For almost a decade David Burney has been Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction in New York City. In an interview with Places editor Nancy Levinson, he reflects on the urban design record of the Bloomberg years, focusing especially on PlaNYC, the ongoing post-Sandy recovery effort, and the potential for cities to take the lead in 21st-century sustainability planning.
"Increasingly it's been our cities that have taken the lead on critical issues, from gun control to immigration reform to economic stimulus to climate change," he says. "Given the migration of people into cities worldwide, this trend is sure to continue. We might even be in a de facto transition to a society dominated by economically and politically powerful cities — a contemporary version of the great city-states that arose in the 13th century and ruled Europe until the consolidation of modern nation-states a few centuries later."