Wendy Goodman, New York Magazine's design editor and Justin Davidson, architecture critic for New York Magazine, look for ideas for New York City in other world cities.
Well intentioned architects certainly have a checkered track record of solving social problems. This legacy of failure is in part to blame for current practices which consider buildings as disposable commodities, public space as an afterthought, and the idea of building for posterity laughable. To reverse these lamentable trends we see everywhere deteriorating our built environment, designers mustn't relent from our efforts at true positive impact in social life, promoting community interaction, and celebrating public space. In short; designing for people is central in the effort to promote the virtues of good design.
In NYC we have a lack of alleys for the collection of garbage. Instead we have tri-weekly mounds of garbage outside apartment buildings. These are painfully ugly and can't help our rat problem. It would be great if the city could have a contest for artists to create large portable, flexible containers for the filled garbage bags. Buildings would use these containers to put the unsightly mounds of black bags in. They would put them out on garbage collection days and take them in the next day. It could be a city-wide WPA project trough the Department of Cultural Affairs to design and then build these containers. Then the department of Sanitation could help distribute to apartment buildings around the city. This would help remove a persistent eye-sore, spread art and create jobs.
Sydney Australia has built an entire city one level below street level to combat urban sprawl.
Calling the housing projects anything but a failure is insane. They have succeeded only in marginalizing and isolating people based on race and class.
Robert Moses, Racist Housing!!!! No Blacks.....
Not to mention people displaced by roads
Thank you very much
robert moses is a great example of someone who orchestrated "urban destruction". he should have been taken out and shot.
our geography, tax structure, character and heritage pressures all development upward, and to disregard human scale. add to that the non-fluid grid street structure and you've got a pretty ugly and uncomfortable city. pleasant places to be? west village, tribeca, harlem, brooklyn, etc.
Architects solving social problemsbrought us the "bricks" that destroyed Newark NJ and similar projects in cities across the country.
Any progress on outdoor public restrooms?
Why *shift* from sustainable to affordable design? Why not integrate the two?
Density is fine, but - for instance - if Queens is going to get significantly denser, it will need to build a lot more transit. Vast stretches of Queens lack rapid transit. (Compare subway maps of Queens and Brooklyn). Also with that density it will be important to move cultural facilities out to where the people live in order to make those places more livable.
Look into the Urban Tulou building by the Shenzhen based firm Urbanus.
High density public housing based on a century old historic form. What's novel about it is the reinvestment of focused social space into public housing.
The Tulou is a traditional donut shaped structure where all units have inward facing doors, making the central space circulation/connection/activity space.
It helps return the notion of real human amenities to government sponsored housing. A first for China, and a model of thinking for us, possibly.
I'd much rather we imitate Copenhagen than Hong Kong for quality of life issues, no offense.
we should have light tubes to bring sunlight to the subway, saving electricity, and adding life. We should also build plexiglas walls on the platforms to separate the tunnels, which are hot, noisy, dirty, and dangerous, from the platforms. We can then have bi-parting plexi doors to line up with each train. No one would fall on the tracks again, the platforms would be far cooler and tolerable in summer, and it would probably make the city a less angry, combustible place all around. I've seen similar things for buses in latin america
Don't know if this qualifies -- but I was struck by the fact that pedestrian crossings at main intersections that are set into the block a few yards. This allows at least one or two turning traffic to get out of the way of the intersection so traffic does not back up so much.
One of the things designers know that we need to expand on is that design needs to be executed, not just "wish fulfilled", as if by the justice of the cause directly.
I'm so sick of "movement" advocates for both social, environmental and economic justice having no interest whatever in the building process required to take a concrete plan and the needed materials to be assembled by a series of talented engineers with complementary skills from "napkin sketch" to "lasting new world".
Where in the world did our culture so completely lose track of the notion that there's a whole complex construction process between concept and fulfillment, no matter what kind of change one is seeking. Is it our culture of instant gratification (?) causing us to become so detached from the reality of living in a "do it yourself world", and the workings of things that make things work??
"Occupy Wall Street" is a poster child for it, of course, overlooking that the world financial train wreck comes from expert systems arranged for our own self-interests. That our true self interest is somehow hopelessly misunderstood is being overlooked entirely.
THAT's a construction problem, not a wish fulfillment problem, really. Same with building sustainable societies, you can't do it by continuing to expand their scale, or know if you are or not without a way to measure.
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