Global Network

New York City, United States


The Mega-Cities Coordinator in New York City has extensive professional training and background in urban sociology, public health, and nonprofit management. He has taught at Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn College, and Columbia University, among other academic institutions. He is a member of the board of directors of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York and a past president of the Public Health Association of New York City. He has held a number of positions in the nonprofit field in policy analysis, program development, and community planning, and has published a number of articles.



The Mega-Cities Host Institution in New York is a city-wide non-profit organization that provides a wide range of technical, financial, and other support to over 10,000 resident associations throughout New York City's five boroughs. It is perhaps best known for its pioneering programs for helping these volunteer groups organize and tackle quality of life issues ranging from environmental hazards to homelessness, drugs, and crime. Its small grants program, self-help materials, and practical skills training have become nationally recognized models for engaging citizens as partners in solving urban problems.

The Host Institution worked closely with the NYC Police Department to develop New York's community policing program, helping to train thousands of police officers and neighborhood leaders in working collaboratively on joint anti-crime efforts and building a citywide corps of over 400 anti-crime and anti-drug neighborhood groups. Today, the Host Institution provides training and technical assistance to a wide range of law enforcement personnel, substance abuse and other service providers, community organizers, and neighborhood leaders in New York and other cities.

Well into its third decade, the Host Institution is expanding its reach through initiatives such as its Better Neighborhoods for a Better City Campaign, which has a $4 million goal for increasing the numbers of grassroots groups and volunteers and to teach leadership skills through local library branches. Similarly, its Neighborhood Resources Project has helped hundreds of new groups get started and hundreds of others stay strong.




  • Dr. Janet Abu-Lughod, Professor, Center for Studies of Social Change at The New School
  • Dr. Frank Bonilla, Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center
  • William Kornblum, Professor, Sociology Dept., C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center
  • Dr. Susan Fainstein, Rutgers College, Department of Urban Planning and Policy
  • Dr. Richard Wade, City University
  • Dr. Hans Spiegel, Hunter College, Urban Affairs Program
  • Salah El Shaks, Professor, Urban Planning Dept., Rutgers University


  • Catherine Abate, New York City Commissioner and State Senator
  • Una Clark, City Council Member
  • Tom Duane, City Council Member
  • Sandra Feldman, President, United Federation of Teachers
  • Hon. Fernando Ferrer, Bronx Borough President
  • Virginia Fields, City Council Member
  • Margaret Fung, Executive Director of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Fr. Louis Gigante, Community Activist, St. Athanasius Church
  • Sally Goodgold, President, City Club of New York
  • Guillermo Linares, City Council Member
  • Doris Ling, Vise-President, Asian American Bar Association
  • The Very Reverend James Morton, Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Nancy Ostreicher, Member of Women's Political Caucus
  • David Robinson, Executive Director, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government
  • Dr. Robert A. Rosenbloom, Vice President, Corporate Social Policy at Chemical Bank
  • David Saltzman, Executive Director, Robin Hood Foundation
  • Dr. Ron Schiffman, Executive Director, Pratt Center
  • Andrew White, Editor, City Limits Magazine
  • Paul Williams, Lawyer at The Law Firm of Wood, Williams, Rafalsky & Harris

Nonprofit Community

  • Miriam Friedlander, Community Activist
  • Steven Kest, Executive Director, ACORN
  • Charles King, Executive Director of Housingworks
  • Jan Peterson, National Congress of Neighborhood Women Peggy Shepard, Executive Director, West Harlem Environmental Action
  • Bruce Shearer, Executive Director, Synergos Institute



New York City's population grew by 3.4 percent between 1980 and 1995, almost as fast as the Tri-State area. The city's growth differs sharply from the experience of other large cities in the Northeast and Midwest of the USA, which have declined in recent years. Population is changing in ways that will significantly affect service needs during the next five to ten years. Expected trends include divergent rates of population growth in different parts of the city; the changing age distribution of Tri-State area residents; and changes in the composition of the city's population, reflecting the combined effects of immigration and domestic migration.

