In a Gotham Gazette op-ed, Nicholas Dagen Bloom, professor of Urban Policy and Planning, issues a proposal for the notoriously gritty city of New York to adopt a much higher standard of cleanliness. If New York City’s economy and reputation are to recover from the losses and stigma of the COVID-19, he argues, city leaders must prioritize the long neglect of basic public hygiene.
Focusing on public restrooms, neighborhood parks, and subways, Professor Bloom suggests “tactical urban” solutions: short-term, low-cost measures that can be put in place quickly to test and model longer-term plans. These short-term solutions—like restroom trailers, managed by paid attendants–would allow New York City to try out imaginative ideas for creating a cleaner city that will draw back businesses and tourists. “It will take a lot of creative thinking to make New York City a healthier place to live and visit,” he concludes.