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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
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New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water

New York City Commits to Green Solution for Harnessing Water | green streets | Scoop.it
With a landmark announcement this week, New York City has officially joined a growing number of cities around the country in embracing a smarter--and paradigm-shifting--approach to reducing water pollution. Using a suite of techniques like strategically located street plantings, porous pavements, and green roofs, collectively known as green infrastructure, New York is turning the problem of excess stormwater into a solution that will improve the health and livability of its neighborhoods, while cleaning up the waterways that course through and around the city.

It's hard to overstate what a dramatic shift in thinking this represents. Instead of viewing stormwater as waste, New York is turning it into a resource. With this move, New York is showing the rest of the country that if the largest city in the U.S. can finally tackle its chronic water pollution problems with green infrastructure--they can, too.

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Kickstarting Urban Renewal with an Underground Park

Kickstarting Urban Renewal with an Underground Park | green streets | Scoop.it
An underground park in Manhattan is turning to Kickstarter to build the public support it needs to make the pipe dream a reality.

 

If this is the first you’ve heard about it, the Delancey Underground is a concept for transforming a defunct trolley terminal for streetcars coming off the Williamsburg Bridge into public space. The design would preserve the hub's unique, turn-of-the-century features, including cobblestones, rail tracks and vaulted ceilings, while integrating green design technologies, like fiber optic cables to bring natural sunlight underground. The space is nicknamed the "LowLine," a below-ground version of the beloved High Line, the park installed in abandoned tracks high above New York's Chelsea neighborhood in 2009.

If all goes well, the space will become home to more than just park-goers on a cold or rainy day. Think art installations, farmers markets, and concerts...

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Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism

Layered SPURA: Spurring Conversations Through Visual Urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

The Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) that occupies 14 square blocks on the Lower East Side has remained one of the largest underdeveloped city-owned parcels of land for more than 40 years. Very few of the originally-planned buildings came to pass, and vast parking lots created by slum-clearance on the south side of Delancey Street symbolize a hotly contested renewal plan. Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani and students of the New School’s City Studio have spent three years investigating the complex issues surrounding the site, and in an exhibition highlighting their research and artwork they propose to instigate a new grassroots conversation rather than a top-down planning vision.

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Order and adaptation: What the New York grid teaches us about contemporary urbanism

Order and adaptation: What the New York grid teaches us about contemporary urbanism | green streets | Scoop.it

It’s not quite true that Manhattan’s street grid is two hundred years old. In fact the year 2011 marked the bicentennial of the project of establishing a regular and continuous grid north of 14th Street. The plan was at first far-fetched, authoritarian, and utopian. For the grid started out as an elaborate Cartesian fantasy, a diagram seemingly irreconcilable with the material realities of topography and existing settlement in the young city of New York. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (through April 15), shows how an abstract plan came to serve as the “remarkably flexible framework for 200 years of city living.” Curator Hilary Ballon also invites us to speculate on how this “vision of brazen ambition” can be further adapted to serve coming generations. What does the legacy of New York City’s master plan teach us about urbanism?

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Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years

Paris' Elevated Park Predates NYC's High Line by Nearly 20 Years | green streets | Scoop.it
New York City's High Line Park is remarkable, but not quite as original as many think: Parisians have been enjoying strolls along an elevated park in the heart of the city for nearly 20 years. The Promenade Plantée, or Coulée Verte, runs 4.5km (2.8 mi) through Paris' 12th arrondissement.

The elevated Viaduct des Arts, which supported the Vincennes Railway from 1859 to 1969, was bought by the City as part of a general renovation of the area in 1986. Landscape architect Jacques Vergely and architect Philippe Mathieux were commissioned to design the park, which opened in 1993. At the same time, the arcades under the viaduct were converted into spaces for art galleries and artisan workshops.

