Tenants Drop Lawsuit Over New York City’s Controversial Plan for Private Towers on Public Housing Land

Development, East, Urbanism
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Tenants have officially withdrawn a lawsuit over a Bloomberg-era plan to allow developers to build residential towers on New York City public housing land.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.

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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.

In State of the City, New York City Mayor de Blasio Promises Affordable Housing

Development, East, Media, Newsletter, Urbanism
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his State of the City address (New York City's Mayor Office / Rob Bennett)

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his State of the City address. (New York City Mayor’s Office / Rob Bennett)

In his first State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to tackle the “inequality gap that fundamentally threatens [New York City’s] future.” At the LaGuardia Community College in Queens, the new mayor spoke of the “Tale of Two Cities” that has taken root in America’s largest city, and he promised to address it head-on.

Continue reading after the jump.

Jan Gehl Calls On Cities to Design For People, Not For Cars

East, Review, Transportation, Urbanism
Friday, February 7, 2014
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Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Jan Gehl. (Courtesy Center for Architecture)

The Oculus book talk on the new book, How to Study Public Life, at the Center for Architecture with Jan Gehl and his co-author Birgitte Svarre was like seeing the documentary The Human Scale come to life—only with a sense of humor.

Gehl’s urban theories have gained a lot of traction, not least in New York City. Jeanette Sadik-Khan went to Gehl’s native Copenhagen two weeks into her job as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation (along with fellow commissioner of City Planning, Amanda Burden) and experienced the city’s pedestrian-over-cars public plazas, rode bicycles on protected bike lanes, and absorbed the lessons of the city that is repeatedly named the most livable in the world.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Blasio Names Carl Weisbrod Chairman of NYC Planning Commission

East, News, Shft+Alt+Del, Urbanism
Friday, February 7, 2014
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio introduces Carl Weisbrod as the new City Planning Commissioner. (Kyle Kimball / Twitter)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) introduces Carl Weisbrod (right) as the new City Planning Commissioner. (Kyle Kimball / Twitter)

This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carl Weisbrod, a real estate consultant and co-chair of the mayor’s transition team, will be the city’s next planning commissioner. De Blasio said Weisbrod “understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.”

Continue reading after the jump.

When Will New York Mayor de Blasio Finally Appoint a Director of City Planning?

East, Shft+Alt+Del
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
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Mayor Bill de Blasio rwalks toward New York City Hall. (Rob Bennett / Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)

Mayor Bill de Blasio walks toward New York City Hall. (Rob Bennett / Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)

With important, large planning projects—like the Domino Sugar redevelopment in Brooklyn—still awaiting approvals from the agency, and with heads of the Department of Design and Construction and Landmarks Preservation gone or on the way out, New York City desperately needs leadership from these city departments. But, when will New York’s new Mayor Bill de Blasio finally appoint a director of city planning?

Continue reading after the jump.

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Mayors, Philanthropies Team Up for Energy Efficiency Blitz

National, News, Sustainability
Thursday, January 30, 2014
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Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

Chicago is one of 10 cities targeted by philanthropies for energy efficiency savings. (josh*m via flickr)

A team of mayors and nonprofit foundations said Wednesday that they’ll spend enough retrofitting major U.S. cities to save more than $1 billion per year in energy costs. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation pledged $3 million each year for three years to provide technical advisers for 10 cities across the country: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. Read More

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

dot_changes_16bdot_changes_16a

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

ray-lahood-opt

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.

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.

Lots of Possibility


Tuesday, January 7, 2014
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Mayor Greg Fischer today issued a challenge to citizens — give the city your most creative ideas for redeveloping vacant lots and win $38,000 in prize money to carry out that vision.

The Lots of Possibility competition, funded by a grant from a local foundation, seeks ideas from individuals or groups to take one or more eligible vacant lots owned by the Louisville/Jefferson County Landbank Authority and the Urban Renewal Commission and put them into productive use.

It’s part of a broader strategy as the city works to implement policies and plans to reduce the number of vacant and abandoned properties that dot the city, with a high concentration in Western Louisville. The city has identified more than 6,000 vacant properties and has been razing some and foreclosing on others.

“The rules for this competition are simple — be creative and be bold,” Fischer said.

The competition is collaboration between the Department of Community Services and Revitalization, Vision Louisville and the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, funded in part by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Prize money will be awarded in two areas:

  • Proposals involving construction for residential or commercial use. Proposals submitted in this category should include a long-term/permanent use of a vacant lot managed by Metro Government. Up to two winners will receive ownership of the vacant lot and $15,000 to implement their proposal.
  • Proposals involving temporary or interim use of vacant lots. This category is designed for proposals that identify innovative ways to repurpose vacant lots. Uses are not expected to be permanent at the outset, but rather to preserve the land for future potential development. Up to two winners will receive a one-year land lease (renewable for an additional year, for a total of a two-year land lease). Winners will also receive $4,000 to help implement their idea.

Entries are due Feb. 24. Six finalists in each category will be chosen by a jury and the winners will be announced in April.

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New York Expands Public Plaza Program to Create and Maintain Affordable Spaces

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Mathews Nielsen)

Rendering of possible Bogardus Plaza update in Tribeca. (Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects)

For the past five years under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has re-appropriated underused street space as public plazas for pedestrians. The Bloomberg Administration–initiated projects have been well received in neighborhoods like Herald Square and Tribeca; however, some of the less affluent neighborhoods who would like to have a plaza have been hindered by the cost. Each plaza is sponsored by local businesses and fundraising for construction and regular maintenance can seem a daunting task. Until now.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

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