Big is beautiful project for Roosevelt Island. By Hugues Thorin

Silicon island

The USA is the home of high-tech. Google, Apple, HP, etc. are located in Silicon Valley, California.

Roosevelt Island is a long strip beside Manhattan. It has been used as a prison, a mental asylum, and an isolation ward...

What is the link between Silicon Valley and Roosevelt Island? None up to now, but Roosevelt Island will soon be transformed into New York’s version of Silicon Valley… Silicon Island so to speak.

But why New York and not say, Washington, the Federal capital?

It is because New York is not only an international city, it is also a city which has soul! Sure, NYC lives for the now and for the future, but it also cherishes its amazing cultural heritage. Any business settling in NYC buys into that strong image, that plethora of historic landmarks and "culture"...

Seth Pinsky is the person in charge of New York's economic development. He thinks that the project for the island will be different from anything that exists anywhere else in the world; it is also for economic reasons that New York City has been selected for the project. It includes industries, a technologies campus and a research hub. It will be a huge technopole, symbol of US creativity. The island infrastructure will evolve permanently which is typical of New Yorkers, who loathe stagnation; New York is after all the city which never sleeps!

Silicon Island will be clean and autonomous in energy; the roofs will be equipped with the biggest solar panels. New Yorkers are more and more mindful of the planet and want to invest in renewable energy. The site will create 8,000 permanent jobs, 600 new companies and 30,000 associated jobs. There will be a pedestrian bridge to the island, called the “lilypad”, which is eco-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and will have great views.

The campus will become a magnet for talented people and industries, investors, technology firms, creating a virtuous circle of innovation. “It will be more an economic driver, than an economic cloister” says Seth Pinsky.  It will be the emblem of the entrepreneurial spirit of the city.

The development project for Roosevelt Island is typical of how New Yorkers consider their public space; it has to be spectacular, beautiful, innovative, cutting-edge, on a huge scale just like the rest of the Manhattan cityscape. It has to symbolize confidence, ambition, power, faith in the future...

There is nothing humble about the new infrastructure for Silicon Island, and it will have to instantly become a landmark, "cultural heritage" not just for the people of the island, but for the world itself! Cultural heritage is also a set of values that are passed on from one generation to the next, it is not just buildings and stuff left over from the past. The values brought to the fore in this Roosevelt Island project are typical NYC!

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