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Re-Imagining NYC at the Urban Design Week Festival

Monday, September 12, 2011

One of the ideas submitted for 'By the City/For the City': a hanging garden over empty lots and traffic islands in Petrosino Square in Manhattan. One of the ideas submitted for "By the City/For the City": a hanging garden over empty lots and traffic islands in Petrosino Square in Manhattan. (Courtesy of I Beam Design)

Picture a city road that recycles rain water or a pedestrian haven below Canal Street. These are some of the concepts that are on the table for the first-ever Urban Design Week Festival, which starts on Monday. With talks, panel discussions and brainstorming sessions, the festival's organizers hope to join the ideas of New Yorkers with the vision and planning of urban designers and architects.

Architect Michael Sorkin, president of the Institute for Urban Design, said that while not all the projects would be feasible, there is a lot of wisdom in the city's 8.5 million inhabitants.

"Both their direct experience of sites and their freedom from conventional thinking can get out there with great proposals," Sorkin said. "We hope to continue this, and not to gather just a database of nice suggestions like 'I need a bus stop on my corner,' but a bank of actual palatable, visual, even practical proposals."

Topics for the festival grew out of the "By the City/For the City" campaign, during which citizens proposed ideas that ran the gamut from ziplines crossing the East River to schemes to reduce sound pollution from cars.

The Urban Design Week Festival runs through Sept. 20.

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