Brooklyn is surpassing Manhattan when it comes to appealing to innovative tech companies. The Brooklyn advantage is not slim, and the borough has risen the ranks to become one of the country’s leaders in the innovation economy. A recent report by the Center for an Urban Future, has revealed that employment in Brooklyn’s creative industries skyrocketed by 155% over the past decade, that is close to 10 times the growth in Manhattan. Brooklyn is now second in the U.S. when it comes to growth of tech start-ups over the past ten years, only lagging behind San Francisco.
“The innovation economy has become a vital new engine of growth for Brooklyn,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “Innovation industries have added thousands of well-paying jobs across Brooklyn, helped diversify the borough’s economy, and given Brooklyn an important competitive advantage in a part of the economy that is expected to grow significantly in the years ahead.”
Brooklyn now surpasses Manhattan with a reputation as the new haven for the tech community. So how did Manhattan lose so much ground? As per a recent article in Crain’s NY, multiple reasons include the new luxury real estate tax, which has succeeded in driving away foreign investment from the big city. Affordable living is also an ongoing obstacle in Manhattan that new entrepreneurs know well enough to avoid. While housing prices in Brooklyn are not modest, at least office space can be. Brooklyn has embraced the startup culture by providing countless co-working space options for companies of all sizes. Brooklyn’s middle class culture and laid back dress code is also a better fit for hard working start up workers. Moreover, Manhattan is more geared towards the specific industries of finance, advertising, fashion, publishing, and real estate. Modern tech companies don’t really fit those molds, and Brooklyn was able to snatch the industry as its own.
Manhattan has historically been a symbol of American innovation, but it now has some adapting to do if it wishes to gain ground in the tech culture that will shape the future of American business. Lawmakers can certainly help by welcoming investors into the city instead of squeezing them with extra taxes for being part of the upper class. After all, if big business can’t work in Manhattan, neither will the middle class find employment. In the meantime, it’s Brooklyn’s time to shine. “As technology innovation continues to influence manufacturing in Brooklyn, providing the borough’s residents with access to and training for those jobs remains a high priority”, said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “ This report validates that work and lays out a comprehensive case for Brooklyn as an innovation economy leader nationwide.”