After Megaprojects

Friday, November 6, 2009

Residential and commercial construction alike doubled in New York under Mayor Bloomberg, who rezoned over a fifth of the city to create large parcels for development under the assumption that the economy would continue to boom. Now, stalled megaprojects like Brooklyn’s City Point complex leave depressing holes in neighborhoods, serving as daily reminders of the tenacious recession and leaving the city strapped for the cash it was counting on to fund other projects. What is to be done?

An all-day symposium tomorrow at Cooper Union, presented by the Institute for Urban Design, tackles the question: Do megaprojects have a future? An opening address by Cooper Union architecture school dean Anthony Vidler will be followed by three panels of professors, politicians, and principals from top firms like ARUP, Morphosis and Kohn Pedersen Fox, examining the future of megaprojects in the suburbs, in the metropolis, and as new towns.

The first panel, moderated by City College professor June Williamson, looks at the role of large-scale development in an unlikely place: the suburbs, which Williamson has examined through her recent book Retrofitting Suburbia, co-authored with Ellen Dunham-Jones. Other panels include Columbia University’s Vishaan Chakrabarti, the author and professor Robert Fishman, and architect Thom Mayne.

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