Benepe Walks the Ten-Minute Walk

East
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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At the opening of the Dutch Pavilion, Benepe expounds on Dutch symbols found in NYC's flag.

At the opening of the Dutch Pavilion, Benepe expounds on Dutch symbols found in NYC's flag. (AN/Stoelker)

Gone will be the miniature civic history lessons that punctuated ribbon-cutting speeches made by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. With yesterday’s announcement that the commissioner is moving on to the non-profit Trust for Public Land (TPL), the plaudits are pouring in. But as the Bloomberg Administration begins is slow-motion wind down, New Yorkers should be wary of comparisons to the “good” Robert Moses, builder of parks and playgrounds, despite the scale of public works undertaken under Bloomberg. But in terms of Parks, there is little doubt that Benepe’s tenure was historic in scope.

Now, one of the mayor’s signature initiatives—that a park be within a ten minute walk from every home—is about to go national. But will what flies in NYC fly in Louisville? “If I’ve learned one or two things in this job it’s that no one model will work for every situation,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Continue reading after the jump.

Troy, Troy Again! Architects Revamping an Aging Waterfront

East
Monday, April 9, 2012
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Troy Riverside Park set to open this summer (image courtesy of W-Architecture).

Troy Riverside Park set to open this summer (image courtesy of W-Architecture).

The design minds behind the waterfront destinations of West Harlem Piers on the Hudson River, the India Street Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and the Edge Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have been chosen for yet another waterfront revamp. W-Architecture, a New York City-based architecture and landscape architecture firm, was selected to design and renovate the Troy Riverfront Park in Troy, New York, a $1.95 million project that’s part of the city’s plan to redevelop its Hudson River waterfront. Currently under construction, diseased trees are currently being cleared to open up views to the river and create a more sustainable and seamless connection to the city’s downtown.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hollywood Freeway Park Gains Allies in High Places

West
Thursday, March 29, 2012
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LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process.

Continue reading after the jump.

Design for Final Segment of High Line Revealed!

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 12, 2012
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The 30th Street Passage will move through Hudson Yards Tower C and lead visitors toward the offshoot section of the High Line called the Tenth Avenue Spur.

The 30th Street Passage will move through Hudson Yards Tower C and lead visitors toward the offshoot section of the High Line called the Tenth Avenue Spur.

Tonight, the design team from the High Line will present plans for Section 3 to the community.  Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe will introduce James Corner from the project’s lead team, James Corner Field Operations, and Ricardo Scofidio from Diller Scofidio + Renfro. High Line co-founder Robert Hammond will moderate a post presentation discussion.

Unlike the last two sections of the High Line, Section 3 will be intimately integrated with one major developer, as opposed to a variety of property owners and stakeholders. From 30th to 34th Street, the High Line wraps around Hudson Yards, the 12 million square foot office and residential district being developed by Related Companies. Much of the new section will be built cheek by jowl with Related’s construction. At the westernmost section overlooking the Hudson River, an interim walkway will span the existing self-seeded landscape, so as coordinated design efforts alongside Related’s development and give Friends of the High Line time to raise more funds.

The estimated total cost of capital construction on the High Line at the rail yards is $90 million. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2013 with a full public opening in spring 2014.

Check out more renderings after the jump.

Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago’s Newest Linear Park.  Another $9 Million Banked for Chicago's Newest Linear Park Today, Mayor Emanuel announced an additional $9 million in pledges for the Bloomingdale Trail, completing funding for the first phase of the elevated rails to trails project, according to the Sun-Times. The funds include a $5 million gift from Excelon, $1 million each from Boeing and CNA, and a $2 million commitment from the city, which, combined with $37 million in federal funds, will cover the $46 million cost of the first phase. The city and park advocates hope to raise an additional $36 million to complete the project, mostly through private, corporate, and foundation sources.

 

Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail Taking Shape

Midwest, Newsletter
Thursday, March 1, 2012
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(images: CDOT)

Next week a framework plan for the abandoned elevated rail embankment known as the Bloomingdale Trail will be released. Curbed Chicago has posted some preliminary images from the Chicago Department of Transportation that were shown in public meetings last fall. While advocates have stressed that the project is not a copy of New York’s High Line, these very preliminary study images look a lot like the High Line, minus the bells and whistles like the bleachers for traffic viewing. Read More

Go West, Solar Decathalon: DOE Selects New SoCal Venue for 2013

National, Newsletter
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

The North Lawn at the Orange County Great Park. (Courtesy Orange County Great Park)

We’ve known since early last year that the Solar Decathlon, the biennial event showcasing the best in energy producing, student-designed houses, was no longer welcome on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. due to concerns over wear and tear on the “nation’s front yard.” The 2011 Decathlon, won by the University of Maryland, was pushed to a far corner of the Mall between the Tidal Basin and the Potomac River midway through the design process, causing outcry from student teams who were finalizing their house designs. Officials later announced that future Decathlons might leave D.C. entirely, and today, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu confirmed that it will be moving about as far away from the Mall as possible—to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pushing for a New Park in Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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(images courtesy Moss Design)

The designers behind the Lakeview Area Masterplan, Moss Design, are pushing ahead with a plan for a new park on a vacant lot  on North Paulina Street adjacent to the Brown Line tracks. According to their research there are five vacant lots within a one block area, so there is ample land available for development. This argument has yet to sway Alderman Scott Waguespack, who has opposed a plan for the Special Services Area to acquire the land with the help of the non-profit Openlands. Read More

AN Video> Esplanade Walk-Through with Amanda Burden

East
Friday, July 15, 2011
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View of the Esplanade from under the FDR at Wall Street.

On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section.  The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the “Get-Downs,”  the riverside bar stools,  and “seat walls.”

 

Watch video after the jump.

Rogers Marvel Secures Competition to Revamp White House Lawn Extension

East, Newsletter
Thursday, July 7, 2011
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Proposed changes to President's Park (Courtesy RMA)

Proposed changes to President's Park (Courtesy RMA)

Today, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) announced that Rogers Marvel Architects (RMA) has won a design competition to revamp President’s Park in Washington, DC. The New York-based architects bested a distinguished list of landscape designers, including Hood Design Studio of Oakland California, Michael Van Valkenburgh of Brooklyn, and Reed Hildebrand Associates and SASAKI, both of Watertown, Massachusetts.

After September 11th, 2001, security design in major public spaces took on a new significance, and President’s Park South—a large ellipse forming a public extension of the White House’s front lawn—this meant concrete jersey barriers and fences along E Street. Soon, though, the park could become one of the most pedestrian-friendly—and secure—in the capital, thanks to RMA’s subtle combination of landscape architecture and security design.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Other Side of Ellis Island

East
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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photo by Alyssa Nordhauser

Most visitors to Ellis Island only get to see the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. I was fortunate enough to go on a hard hat tour of the island’s south side, which is not open to the public, and explore newly stabilized structures including the new (‘new’ as of 1934) ferry building and part of the old South Side Hospital Complex.

Read More

Urban Planning as a Psychoactive Drug

National
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
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Manhattan and Central Park (Courtesy jmac1963 / flickr)

Manhattan and Central Park (Courtesy jmac1963 / flickr)

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study suggesting that city dwellers harbor more stress than their suburban counterparts, but says access to parks could be the cure. Researchers have found that spending time in parks or park-like settings can help reduce cognitive effort and promote relaxation.

While that may seem obvious, check out the rest…

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