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Celebrating Freedom and Strengthening Democracy

By Bebe LeGardeur

June 23, 2022

As we commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth and Independence Day, Public Works IQ takes a look at our democratic systems

Image by Benny Rotlevy, via Unsplash
How Much Do You Know About Your City Charter?

When thinking about the transformative power of democracy, your first thought is probably not the city charter. Yet, city charters are powerful tools. Since it was first enacted in 1898 and through its most recent revision in 2019, the New York City Charter has served as the foundation for the City’s democratic institutions. It has also been a tool for transformative change in New York City’s government, including the recent passage of ranked-choice voting. Although charter revisions only happen periodically in New York City, they are vital to ensuring an innovative City government that meets the needs of all New Yorkers. Find out more on the Public Works IQ.

Get to know the New York City Charter


Join Us in Welcoming Benjamin Martinez Newman

We are pleased to announce that Benjamin Martinez Newman has joined Public Works as a Senior Manager. Benjamin previously served as the Executive Director for Growth Services at the NYC Department of Small Business Services and worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. He brings a passion for supporting public-, social-, and private-sector organizations and the communities they serve. Benjamin will lead engagements developing innovative strategies and implementing solutions for our mission-driven clients. We are thrilled to have Benjamin on the Public Works team – please help us welcome him.

Meet Benjamin


Digital Games Industry 2021 Economic Impact StudyNYC: Digital Games Hub

Digital gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, and New York is poised to be a leader in the space. Public Works teamed up with BuroHappold Cities to conduct an economic impact study of this growing industry for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). The study underscored the significant contribution of this industry to New York City’s economy, supporting $2 billion in economic output in 2021. Informed in part by our work, the Adams administration and MOME partnered with the City University of New York (CUNY) to launch a new bachelor’s degree program in Digital Game Design at City College of New York (CCNY). This will be a first-of-its-kind program, putting New York City at the forefront of this growing industry.

Read the press release


Celebrating Freedom
Public Works Partners commemorates Juneteenth and Independence Day, celebrating the freedom and equality of all Americans. An equitable democracy is built on resistance, innovation, and commitment to help it reach its full potential. As we celebrate this summer, we also look to the work ahead.


Image by Phil Scroggs, via Unsplash

Democratic Innovation in New York City

Pew Research found that trust in democratic institutions in America has eroded rapidly in recent years. Building on our article about the NYC charter, we take a look at other strategies that communities and local governments are using to increase inclusion in democratic processes and make government more responsive to residents’ needs. New York City has set out a series of commitments in its OneNYC initiative to stoke the flames of a thriving democracy in New York City. Public Works Analyst Simon Rosenblum-Larson explores the current landscape of democratic innovation in New York City in Our Democracy’s Future: Democratic Innovation in New York City.

Read the full story


One More Thing: We’re Moving!

We have outgrown our offices at 99 Madison Avenue! This month, we are moving into our new office space a few blocks away at 20 West 38th Street, 5th Floor. If you’re in the neighborhood this summer, give a shout! We’d love to see you.

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