Ever since 9/11, no one has been more vocal or articulate about the fate of Ground Zero than architect and social critic Michael Sorkin. He has been writing furiously about the future of New York and lower Manhattan in the pages of The New York Times and books like After the World Trade Center. Throughout the long redevelopment process, he has been highly critical, especially toward the powers-that-be charged with rebuilding the devastated trade center site--the real estate and big commercial interests concerned primarily with maximizing rental and retail revenues are driving the process. This explains why all the plans have featured massive office towers, with some even higher than the old trade center itself. And this comes despite a massive overabundance of vacant office space in lower Manhattan.
In Starting From Zero, Sorkin develops his own vision of the future lower Manhattan. His transformed Ground Zero features a low rise, multi-use neighborhood that is heavily quilted with green space. Central to it is a globe-like memorial, with no rebuilt towers. New office space, he argues, should be decentralized to New York's outer boroughs, where so many office workers actually live. Following this path will help create a more equitable New York. Mixing his inimitable brand of social criticism with more personal reflections, Starting From Zero offers a striving challenge to the Ground Zero redevelopment plan recently chosen by New York's establishment insiders.