This is the time of year for lists. We asked ourselves: “What topics from New York City will hit the news outside of the city in 2015?” Here is our list of trends to watch in the five hottest categories.
Review: 2014 was a good year for NYC businesses with a record number of jobs created in New York City—around 90,000 across all sectors according to current city estimates.
What to watch for in 2015? Among the many interesting things, such as the creation of maker communities or the retail renaissance in the city, we are also following something different: New York City aims to become the center of bio-science in 2015. Why is this interesting? Essentially, the City is taking its successful playbook for tech development into other sectors. By teaming up with partners, dedicating space for specific industries, and creating new investment funds, the City aims not only to create jobs, but rather to develop an ecosystem that produces innovation and ensures sustainable job growth. The development around the Alexandria on the East Side of Manhattan is a great example, and has it all: State-of-the-art laboratories and office buildings, a strong global partner (Roche), and an investment fund leveraged with private money to a total of $140 million for the development of therapeutic (drug development) and non-therapeutic (diagnostics and devices) innovations. The investment fund is innovative in itself, so it is fair to say that cities from around the world will be watching NYC’s progress in 2015.
Review: 2014 was a constant positive development but without any big headlines like the Yahoo acquisition of tumblr in 2013. What to watch for in 2015? We looked beyond the next hot startup for broader developments in the tech sector. Here are our predictions: New York is among the leading hub for applied tech globally. This is already well known in the city and is slowly being recognized beyond New York. As a result, we will see companies and governments coming to New York City to learn, partner, and benefit from this development. What used to be a global competition to attract the best companies and jobs will become a collaboration that seeks to grow economic opportunities together.
Review: The search for new business models in media continued in 2014. A breakthrough was not expected and did not come. What to watch for in 2015? This was an easy pick for the established media outlets: Watch for more international executives at the helm of US media. The city’s top outlets are run by internationals, many former UK media executives. The Wall Street Journal and its former parent company, News Corp, are run by “old hands” in the city, British Gerard Baker and Australian Robert Thomson. The New York Times is now under the leadership of former BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson. New to the group will be another Brit, John Mickelthwait. This long-time editor-in-chief of The Economist, which became one of the most successful magazines in the US, was recently hired by Bloomberg Media. These internationals in New York are leading change beyond NYC as their every step is followed by media executives globally. How about new media ventures? Snapchat is moving into the old New York Times building and Vice is expanding in Brooklyn—the lines between old and new, “quality” and other forms of journalism are becoming even more blurry; sustainable performance in engagement and profits will determine success. Another interesting venture can be followed outside the US in 2015: DC-based Politico is expanding into Europe.
Review: International collaboration was not on Mayor de Blasio’s first year agenda in 2014.
What to watch for in 2015? The international agenda will grow in importance now that there are key people on board at both the Mayor’s office for international affairs and the NYCEDC. . Beyond that? “All politics are local” is a common phrase in the US and true in New York as well. However, as we’ve seen, New York City’s political ideas and concepts often go global—just think of the “broken window theory” in crime prevention, the “occupy” movement, or the swift development of an urban tech ecosystem. For 2015, the Mayor’s agenda against inequality will continue and will spread. With two years in office and the 2016 presidential race getting started, his “tale of two cities” agenda will be discussed and judged—in particular when the Democrats convene in Brooklyn for their 2016 convention. If this is the only topic the world hears about in 2015, it might be a good year in politics for the city.
What to watch for in 2015?: Just re-opened this week (so technically on the 2014 list) the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is a compass for understanding the modern world in terms of design. What started over 100 years ago as a “practical working laboratory” has become, after three years of renovation, an even more inviting place to explore and experience basic design elements and the nature of creativity. How design, art and creativity fit into the urban environment in particular, can be explored in the new Chelsea location of the Whitney museum of American Art starting in May 2015. While this alone will be impressive, we look forward to when the Culture Shed in the Hudson Yards opens in 2018. If you enjoy culture and can only make one trip to NYC, wait and come then. The 1.5 mile trip from the Whitney Museum over the High Line to the Hudson Yard Culture Shed will be worth the wait.