect this positive change more efficiently, public managers and civic organizations are seeking models that are “accountable to the public, but rely more heavily on private-sector management approaches.” 

Private-sector management approaches are what enabled Bryant Park Corporation to transform a dilapidated, crime-ridden public park that people avoided into New York City’s prime example of urban renewal, so Mr. Goldsmith spoke with BPC President Dan Biederman to learn more.

This valuable article points out many of the factors that make Bryant Park so successful: data-driven management; a sense of ownership over the area; a focus on customer service; steady incremental changes; and efficient contracting processes. We recommend Goldsmith’s article to those of you interested in Bryant Park or public space management in general. 

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