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The Gotham Center is setting up this discussion board to serve as a conduit for ideas-- generated by CUNY faculty and students, and by any concerned citizens--as to how the University can best use Governors Island.

There are a lot of interesting ideas floating around that make use of the Island's location - in but not quite of the City - a place to withdraw from Gotham the better to reflect (or act) upon it. Some of these take off from enterprises in which CUNY is currently engaged, and involve students living on the island for short term programs, ranging from seminars on city issues, to special courses for the CUNY Honors Program, to English immersion courses for new immigrants, to workforce training in conjunction with unions and employers (for nurses, say, as per the program being run in conjunction with 1199; or for artisans, such as those run by the Center for Worker Education; or for construction trades apprentices, with building mockups on which they could practice).

Other ideas focus on a research park (or incubator) model for spurring new manufacturing sectors, from biotech to eco-industrial development. Another approach is for CUNY to spearhead a multi-university consortium - amazingly, we have no institution that fosters cooperation among the many members of New York City's higher education sector - for collective tackling of assorted urban issues.

Then there are a slew of proposals that were worked out a few years ago, during the first wave of possibility about the city's getting the island, before the transfer broke down due to internal disagreements on how best to use it. Some of these focus on ways for enhancing public access to the island's green spaces and the historic district there, perhaps adding a waterfront esplanade as well. There have also been suggestions for activities that could generate the revenues CUNY will need to maintain the island, ranging from running a conference center, a hotel, an amusement park, a spa, some restaurants, a television tower, and a recreation of old New Amsterdam as a historic attraction. Comments on these and other revenue producing notions are also welcome.

We'd love to hear from you. Click here to post your proposal and read those posted by others, and send us as well any other web sites that bear on the subject. Thanks in advance for your help.

Mike Wallace

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