2011 Jane Jacobs Medalists Champion City Life

National
Friday, October 7, 2011
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As we all know, Jane Jacobs was a visionary urban activist and author, whose 1961 publication of The Death and Life of Great American Cities had a tremendous impact on how we think about cities and urban planning today. She challenged prevailing assumptions in urban planning at a time when slum-clearing was the norm and emphasized the intricacies and sensitivities of an urban fabric. In 2007, the year after Jacobs died, the Rockefeller Foundation launched the Jane Jacobs Medal, an annual award given to those who stand by Jacobs’ principles and whose “creative uses of the urban environment” renders New York City “more diverse, dynamic and equitable.”

Read about this year’s winners after the jump.

Quick Clicks> AOL’s New Offices, Philly Makeover, NYC vs. LA, & Brownwashing Republicans

Daily Clicks
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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Aol's new offices in Palo Alto. (Mario Anima/Flickr)

AOL’s New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL’s new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. “This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal.

Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: “more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly’s ‘Main Street’, a waterfront lined with parks.”

NYC’s Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City’s Plaza program. It’s the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don’t even have their driver’s licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There’s even a book called “New York and Los Angeles” that says so. Sadik-Khan’s piece is part of Streetsblog’s new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA.

Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they’ve made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, “”I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory.”

QUICK CLICKS> Flyways, Pitstops, Bikes and the City

Daily Clicks
Friday, May 20, 2011
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Time lapse photography reveals an enlightened path (Courtesy Lost at E Minor).

Heavenly highways. No, this isn’t a preview of the Rapture (whose marketing graphics leave much to be desired)–it’s a series of time lapse photographs of the quotidian take-offs and landings of airplanes, courtesy of Lost At E Minor.

Out of Gas. Sunday Zipcar drivers take note: when the current lease runs out, the Gaseteria-turned-BP at the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets in Manhattan will become the site of a new “super-secret five- to seven-story commercial loft development with luxury retail” reports The Observer.

Pro “Roberta Moses.” In her article “Anatomy of a Take Down,” Karrie Jacobs of Metropolis deftly deconstructs the critical pile-on around DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan and her transformation of New York City’s streets. If Jacobs were mayor, she says, she’d throw Sadik-Khan a ticker-tape parade.

Two-wheeled Commute. Happy National Bike to Work Day! Dissuaded by inclement weather in the northeast? For inspiration, check out Street Films’ video–after the jump–of Lucette Gilbert, in her “very late 70s,” who has been getting around New York by bike since the transit strike of 1980.

Watch the video after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Boardwalk, High-Speed, Archives 2.0, the Street

Daily Clicks, East
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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Wood is good, say residents of Coney Island of their historic boardwalk (Courtesy Intiaz/Flickr).

Boardwalk Empire. The Brooklyn Paper reports that Coney Island will not be getting a concrete boardwalk, at least not if Community Board 13 has a say in the matter. The board members recently voted down a proposal from the Parks Department that would cement over parts of the historic Riegelmann Boardwalk while covering some of the famed seaside path with recycled plastic lumber.

Read More

Quick Clicks> Coops, Help Japan, Sidewalk Dining, and Rooftops

Daily Clicks, East
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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Chicken Circus by Studio H via Jetson Green.

Chicken Circus by Studio H via Jetson Green.

Coop Moderne. Urban agriculture is all the rage lately, and with the backyard gardens come the chickens. Jetson Green offers a few examples of high-design chicken coops made of reclaimed materials by Studio H, a design-build program for high-school students in North Carolina.

Read More

Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit

Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

Dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West (Courtesy Steven Vance)

That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond–they’re even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010–the “pro-laners”–but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed–the “anti-laners.”

Read More

Quick Clicks>Trucking, Biking, Leaking, Exploring

Daily Clicks, East
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
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Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution Truck debuted at TED and hit the highways.