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Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap | green streets | Scoop.it

After the city sealed the deal to sell Robert Moses Playground to the United Nations to finance the waterfront park between 38th Street & 60th Street, the East River Greenway moved a step closer to completion. But once the Greenway links upriver at 60th Street, a host of issues await. There, stretching from 60th to 125th, the 60-year-old East River Esplanade languishes.

The esplanade runs approximately two miles between the Upper East Side and East Harlem gradually shifting from lush and refined at Gracie Mansion to rough and tumble at the 96th Street divide, long a psychological demarcation between the haves and have-nots.

In late October, citizen action group CIVITAS announced its Reimagining the Waterfront ideas competition charging architects, planners, and landscape designers to develop concepts for the entire esplanade, or in sections. According to executive director Hunter Armstrong, key challenges are a dangerous crosswalk at the 96th Street entrance and two vacant lots beneath the FDR. As with SHoP’s redesign of the East River Esplanade in Lower Manhattan, Armstrong envisions a park that embraces the highway, both beside and beneath.

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Alexander Garvin Looks at Public Spaces in New York

Alexander Garvin Looks at Public Spaces in New York | green streets | Scoop.it

Writing in The New York Times last week Christopher B. Leinberger, a professor of urban planning, took note of “a profound structural shift” in America during the last decade or so, “a reversal of what took place in the 1950s.” Back then drivable suburbs boomed while center cities decayed. Now more and more people want to settle in “a walkable urban downtown.” The most expensive housing in the country, and not just New York City, is in “high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods,” he said.

But what makes high-density neighborhoods pedestrian friendly?

Good public space for starters...

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New York May Become Newest Bike-Sharing Mecca

New York May Become Newest Bike-Sharing Mecca | green streets | Scoop.it

New Yorkers spent this fall pedaling demos of a new bike that may become as common as yellow cabs. The city chose Oregon-based Alta Planning & Design, to create a fleet of 10,000 rental bikes.

The contract with New York City is a watershed moment for Alta Bike Share, but the project won't be funded with any taxpayer money. Alta has to find a corporate sponsor to bankroll $50 million in start-up costs, in exchange for naming rights or ads on the bikes. Once the funding is secured, Alta expects to hire more than 200 people in New York to set up and maintain the system.

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Alexandra Lange: Lessons from the High Line

Alexandra Lange: Lessons from the High Line | green streets | Scoop.it

The High Line isn't done yet, and its already the subject of history: an oral history based on interviews with Friends of the High Line cofounders Joshua David and Robert Hammond.

For those following the High Line saga in New York City and design publications, I don't think the book offers many revelations, but it does combine a chatty, accessible story with a wonderfully illustrated photographic one. I've been wrong before about what other people know, and David and Hammond are, as always, charming tour guides. I can also think of two High Line books (at least) I hope the future holds: One, a complete oral history with all the voices (government, philanthropic, architectural) who made the park happen. Something more like the slim volume Work AC put together on their MoMA PS1 Public Farm 1 project. And two, a deeper analysis of what the High Line and its proliferating linear brethren mean, for our cities, for our definition of park, for the profession of landscape architecture...


Via Jandira Feijó
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Are Your Streets "Complete?"

Are Your Streets "Complete?" | green streets | Scoop.it
Streets should be designed for everyone -- not just cars.

There's an urban planning term growing in popularity called complete streets. It's considered a natural complement to sustainability efforts because it calms traffic (thus saving fuel) and encourages the planting of trees (cutting CO2). It's basically the notion that our sidewalks, streets, and crosswalks are shared, not the province of one group over the other.

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New York City’s Underground Park

New York City’s Underground Park | green streets | Scoop.it
After the popularity of New York’s High Line park, which is located on an abandoned elevated railway, there is a new plan for a Low Line park. Yes, an underground park nearly the size of Gramercy Park.
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Inside a pop-up: remaking an empty lot with art and community engagement

Inside a pop-up: remaking an empty lot with art and community engagement | green streets | Scoop.it

There has been a lot of buzz recently about pop-up urbanism. From New York to Vancouver, there are a number of new, small projects that reclaim a bit of underused space and turn them into public spaces. I have yet to find a really clear definition of “pop-up urbanism,” but the projects are generally small, often temporary, ways to explore creative possibilities urban space.