Distribution of population in New York City

Bronx 1,168,972  1,203,789  1,187,798  1,203,800  1,223,400 1,240,300
Brooklyn 2,231,028 2,300,664 2,244,021 2,285,500  2,300,800  2,333,700
Manhattan 1,428,285  1,487,536 1,518,910 1,520,400 1,540,800 1,556,700
Queens 1,891,325 1,951,598 1,963,628 1,999,000 2,029,400 2,062,400
Staten Island 352,029 378,977 397,719 413,700 428,400 441,500
Subtotal 7,071,639 7,322,564 7,312,076 7,422,400 7,522,800  7,634,600

Among government entities, the responsibility for public investment in New York lies with the city government, whose budget is the largest and most diverse. During the last 5 years, the priorities of the New York City Government for infrastructure investment have been education, environmental protection, and road and bridge maintenance.

The second-largest generator of public capital spending in New York City is the Metropolitan

Transportation Authority, which plans to focus its investment on commuter railroads—the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North—that benefit the suburbs. The program for the MTA's tunnels and bridges

including the Triborough Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and the Marine Parkway Bridge, is also an important element in overall investment in the city's public infrastructure.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to invest in the maintenance and upgrading of interstate and arterial highways, parkways, and bridges in New York City. Major projects in the plan include the construction of the new Route 9A on the West Side of Manhattan, the ongoing rehabilitation of the East River bridges, the rehabilitation of Brooklyn's Gowanus Expressway, the rehabilitation of parts of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, and the installation of "intelligent transportation system" technology on the city's major limited access highways.

The city's investments in its water and sewer systems, bridges, and highways remain at relatively high levels. The city has sharply reduced investments in low and moderate-income housing, which could slow the continuing revitalization of the South Bronx, East New York, and other distressed neighborhoods, and could jeopardize the progress made in the early 1990s in moving homeless families into permanent housing. The severe overcrowding of the city's public schools is one of New York's emblematic dilemmas. In 1994, a thousand school buildings were severely deteriorated with serious problems with their heating and ventilating systems, and required major modernization efforts.



Greenpoint/Williamsburg Environmental Benefits Program
The ethnically diverse community of Greenpoint/Williamsburg in Brooklyn had complained for years about the Newtown Creek Sewage Treatment Plant and the industrial facilities that coexisted there. In 1990, New York City signed a consent order with New York State that stipulated an $850,000 sum for the Environmental Benefits Program in addition to substantial improvements to the plant. This program represents a unique, community-based effort to improve an area that has been beset by a variety of problems. Overseen by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, a Community Advisory Committee was established to design and implement the program, incorporating a pollution prevention component. In spite of the obstacles and stumbling blocks that this program faced, it is the first time community residents in New York City have impacted public policy in environmental affairs. This program can serve as a useful model for other community-based efforts addressing issues beyond the environment.

Harlem Textile Works (HTW)
Supported by the profit from sales of its products, Harlem Textile Works provides employment, service, learning, and apprenticeship opportunities to secondary school students from all parts of the city. It is an income-producing subsidiary of the Children's Art Carnival, a not-for-profit art school offering free training workshops to children and youths between the ages of 4 and 21. Design, production, and sales of hand-painted fabrics, T-shirts, home textiles, and accessories create employment and training for local artists and youngsters interested in fabric design, silk-screen printing, product development, marketing, and merchandising. Participants are taught by professional artists in various programs at CAC's West Harlem location and at public schools throughout the city. Students are recruited from three distinct areas which include art students from CAC workshops and specialized high schools, former drop-outs and students at-risk attending alternative high schools, and economically disadvantaged students recruited from city-funded youth programs. HTW's creation of child-inspired and Afrocentric designs produced and manufactured by young urban artists makes this organization unique among art organizations nationwide. By offering low-cost design and silk-screen production services to community organizations, HTW helps to enable them to achieve their goals of increasing audiences and services. HTW's products are also sold directly to consumers, and to catalogs and department and specialty stores.

Harlem Textile Works (HTW) is at once an art school, a business, and a community organization, working to create training and employment opportunities for Harlem youth. Through HTW's "Design as Enterprise" project, young artists from ages 4 to learn graphic arts and entrepreneurial skills, including textile design, screen-printing, product development, and sales techniques. HTW markets the work produced by its students, giving them an opportunity to earn money as they learn. To finance these expansion projects, HTW needs to increase its income from grants and sales. Its director is considering an innovation exchange plan, in which HTW would contract out space and service to other organizations.


The Mega-Cities Project is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax status.
Founder and President: Janice Perlman, PhD. Information:
Copyright 2000-2007 The Mega-Cities Project. All rights reserved.