[ The AN editorial team is on hand forÂ Zoning the City conference, now in progress at the McGraw-Hill Conference Center in Manhattan. We'll be live blogging and tweeting @archpaper with hashtag #zoningthecity throughout the day, so check back and follow us on twitter for updates! ]
In a wrap-up conversation moderated by Kayden, a panel brought together Thom Mayne, A.M. Stern, and Mary Ann Tighe to investigate a few non-planning factors, though of course it rounded back to planning within moments. The exchange was peppered with A.M. Stern wit, Mayne theory, and Tighe pragmatism.
Remarking on the more than 4 billion square feet of undeveloped FAR in New York City, Stern remarked, â€œThatâ€™s a lot of development–even for Related!â€
Tighe said that zoning remained necessary, at the very least, for developersâ€™ peace of mind. â€œI think we need some boundaries,â€ she said. â€œThings that will allow capital an amount of comfort that itâ€™ll need to move foreword.â€ Tighe, who heads up New Yorkâ€™s real estate board, provide an audience full of zoning wonks and architects an investors voice, â€œWhat we keep forgetting after the vision is that the money has to come, the as-of-right things are needed.â€
Stern replied no spoon full of sugar was needed to let this medicine go down. â€œArchitects complain, they always complain,â€ he said â€œBut they do their best work with difficult clients, financial constraints.â€
Mayne broke through the realm of brick and mortar. â€œNew York is inseparable from its intellectual capital, thatâ€™s itâ€™s certainty and predictability.â€
Matthew Carmona of University College London played to a re-caffeinated crowd, using humor to diffuse Â a very complex approval process for zoning Londonâ€™s 32 different boroughs. With each borough weighing in with their own distinct processes and opinions, plus the mayor putting his two pence in, and even the secretary of state having a say, its amazing London plans as well as it does. The process looks more nightmarish than a West Village community board debating a university expansion. One intriguing aspect was the specificity of the Views Management Framework, which include river views, linear views, townscape views, and panoramas. But it was left to Loeb Fellow Peter Park, paraphrasing Goldberger, to best describe Londonâ€™s beautiful mess. â€œSome of the greatest places in the world were built before zoning,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s an element of serendipity.â€
Last week, TheÂ New York World, a website produced by Columbia’s Journalism School, along withÂ WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show completed a crowd-sourced survey of New York City’s privately owned public spaces (POPS). The World consulted Jerold Kayden’s 2000 tome,Â Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience,Â as a guide to gauge whether the private entities were keeping the public parks truly public and user-friendly.Â Kayden, who is co-chairing tomorrow’sÂ Zoning the CityÂ conference with Commissioner Amanda Burden, has beenÂ the go-to expert on subjectÂ since Occupy Wall Streeters took over the world’s most famous POPS, Zuccotti Park. Â All told, nearly 150 sites out of 391 around New York City were visited and commented on for the survey.
Attention Zoning Wonks! In honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Zoning Resolution, City Planning is hosting the Zoning the City Conference on November 15. Â Mayor Bloomberg will open the conference, while planning commissioner Amanda Burden will moderate with Harvard planning guru Jerold Kayden (a recent AN commentator). AN plans to blog live from the event and City Planning will be tweeting away @ZoningTheCity. The event, co-sponsored with Harvard and Baruchâ€™s Newman Institute, has already been dubbed â€œthe Woodstock of Planningâ€ by one at least one registrant.