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PODCAST: The Real Estate Case For A Private-Car-Free Manhattan

In this series, Make Yourself At Home, we are hearing from members of the commercial real estate industry about how they are managing this new reality and gaining insight into their day-to-day approaches. You can subscribe on iTunes and Spotify.

Vishaan Chakrabarti

In this episode, we hear from Vishaan Chakrabarti, who is the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism and now dean of the University of California, Berkeley College of Environmental Design. He was also an urban planning official in former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration.

This summer, Chakrabarti and his firm published an ambitious proposal in The New York Times, envisioning what Manhattan would be like if private cars were banned across the borough. Traffic would decrease by 60%, PAU found, and bus commutes would be much quicker.

On the podcast, Chakrabarti said New Yorkers' quality of life in the city would soar and it would help create more valuable real estate — though he acknowledges that part of the business community may see this kind of idea as a risk.

“Cornelius Vanderbilt created [the] world’s most valuable real estate when he did [Park Avenue], and the High Line, when we created public space, created some of the world’s most valuable real estate. When we created Central Park, we created some of the world’s most valuable real estate,” Chakrabarti said on the podcast. “So the idea that this is somehow an anti-business idea, it’s crazy. It doesn’t hold up to history.”