De Blasio To Tap Mitchell Silver for New York City Parks Commissioner

Mitchell Silver. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

Mitchell Silver. (Courtesy Harvard GSD)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce that Mitchell Silver—chief planning and development director in Raleigh, NC—will be New York’s next Parks Commissioner. According to the New York Times, “While Mr. Silver has worked in North Carolina since 2005, he has deep roots in New York. He went to high school in Brooklyn and earned a bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute and a master’s degree in urban planning from Hunter College.”

Wilson recently served as the president of the American Planning Association, and in the 1980s worked in the New York City Planning Department. With Wilson’s extensive planning experience, he would seem to be a natural fit to lead City Planning rather than parks—and he reportedly was considered for that post before Carl Weisbrod was selected. This has been a much-anticipated announcement, as the Parks Department as been without a head since de Blasio took office nearly three months ago.

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Philadelphia Green Lights New Riverside Park, Bartram’s Mile

Bartrams Mile1

(Courtesy Andropogon)

Consider it a mile-long step in Philadelphia’s ongoing architectural renaissance. Local landscape firm Andropogon recently received approval for the plans to re-work a vacant stretch of land beside the western banks of the tidal Schuylkill River. The goal is to convert the plot located between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street into public green space that provides riverfront access and recreational opportunities for local residents.

More after the jump.

Minneapolis Mayor cheers on Nicollet Mall revamp

Nicollet Walk Tree Groves (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

Nicollet’s Crystal Stair (COURTESY JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS)

As a team of designers gear up for an overhaul of Nicollet Mall, dubbed Minneapolis’ main street, civic leaders there have cheered on the project in an op-ed in the StarTribune. Read More

Chicago breaks ground on Navy Pier flyover for Lakefront Trail

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

navy pier flyover rendering (city of chicago)

Bicyclists and pedestrians cruising down Chicago’s 18-mile Lakefront Trail generally enjoy an exceptionally open, continuous and scenic path along Lake Michigan. But near Navy Pier they’re shunted inland, underneath a highway, onto sidewalks and through road crossings that interrupt their journey in the middle of one of the popular pathway’s most congested corridors.

The Navy Pier Flyover, announced in 2011, was designed to remedy that situation, and today Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the project has officially broken ground. Read More

Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent article, "Softening Boston’s City Hall." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

With regard to the proposed landscape interventions in Boston’s City Hall Plaza: This welcome news brings to mind the Illustrative Site Plan prepared by our firm in 1961 (above) to accompany the Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. As our drawing shows, we envisioned the space between Tremont Street and the new City Hall not as a paved plaza but as a quiet lawn crossed by footpaths and populated by deciduous trees, in the tradition of a New England town green.

Continue reading after the jump.

Five teams in the running for London’s Natural History Museum Civic Realm competition

NHM-shortlist-IMG_0090

The current grounds of the Natural History Museum in London. (courtesy of the Natural History Museum Realm Competition)

Deeming them to be not “appropriate to a world-class institution nor effective in accommodating day-to-day use,” trustees of London’s Museum of Natural History put out a call for redesigns to the grounds surrounding the building. The competition has now reached its second stage, with five firms selected as finalists for the project, though who is responsible for which proposal has yet to be revealed. The winning selection will have to ease access for the museum’s growing number of visitors and create a new civic ground for the city of London.

The entries after the jump.

Washington D.C. sees a park where a bridge once stood

A video illustrating the general concept behind the elevated park. (Courtesy The 11th Street Bridge Park Design Competition)

Washington D.C. is using the rebuilding of a local bridge as an opportunity to create a new 900-foot elevated park across the Anacostia River. Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and the D.C. Office of Planning are hosting a competition for the design of this developing project. Participants are invited to think of the initiative as a blank slate sitting upon the extant structural piers, the only holdovers from the old bridge that will be preserved.

More after the jump.

PeopleForBikes Issues Green Light For Six Cities Seeking Improved Bike Infrastructure

A list of over 100 cities has been whittled down to six. PeopleForBikes has announced the latest cities that will be the focus of the 2014 iteration of the Green Lane Project, an initiative that promotes urban bike infrastructure.

More after the jump.

Loopy Alternative for New York’s Organic Waste

Greenloop_archpaper1

(Courtesy PRESENT Architecture)

For as long as societies have produced trash, they has sought to jettison said trash into whatever water is most convenient, polluting lakes, creeks, and rivers along the way. PRESENT Architecture wants to harness this impulse in order to construct Green Loop, a series of composting islands along the coasts of Manhattan and the city’s other boroughs. Each topped by a public park, the floating facilities would offer a more productive and cost-effective means of processing the city’s large quantities of organic waste.

More after the jump.

Maps Visualize the Challenge of De Blasio’s Vision Zero Plan

Cyclistaccidents2_archpaper

A heatmap of 2013 cyclist injuries. (Courtesy Ben Wellington)

With Bill de Blasio making traffic regulation a priority of his fledgling administration, new visualizations of traffic injuries across New York City illustrate what the new mayor is up against in attempting to make such incidents a thing of the past. Statistician and Pratt professor Ben Wellington has used open data documenting traffic fatalities and cyclist injuries to generate heat maps of where in the city such events tended to occur in 2013.

More after the jump.

ASLA NY Announces Winners of 2014 Design Competition

(Courtesy Elizabeth Felicella)

Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects received a 2014 honor for the West Point Foundry Preserve Park. (Courtesy Elizabeth Felicella)

The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects announced the winners of their annual Design Awards. For the 2014 edition, 5 submissions received honors and additional 13 were chosen for merits from a field of 70. Participants from various New York-based firms provided designs for sites found within the city as well as other parts of the country. Award-recipients will be displaying their designs at the Center for Architecture beginning on April 3rd through the end of the month.

The winners after the jump.

The Saga Continues: Congress Rejects Funding for Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial

City Terrain, East
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
.
Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial as it stands now. (Courtesy Eisenhower Memorial Commission)

Despite earlier indications of progress, Frank Gehry’s design for a planned Eisenhower Memorial continues to encounter stumbling blocks. In November the US Commission of Fine Arts asked Mr. Gehry to make eight revisions to the proposal, a request that was then echoed and amplified in January when Congress turned down the Eisenhower Memorial Commission‘s request for $51 million in funding, a denial that was accompanied by a message imploring the architect “to work with all constituencies—including Congress and the Eisenhower family—as partners in the planning and design process.”

More after the jump.

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