Better Infrastructure needed to Advance NYC Tech, Building the Digital City Panelists Say

Infrastructure obstacles and bringing fresh ideas to the market were among discussions at Building the Digital City, a multidisciplinary conference organized by the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University last week.

Real Estate and Technology industry professionals gathered at the Nov 1 event to discuss the future of New York City and solutions to tech problems in the city. Broadband expansion and fiber were also mentioned among discussions.

Digital CityPanelists shared opinions and agreed that infrastructure problems facing landlords and smaller businesses are slowing the spread of technology.

Among panelists and participants at the event were Arie Barendrecht, Partner, WiredNYC,  Andrew Rasiej, Chairperson NY Tech Meetup, Tom Touchet, President and CEO of City 24/7 and Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

While hurricane Sandy was mentioned as a small obstacle of expansion, discussions were raised about how to make the city better for smaller technology companies who want to bring headquarters or open additional offices to the city.

Creating more tech friendly spaces for the creative class in technology and the arts was also discussed. The growth of the creative class in Brooklyn, who has more tech friendly spaces.

MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of Forest City Ratner, a commercial real estate developer in the city, said there needs to be more real estate options to draw and keep the creative class who spaces to accommodate pets, bicycles and a more modern lifestyle in metro area. “The creative class has been living in Brooklyn by design, not because they can’t afford Manhattan,” She said.

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