Meet Elmar, the giant pedestrian pasted onto a New York City pedestrian plaza by artist JR

Art, City Terrain, East, Media
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
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(Courtesy New York Times Magazine)

(Courtesy New York Times Magazine)

The artist JR described his latest gargantuan artwork best in a Tweet sent out this morning, “People walked on him all day without noticing him…now he is on the cover and everyone else is in the shadow.” That cover is the new special issue of The New York Times Magazine, which features the larger-than-life pedestrian completely filling up the Flatiron pedestrian plaza next to Madison Square Park.

More after the jump.

Thomas Balsley’s geometric pedestrian plaza reclaims roadway for neighbors in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

The new Putnam Triangle Plaza. (Courtesy Thomas Balsley Associates via Fulton Area Businesses)

The new Putnam Triangle Plaza. (Courtesy Thomas Balsley Associates via Fulton Area Businesses)

After years of planning and workshops, Brooklyn‘s Community Board 2 recently approved a redesign of Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill. The $3.75 million project, led by Thomas Balsley Associates, will significantly upgrade and expand the existing plaza that opened in 2011.

Continue reading after the jump.

This roadway in New York City’s Washington Heights is being replaced by a pedestrian plaza with playfully meandering paving

(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

New York City recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot public plaza in Washington Heights with a very wavy paving design. The Plaza de Las Americas  is intended to reference town squares found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It was designed for the city by the RBA Group, a landscape architecture and engineering consulting firm.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles transformed this alley in North Hollywood into a polka dotted pedestrian plaza

NoHo Plaza, the day of its ribbon cutting. (LADOT)

NoHo Plaza, the day of its ribbon cutting. (LADOT)

The first project in LADOT’s People Street program has opened in a former alley near corner of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The project, called NoHo Plaza, has been repurposed with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas, a colorful surface treatment (which looks almost exactly like the dotted green and gold surface of Silverlake’s Sunset Triangle Plaza), and perimeter planters.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #28> Snøhetta’s Times Square Reconstruction

Architecture, East
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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(Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
Snøhetta

“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.

Continue reading after the jump.

New plan unveiled for a more pedestrian-friendly Lower East Side

City Terrain, East, News, Urbanism
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
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The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

One of Manhattan’s most historic streets could soon become one of its most pedestrian-friendly. That is, if a plan for a revamped Orchard Street from the Lower East Side’s Business Improvement District (BID) is approved by the city. The plan, which was unveiled at a community board meeting last week, calls for curb extensions, bike corals, planters, tree beds, and benches along a six-block stretch of the street. The plan also calls for a pedestrian plaza on adjacent Broome Street.

Continue reading after the jump.

Grimshaw’s transit-oriented public plaza breaks ground in the Bronx

Fordham Plaza. (Courtesy NYC Department of Transportation)

Fordham Plaza. (Courtesy NYC Department of Transportation)

The New York City Department of Transportation recently broke ground on the second phase of Fordham Plaza’s reconstruction in the Bronx. The revamped space will have all the standard-issue pieces of a New York City pedestrian plaza—the planters, benches, seating, trees, lights, and kiosks—but, ultimately, the plaza represents a significant investment in existing transportation infrastructure.

Read More

Jan Gehl Calls On Cities to Design For People, Not For Cars

East, Review, Transportation, Urbanism
Friday, February 7, 2014
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Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

The Oculus book talk on the new book, How to Study Public Life, at the Center for Architecture with Jan Gehl and his co-author Birgitte Svarre was like seeing the documentary The Human Scale come to life—only with a sense of humor.

Gehl’s urban theories have gained a lot of traction, not least in New York City. Jeanette Sadik-Khan went to Gehl’s native Copenhagen two weeks into her job as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation (along with fellow commissioner of City Planning, Amanda Burden) and experienced the city’s pedestrian-over-cars public plazas, rode bicycles on protected bike lanes, and absorbed the lessons of the city that is repeatedly named the most livable in the world.

Continue reading after the jump.

Before & After> 25 of New York City’s Most Transformative Road Diets

dot_changes_16bdot_changes_16a

New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.

With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.

As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.

See more transformations after the jump.

New York Expands Public Plaza Program to Create and Maintain Affordable Spaces

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Mathews Nielsen)

Rendering of possible Bogardus Plaza update in Tribeca. (Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects)

For the past five years under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has re-appropriated underused street space as public plazas for pedestrians. The Bloomberg Administration–initiated projects have been well received in neighborhoods like Herald Square and Tribeca; however, some of the less affluent neighborhoods who would like to have a plaza have been hindered by the cost. Each plaza is sponsored by local businesses and fundraising for construction and regular maintenance can seem a daunting task. Until now.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

New York Post on Politically-Charged Public Space and Priestly Palaces

City Terrain, East, International
Thursday, October 24, 2013
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A pedestrian plaza in Manhattan. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

A pedestrian plaza in Manhattan. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

We don’t normally look to the New York Post for stories on architecture and planning. But while getting our shoes shined for tonights black tie Heritage Ball we had a chance to read the paper’s Late City Final. There in the middle of stories on JonBenet Ramsey, a lawyer “ripping a Jet Slugger,” and Lady Gaga’s thigh tattoo was a smattering of the latest in design spectacle.

Next to a story on Mitt Romney’s new 5,900 square foot “secret hideout” in Holiday, Utah (which will apparently feature a bookcase that swivels open and leads into hidden room), there is a long story on Midtown Manhattan street plazas that both Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota are apparently thinking of “yanking…out,” according to the paper.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture Research Office Designs Public Art Display Panels for NYC’s Pedestrian Plazas

East
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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ARO-NYCDOT-Public-Art-Sign-archpaper-03

NYCDOT Urban Art Program (James Ewing / Courtesy NYCDOT)

Streets occupy nearly a quarter of New York City’s land, however there are limited outdoor spaces to socialize, sit, and enjoy city life outside of parks. As part of an effort to improve the quality of public space for all New Yorkers, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has been developing new public open space by converting underutilized street spaces into pedestrian plazas. With dozens of plazas already open and functioning across the city, the NYCDOT has been looking to polish the new spaces, installing permanent designs, improved benches, and now, specially designed signs to showcase public art.

Continue reading after the jump.

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