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

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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.

Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood Assumes New Roles

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Obama’s former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has accepted two new jobs since resigning his post last July. First, he has joined a bipartisan group focused on improving national transportation policy. LaHood will be co-chair of Building America’s Future along with Former New York Mayor Bloomberg (I) and former Pennsylvania Gov. Rendell (D). “I am delighted to join Building America’s Future as a co-chair and am excited to work together with some of the nation’s most innovative public leaders,” LaHood said in a statement. Also this month, LaHood announced he will be joining law firm DLA Piper as a senior consultant, according to StreetsBlog. A spokesperson said he will hold a strictly advisory role at the mega-firm and will not become a lobbyist.

Rios Clementi Hale and LPA Win West Hollywood Park Commission

The green-clad rec center would be connected to the park via a large open stair. (LPA)

The green-clad rec center would be connected to the park via a large open stair. (LPA)

Last month we revealed three shortlisted schemes for the new West Hollywood Park, adjacent to the city’s new library off La Cienega Boulevard. Last week the city announced that LPA and Rios Clementi Hale has won, beating out other finalists Frederick Fisher and Partners with CMG and Langdon Wilson.

Continue reading after the jump.

Across the Los Angeles River, A Statement in Steel Reconnects the City’s Urban Fabric

THE TAYLOR YARD BRIDGE WILL LINK CYPRESS PARK AND ELYSIAN VALLEY (STUDIO PALI FEKETE ARCHITECTS)

THE TAYLOR YARD BRIDGE WILL LINK CYPRESS PARK AND ELYSIAN VALLEY (STUDIO PALI FEKETE ARCHITECTS)

“We got very attracted to the project, and to the idea of making something that reconnects Los Angeles,” Zoltan Pali said of Taylor Yard Bridge, the pedestrian and bicycle bridge designed by his firm, Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a). Originally introduced as part of a mitigations package twenty-two years ago, the bridge, which will span the Los Angeles River between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley, should be completed within two years at a cost of $5.3 million. Read More

On View> MoMA Presents “Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal”

Art, City Terrain, East, On View, Urbanism
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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Model of Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City. (Courtesy MoMA)

Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City. (Courtesy MoMA)

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY
February 1 to June 1

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal will represent the first exhibit resulting from the recent join acquisition of the architect’s archives by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. The models, drawings, and films found within the extensive collection will allow the museum to illustrate the tension in Wright’s urban thinking in the 1920s and 30s.

Even as he undertook projects that contributed to the increasingly vertical nature of American cities, he created a radical horizontal vision of urban life known as Broadacre City. The elaborate model of this agrarian metropolis created by Wright and his students will be displayed alongside the architect’s designs for the San Francsico Call Building, Mahattan’s St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers, and a largely theoretical mile-high skyscraper.

A Life-Saving Proposal for San Francisco’s Sidewalks

SOUS LES PAVES ENVISIONS A GREEN NETWORK OF CROSSWALKS, MEDIAN STRIPS, AND CITY PARKS (OPA)

SOUS LES PAVES ENVISIONS A GREEN NETWORK OF CROSSWALKS, MEDIAN STRIPS, AND CITY PARKS (OPA)

Can better design save lives? That question is at the center of a proposal by Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA) to transform crosswalks along San Francisco’s Divisadero Street. The project, Sous Les Paves, originated in a GOOD design challenge by the Center for Architecture and Design. With help from AIA San Francisco, OPA partnered with local advocacy organization Walk San Francisco in a bid to improve pedestrian safety at street crossings.

Continue reading after the jump.

Progress for San Francisco’s First Eco-District

DESIGN STUDENTS IN THE SWA 2012 SUMMER PROGRAM IMAGINED WHAT CENTRAL SOMA MIGHT LOOK LIKE AFTER ECO-DISTRICT IMPLEMENTATION (SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT)

DESIGN STUDENTS IN THE SWA 2012 SUMMER PROGRAM IMAGINED WHAT CENTRAL SOMA MIGHT LOOK LIKE AFTER ECO-DISTRICT IMPLEMENTATION (SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT)

If you’re looking for change in San Francisco, look no further than the city’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood. Central SoMa, a 24-square-block area between the central business district and Mission Bay, has been targeted for up-zoning and other public improvements as part of the Planning Department’s Central SoMa Plan (previously the Central Corridor Plan). The neighborhood is also the site of several major construction projects, including a $56 million renovation of the Moscone Center and the extension of Muni’s T Third Line.

All of the above may be affected by another potentially more radical change: Central SoMa has been identified as San Francisco’s first eco-district, as we reported last year. The district has taken some big steps since we last checked.  Read More

2014 will be a big year for streetcars in Kansas City and Cincinnati

City Terrain, Midwest, Transportation
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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Car 1056 of Kansas City's historic streetcar fleet. The city is currently in the process of reviving the system. (Nick Fisher via FLickr)

Car 1056 of Kansas City’s historic streetcar fleet. The city is currently in the process of reviving the system. (Nick Fisher via FLickr)

Although it hasn’t yet broken ground, Kansas City plans to revive a long-dormant streetcar network. Voters approved a ballot measure in 2012 to fund a 2-mile starter route from Union Station to the River Market, nearly 55 years after the city halted its original streetcar service in 1957.

Now Kansas City residents are likely to vote again to help pay for streetcar construction, this time to approve taxes that would help fund a new streetcar taxing district. The measure goes to City Council on Jan. 23. Read More

Louisville Looks to Fill Vacant Lots With Design Competition

City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
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The city's Park Hill district is among the areas with vacant land targeted by the competition. (Courtesy Bing Maps)

The city’s Park Hill district is among the areas with vacant land targeted by the competition. (Courtesy Bing Maps)

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer started 2014 off with a call to citizens: Help the city come up with creative ideas to redevelop vacant land. Local and far-flung designers are invited to re-imagine the land in a new competition. The winners of the Lots of Possibility competition will be awarded a total of $38,000 to put their vision into action.

Continue reading after the jump.

Colorful Carbon Footprint Maps Illustrates Energy Usage Trends

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Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network, Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (2013)

University of California, Berkeley has released a new set of interactive maps illustrating national energy usage.  The visually striking if troubling images reveal a stark urban/suburban divide regarding carbon footprint, with the latter contributing far more in emissions than their city-dwelling counterparts.

Continue reading after the jump.

London Firm Wants Swimming Pools in the Thames

London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames.  The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water‘s controversial plan to revamp the city’s Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects.

Read more

Pittsburgh’s New Mayor to “Focus On Underserved Neighborhoods”

City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Friday, January 10, 2014
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Pittsburgh (Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

(Sakeeb Sabakka via flickr)

Pittsburgh’s new mayor took office this week, and with him comes a cabinet division dedicated to neighborhood development. The Steel City has largely scrubbed its image as an ailing post-industrial town in recent years, drawing in new artists and young professionals, but the revival has not touched all parts of the city equally.

Continue reading after the jump.

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