Iron skillet meets iron fist. Some of the most striking visuals to come out of this year’s TED conference weren’t made for the stage but for the street: Jamie Oliver‘s Food Revolution truck, an 18-wheeled kitchen classroom designed pro bono by Rockwell Group, launched last week and represents just one of the outcomes of Oliver’s 2010 TED Prize wish to make kids healthier. The wish of this year’s TED Prize winner, the artist currently known as “JR,” is that people will participate in his global art project INSIDE/OUT and help paper streets with gigantic portraits of themselves. Step 1: set up photo booths that print poster size pics of conference participants–quite a surreal experience, writes Guy Horton for Good.

Read More

New York Expands Pop-Up Cafe Program in 2011

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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Returning the street to pedestrians with pop-up cafe's (Courtesy RG Architecture)

Returning the street to pedestrians with pop-up cafe’s (Courtesy RG Architecture)

Could 2011 be the year of the pedestrian in New York? Under the guidance of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC sidewalks will continue their slow march into the street next year as the city launches a major expansion of its “pop-up café” pilot program across its five boroughs.

The first pop-up café tested out in Lower Manhattan this year proved successful enough that Sadik-Khan has expanded the program, planning for up to 12 sidewalk extensions.

And they’re good for business. Read more after the jump.

Flowers and Recycled Planters Transform a Step Street in the Bronx

City Terrain, East
Friday, October 15, 2010
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Dedication ceremony for the Bronx's ARTfarm.

The dedication ceremony for the Bronx’s ARTfarm brought together students from PS 73, NYDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, lead architect Valeria Bianco, and Bronx Museum executive director Holly Block.

A formal dedication for a creative urban intervention called ARTfarm brings flowers and greenery to a formerly barren step street in the Bronx.  Architects Valeria Bianco, Christian Gonsalves, Shagun Singh, and Justin Taylor designed and built the project  with help from Architecture for Humanity and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

More info and photos after the jump.

Sidewalk Sipping with Sadik-Khan at NYC Pop-Up Cafe

East
Thursday, August 19, 2010
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NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, the Downtown Alliance's Nicole LaRusso, David Byrne, and Janette Sadik-Khan at the pop-up cafe. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Sidewalk cafes have long been a popular feature of New York City dining, but many restaurants’ sidewalks are too narrow to set out tables and chairs without violating city code. Offering a solution to this spatial problem, on August 12 the Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled its first “pop-up cafe” in Lower Manhattan—an 84-foot-long and 6-foot-wide wooden platform with planters, wire railing, 14 cafe tables, and 50 chairs—as the agency’s latest move to reclaim road space for public use. Read More

NYC DOT Puts Peddles to the Pavement

East, East Coast
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
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Better busing and biking, coming to a stretch of First Avenue near you some time this fall. (Courtesy DOT)

First came Times Square, then, all in the course of a few weeks, 34th Street, Union Square North, and Grand Army Plaza. Now, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has set her sites on bus rapid transit for the east side of Manhattan. Granted this project, like those above, have been kicking around her office in one form or another for years. But to see all of them getting off—or should we say on—the ground in such a short window is welcome news, especially as the MTA continues to fumble and falter. For all the talk of parks, and not condos, being the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg’s third term, perhaps the exploits of his occasionally maligned Transit Commish should not be overlooked. After all, we’ve got 42 more months of this. At this rate, we could have a citywide space program going by then.

A River Runs Through Times Square

East, East Coast
Monday, May 24, 2010
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A before and after of Molly Dilworth's "Cool Water, Hot Island," the winning entry for a semi-temporary installation in the new-ish Times Square.

Back in February, when the Bloomberg administration announced it would be making the closure of Broadway in Times Square permanent, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told us, basically, that she had been very impressed with the Dutch dots she had seen adorning closed roads in the Netherlands. In the end, the Department decided on something a little more complex for the installation that will adorn the roadway for the next 18 months, before permanent renovations can begin sometime in 2012. Beating out 149 artists, designers, and aesthetes is Brooklyn’s Molly Dilworth, whose Cool Water, Hot Island is an abstracted representation of Manhattan’s heat island effect, that extra blanket of warmth that plagues most urban areas. The piece should be installed by mid-July Read More

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