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Old Parking Meters to Become Bicycle Racks in New York

Old Parking Meters to Become Bicycle Racks in New York | green streets | Scoop.it

New York City is removing its last single-space parking meter in Manhattan today, The New York Times reports. Instead of collecting parking fees for individual spots, the New York City Department of Transportation is converting to Muni-Meters that take up less space on sidewalks and have a better record on vandalism.

More interestingly, the old single-space parking meters will be dismantled and the poles will be repurposed as bicycle racks, the NYT reports.

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NYC's High Line: round 3

NYC's High Line: round 3 | green streets | Scoop.it

As one of the most well-known and popular urban revitalization projects in recent memory, New York's High Line has proven the effectiveness and impact of adaptive reuse and urban green space.

The completed High Line will integrate into its surroundings as it wraps around the proposed Hudson Yards development, a commercial and residential district west of Eighth Ave, the 'once-desolate area of factories, lofts and parking lots' (NY Times) that was the designated site proposed for New York's bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

Features of the latest design include a passageway to this future complex, as well as the largest open gathering space along the High Line, currently designed with amphitheater-type seating, and an extensive children's play area...

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Farm City - Huffington Post

Farm City - Huffington Post | green streets | Scoop.it

As the world's population expands and we expect to see 9 billion people on the planet by 2050 we are already thinking about the limitations and design of our spaces and our places. Already, 70 percent of fruits and vegetables grown in the United States are grown in urban edged areas with growing pressure for development. New York is also the home to 1.5 million food insecure residents people and many kids growing up in urban areas, sadly, believe that their food, literally, comes from the grocery store aisles. Instead, as volunteers and consumers flock to urban agricultural spaces there is an opportunity to learn more about food production. Community members become excited about their own role in transforming the communities in which they live, and a connection is formed between farmers and consumers, which also serves to deepen the connection between urban dwellers and the earth...

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Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning

Upper West Side Mom & Pops Get Boost from Planning | green streets | Scoop.it

While the city has kept Walmart at bay—for now—banks and/or drugstores continue to consume two, three, and sometimes four or five consecutive storefronts in many parts of the city. The Upper West Side has been particularly hard hit because most of its side streets are residential. The neighborhood primarily relies on the north/south corridors of Broadway, Amsterdam, and Columbus for its shopping needs. After hearing citywide complaints about the problem, City Planning has begun to address the issue through the West Side Neighborhood Retail Streets Initiative.

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NYC May Get a New Waterfront Park on the East River

NYC May Get a New Waterfront Park on the East River | green streets | Scoop.it
A pier on the East River could be turned into a park, and be the beginning a redevelopment of Manhattan's East Side.

Although New York is a city of islands, in Manhattan, it's hard to enjoy the waterfront. But an opportunity on the East River could bring New Yorkers closer to the water from which they've long been separated by the FDR Drive. The Municipal Art Society has unveiled an ambitious plan for Waterside Pier, once owned by Con Edison. If that plan comes to fruition, the pier, which runs from 38th to 41st Street, could be the centerpiece of an East Side Waterfront Park.

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Time Square’s New Year’s LED ball

Time Square’s New Year’s LED ball | green streets | Scoop.it
New Years Eve 2012 will mark the symbolic end of the Edison era. Millions of Americans will herald in 2012, and the dawn of higher efficiency lighting standards, with their eyes directed onto LED lighting when the ball drops in New York’s Times Square.

Incandescent lightbulbs gleamed down on exuberant New Yorkers beginning in 1907. It took more than a century for that to change. An array of 526 LED lights will now illuminate the numerals of a giant ‘2012′ sign to officially begin the new year.

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Noguchi Museum Features Art as Urban Planning

Noguchi Museum Features Art as Urban Planning | green streets | Scoop.it
When the impetus for urban planning comes from the art studio instead of from public officials, you get the ideas seen in “Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City” at the Noguchi Museum.

