The Office Industry
Patterns of Growth and Location
The Regional Plan Association is an unofficial nonprofit organization founded to undertake research and recommend policies aimed at improving the environmental and social aspects of the region extending into three states with New York City as its focal point. It is also committed to publishing its findings and proposals. This report was prepared for the association by Regina Belz Aarmstrong and was edited by Boris Pushkarev.
The report indicates that the number of office jobs and the new office space needed will approximately double in the New York Region by the year 2000 and will increase even more rapidly for the nation as a whole. An article on the report that appeared in Business Week states that it “is aimed at a 31-county, 13,000-sq.-mi. region in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. But it bristles with figures and concepts important to all U.S. metropolitan areas, especially the 25 that have a million or more population. Its message is one of hope strongly laced with somber warnings.”
Summarizing the report's forecasts and recommendations, the Business Week account continues as follows: “Office jobs over the past decade or so have powered whatever growth cities have achieved and moderated any declines. Now, the flight of corporations from Manhattan and other city cores is quickening. In this context, the RPA study raises critical questions about the future shape and vitality of cities and suburbs alike.
“The essence of the RPA analysis: The coming expansion in office jobs and the resulting office building construction can save cities or destroy the country-side. Directed into central cities, or subsidiary cities and urban centers, new offices could underpin their economy, stimulate mass transit, and provide investment for redesigning downtown areas to make them more efficient and pleasant. But if present trends accelerate, this growth could soak up thousands of acres of valuable suburban land, wipe out what little public transit remains, generate endless miles of highways and parking lots, create unsightly and wasteful commercial strips along roads, and ultimately reproduce many of the problems that now afflict the cities.”