New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued an RFP to create a network of free, outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots across all five boroughs. The network would become one of the largest in the country, and have a significant impact on the city’s streetscape. That’s because the plan transforms New York’s aging system of payphones—commonly known today as al fresco “toilets”—with what are being described by the city as public connection points.
Rights of Way: Mobility and the City
290 Congress Street, Suite 200
Through May 26
Rights of Way: Mobility and the City examines transportation and mobility in the global city through dozens of examples of how the city is shaped by the ways people move through it. Curated by James Graham and Meredith Miller of architecture studio MILLIGRAM-office, the exhibition seeks to demonstrate that our urban environment is a result of a complicated set of negotiations between designers, policy makers, the private sector, and individual residents.
As AN reported in our recent Southwest edition, Michael Van Valkenburgh is hard at work on plans for a massive park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to the article, “The community expressed a strong need for the park to accommodate not just children, but the whole family unit. Having a variety of activities for a wide age range became a primary factor in the development of the design.” The $300 million waterfront plan is expected to be complete by 2017. MVVA shared this set of renderings with AN to keep us excited in the meantime.
Boise, Idaho–based architects CTY Studio and design company Ecosystems Sciences have won an RFP to design a new public sculpture for Boise’s soon-to-be-renovated City Hall Plaza. Both the sculpture and the plaza are expected to be completed by fall 2015. The $200,000 sculpture, called Terrain, Civics, Ecology, will be made up of nine 20-foot-tall steel panels, arranged in a circle to create an enclosure that pedestrians can walk through.
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This reminds me quite a bit of the never-built proposal, Bombed Churches as War Memorials (1945), published in London after WWII, which presented various designs for bombed-out churches to be preserved in ruined form with the addition of garden plantings and a few amenities.
In January Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer implored local designers and developers to propose ideas for 250 of the city’s several thousand vacant lots. Last week they announced four winners, which included gardens of dye plants for local textile production; a Habitat for Humanity–style homeownership program; environmental remediation via lavender fields; and meditation gardens made of recycled materials.
As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve.
Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero is coming to another dangerous New York City corridor. NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and city officials announced that the Grand Concourse in the Bronx will become the second of the city’s 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” The speed limit on more than five miles of the busy road will be lowered to 25-miles-per-hour, and traffic signals will be retimed to protect pedestrians. The announcement comes weeks after an eight-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens was given the same treatment.
The streets of downtown Seattle are set for a major overhaul, thanks to a new masterplan by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. As AN reported in our recent West Coast edition, the Seattle-based firm has made recommendations to improve the pedestrian realm “centers on uniting the fragmented parts of the Pike-Pine corridor, two major thoroughfares at the heart of the retail core running east-west from Interstate 5 to the waterfront.”
Check out their dramatic proposed transformations overlayed on Seattle’s existing streetscape for a better look at how pedestrians and cyclists will fare under the plan.