They aren’t granted as many opportunities as politicians or armies. But when all else fails, the visionary thinking of artists has become public policy. Ten years ago an artist turned mayor painted dilapidated buildings with bright primary colors in Tirana, Albania, performing a kind of art therapy on a depressed city. And in Bogotá, Colombia, traffic police were replaced with mimes in the hope of supplanting corruption and violence with playful street theater.

The situation in Long Island City isn’t as dire as in those localities. But that section of Queens has been threatened in recent decades by unchecked development, the loss of affordable housing and the chemical hangover of industrialization. And so the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park asked four artists to take a crack at city planning...

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New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener

New 'Slow Zones' Make NYC Streets Safer and Greener | green streets | Scoop.it
This week, New York City opened its first neighborhood slow zone, where slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

The neighborhood slow zone is a six-block-square area of the Bronx where the speed limit is now 20 mph, compared to 30 in the rest of the city. Signs declaring the slow zone designation mark the entrances to this area, while "20 MPH" is painted in tall letters at regular intervals on the street as a reminder. Speed bumps help enforce the new rule.

The neighborhood is mostly residential, with a high concentration of schools and a history of injuries and fatalities.

The city's transportation commission, Janette Sadik-Khan, spoke at the opening ceremony for slow zone about how it will make the streets safer. But it will also make them greener: slower speed limits make roads more accessible to anyone not in a car.

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Streets- The Pedestrian Loses the Way

Streets- The Pedestrian Loses the Way | green streets | Scoop.it
Before the advent of the electric and cable streetcars, pedestrians had undifferentiated dominion over both the sidewalks and the roadbed.

This changed in the 1880s with the advent of electric and cable streetcars, with their much greater weights and speeds than horse-drawn vehicles, not to mention their guillotine-like wheels. It is a comment on how we viewed our streets that, by design, passengers were meant to board streetcars in the middle of the roadway.

There are only a few places where one can recapture the old relationship of the buildings to the full width of the street...

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Mapping the trees of New York, one by one

Mapping the trees of New York, one by one | green streets | Scoop.it
A project to map the location and condition of each tree in NYC opens up doors for citizen stewardship, inviting New Yorkers to be unlikely forest workers.
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Proposal Transforms Park Space Under the Manhattan Bridge

Proposal Transforms Park Space Under the Manhattan Bridge | green streets | Scoop.it

Let’s face it, outside of Central Park, Manhattan isn’t known for its abundance of open space. This is beginning to change, however, as in this increasingly innovative architectural age, people are looking to odd, underutilized remnants in the city, from abandoned rail lines to decrepit industrial buildings and toxic waterfronts to create the next amazing public space. One such space sits just beneath the Manhattan Bridge, where Architecture for Humanity has secured a grant and invited nine design firms to take on Coleman Oval Skate Park. Holm Architecture Office (HAO) with Niklas Thormark has taken on the challenge and revealed their program-driven proposal.

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Snøhetta Unveils Plans to Redesign Times Square Pedestrian Plazas

Snøhetta Unveils Plans to Redesign Times Square Pedestrian Plazas | green streets | Scoop.it
Snohetta design firm will be cleaning up and redesigning the Times Square plaza to make it permanent and more visitor friendly.

The $27 million preliminary plan was proposed to the Department of Transportation this week and was met with great positive feedback. The plan calls for the cementing of the plazas from 42nd to 47th Streets to create a uniform car-free space, and the curbs and sidewalks that exist now will be leveled into one continuous, flat area to make for easier and quicker walking.

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NYU 2031: Six Million Square Feet in Twenty Years

NYU 2031: Six Million Square Feet in Twenty Years | green streets | Scoop.it
New York University has developed NYU 2031, a plan for growth and expansion within the Village and beyond that calls for 6 million square feet of additional space for academic and housing purposes.
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