The Center for Active Design celebrated its first annual Awards Monday night with gathering at the “WeWork” space, The Lounge, on Lafayette Street. The celebration followed the “Fit City 9” conference earlier in the day at the New School.
Founded in 2013, the Center for Active Design (CfAD) continues the work started under the Bloomberg administration to effect change in the built environment that promotes public health. In addition to its work promoting the Active Design Guidelines, the Center this year gave several awards to built projects that exemplify the principles espoused in the guidelines. A jury including the Center board chair (and former DDC Commissioner) David Burney, Signe Neilson (landscape architect and chair of the NYC Public Design Commission), Christine Johnson Curtis (Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health andf a CfAD board member) and AN‘s editor-in-chief William Menking, selected 4 projects for awards, with two honorable mentions.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been promising to “preserve or construct” nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing since his days as the most unlikely of mayoral contenders. Since stepping into City Hall, the mayor has repeated that pledge nearly every chance he gets. But while the affordable housing plan is one of his central policy issues, it’s still not clear how the city can hit the mayor’s magic number. That should change this week when de Blasio’s housing team releases their detailed plan of action. Before that plan is released, however, AN asked some of the city’s leading architects, advocates, and planners what they hope to see in the team’s path forward.
Richard Rogers Theater
226 West 46th Street, New York
Scheduled to play through October 12, 2014
THINK OF EACH PLAZA, PIER, AND PUBLIC PARK—
HOW MANY SIT THERE EMPTY, LONELY, DARK—
The Broadway musical If/Then starts in Madison Square Park with its unmistakable folding seats, tables, and umbrellas, a signature of Janette Sadik-Khan’s overhauling of public spaces during the Bloomberg administration. In this musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the team behind Next to Normal) city planner Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) returns to New York from Arizona where she’s just gotten out of a failed marriage—and urban sprawl.
Join us for an illustrated talk and book signing by film historian and documentary writer James Sanders on the new edition of Scenes from the City: Filmmaking in New York. This revised and expanded edition, first published in 2006, is a celebration of the rise of New York-shot films, covering in particular the decades since NYC aggressively promoted the film industry through the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, established in 1966. James Sanders updates the past dozen years of filmmaking under the Bloomberg admnistration and adds a section on women filmmakers, as well as rare, behind-the-scenes shots directly from studio archives. The book also explores the recent growth of the City’s television industry. Today the entertainment industry employs 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes more than $7 billion to the local economy each year.
James Sanders, an architect, co-wrote the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film and its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, as well as Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair and Architectural Record. He has also participated in important design projects in and around the city.
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The Center for Active Design has announced its first annual Excellence Awards, which recognizes the “role design plays in addressing the ongoing obesity and chronic disease epidemic.” The jury—which included AN’s William Menking—has selected winners out of more than 40 plans for buildings and public spaces that encourage healthy lifestyles. The Center, which was created under Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force, will present the awards in New York City on May 19th. For more information on the winners and for tickets to the event, visit the Center’s website.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects.
Some much-needed rent relief could be in store for over one million New Yorkers. The New York Observer reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed five “tenant-friendly” members to the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, which oversees rent increases for rent-stabilized units. During the mayoral campaign, then-candidate de Blasio was quite critical of the Board. At the time, he called for a rent freeze on some units and slammed their decision to allow 4 percent increases on one-year leases. As with most of his appointments thus far, de Blasio is signaling a clear break from his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. A spokesperson for the de Blasio Administration told The Observer “we plan to undertake an ambitious agenda that confronts the affordability crisis facing the city’s tenants.”
With Great Height Comes Greater Challenges: Questions Linger as Construction Begins on Massive Kingdom Tower
A kilometer is less than a mile but still more than a Burj Khalifa. This truism means that Kingdom Tower is still set to be the worlds tallest building now that construction has begun in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Though the initial projected height of a mile has since been whittled down to a mere kilometer, problems continue to beset the oft-delayed $1.2 billion project.
Manhattan has a traffic problem. But, as of now, New York City has only taken marginal steps to fix it. To some, charging tolls on certain bridges and tunnels leading to the island, but not on others is uneven or unfair. To former New York traffic commissioner, “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz, however, it’s “a cockamamie system of charging people that makes absolutely no sense.” And today, Schwartz and Move NY are launching a campaign against that “cockamamie system” as they call for new strategies to ease congestion.
Tenants Drop Lawsuit Over New York City’s Controversial Plan for Private Towers on Public Housing Land
Tenants have officially withdrawn a lawsuit over a Bloomberg-era plan to allow developers to build residential towers on New York City public housing land. The Land-Lease Plan, as it is known, would have allowed the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to essentially infill open land at their housing developments with new market-rate and low-income apartments.
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.