DesignNYC – Exhibition [VIDEOS]

designNYC currently has an exhibition at Pratt Manhattan Gallery at 144 West 14th Street New York displaying the their progress and impact of their first 12 pilot projects. The exhibition is on from June 17 to July 31, 2010. The first 12 projects include pro-bono work by well known landscape architects Balmori Associates with Broadway MallJoel Sanders,,Domingo Gonzalez on Master plan for 100-block ecological corridor. Also Robin Key Landscape Architecture with Enterprise Community Partners/FBHC work on
Intergenerational garden at Serviam Gardens.

desigNYC’s mission is to improve live in NYC by connecting nonprofits, community groups and city agencies serving the public good with passionate, professional pro bono designers.

They have also posted 7 videos on a Vimeo Channel including

desigNYC: Broadway Mall + Sanders, Balmori and Gonzalez from ESI Design on Vimeo.

The Broadway Mall Association is collaborating with Balmori Associates (Landscape/Urban Design), Joel Sanders (Architecture), and Domingo Gonzalez Associates (Lighting Design) to transform the entire 100-block length of the Broadway Malls into a stunning ecological corridor that will bring beauty, public safety, and commercial visibility to thousands of New Yorkers.

desigNYC: Serviam Gardens from ESI Design on Vimeo.

Working with Enterprise Community Partners, Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) and OCV Architects, Robin Key Landscape Architecture (RKLA) is developing an intergenerational garden for seniors and high school students at the Serviam Gardens senior housing development in the Bronx. Built on the campus of Mt. St. Ursula, an all-girls Catholic high school, the grounds of Serviam Gardens will serve the building’s 240 senior residents with a series of outdoor spaces that feature sustainable water practices, accessibility, community gathering spaces and an urban farm.

Spotted via Core77 – design magazine & resource

Cornell hopes to help revive Utica

Recently reported in

The city faces immense challenges on its way back to economic vitality – from hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crumbling infrastructure, to neighborhoods hollowed out by a loss of middle class residents, to the barely audible legislative peep it registers when compared to the powerhouse cities of downstate and Western New York.

But those traits are exactly what several optimistic professors from Cornell University are looking for, and why they’ve selected Utica as one of two cities for its Rust to Green program that seeks pathways for urban rebounds. The other city is Binghamton.

“An interesting part about these cities, they are particularly poised to undertake a recovery,” said Jamie Vanucchi, a lecturer in Cornell’s school of landscape architecture.

read more at the [SOURCE:]

New York City gains control of Governors Island & releases Master Plan

Mayor Bloomberg announces Governors Island Masterplan

New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Silver and State Senator Squadron announces an agreement on the long-term development, funding and governance of Governors Island

At a recent press conference Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor David A. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel L. Squadron announced an agreement on the long-term development, funding and governance of Governors Island in which New York City will have primary responsibility to develop and operate the island.  The newly-created Governors Island Operating Entity will be responsible for the planning, operation and maintenance of 150 acres of Governors Island.

As a part of the announcement, the City and the State together released the Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan, a comprehensive design for 87 acres of open green space, rejuvenating existing landscapes in the National Historic District, transforming the southern half of the island and creating a 2.2 mile Great Promenade along the waterfront. The park and public space plan was designed by a team led by the landscape architecture firm West 8. Governors Island reopens for public use on June 5.  Moving forward with the Park and Public Space Master Plan, schematic design and environmental review will begin later this year and continue through 2011. Following that, community review will commence in 2012, and pending review, the first phase of construction will begin in late 2012.

[SOURCE: New York City]

Below are the renders that were released with the City and State Release Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan for 87 Acres of Open Green Space

Visitors stopping at South Battery to enjoy the view

Visitors stopping at South Battery to enjoy the view

The Hammock Grove has shaded lawn and hammocks for relaxing

The Hammock Grove has shaded lawn and hammocks for relaxing

The Lower Level Promenade has spectacular views close to the water

The Lower Level Promenade has spectacular views close to the water

The Shell at Liberty Terrace is integrated into the landscape providing a sculptures seating area

The Shell at Liberty Terrace is integrated into the landscape providing a sculptured seating area

The Hills draw visitors down a pathway into a canyon-like landscape toward the Harbor

The Hills draw visitors down a pathway into a canyon-like landscape toward the Harbor

Ball players and spectators get an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty

Ball players and spectators get an amazing view of the Statue of Liberty

[IMAGE CREDIT: West 8, Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, SMWM, Urban Design+]

[IMAGE SOURCE: Governors Island Park & Public Space]


Also recently published was the architectural review by NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF of the Governors Island Master Plan in the [New York Times – Governors Island Vision Adds Hills and Hammock]

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Tupper Thomas – returning Prospect Park to New Yorkers

The New York Times takes a look at the 35 year career of Tupper Thomas, the Park Administrator for Prospect Park who announced her retirement from her current position of Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Partnerships (listed on NYC DPR) last Tuesday (effective early 2011).

Ms Thomes is credited by many for bringing back from the brink in 1970’s to become a park rivalling Central Park. The New York Times article talks to her peers and gives highlights of her career which shows that passion and perseverance often counts for more than experience when entering a new job.

Another highlight of the NYT article is past and present photos of Prospect Park.

Read more at the [SOURCE: New York Times – Returning Prospect Park to the People]

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NBBJ and Chan Krieger Sieniewicz to merge

NBBJ, a global architecture and design firm, and Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, internationally-known for urban design and architecture excellence, announced today a merger of the two firms that will create an integrated team of over 700 architects, landscape architects, urban designers, planners and interior designers.

The Chan Krieger Sieniewicz team, including its five principals, will continue in their current roles. As part of the transition to the NBBJ name, the Cambridge office will operate as Chan Krieger NBBJ.

The merger gives NBBJ, which already operates a project office in Boston, a larger presence in New England. The Seattle-based firm has offices in several U.S. cities, including Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Overseas offices include London, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai.


NY State to close parks and raise fees

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is closing 41 parks and 14 historic sites across the state and reducing services 23 parks and 1 historic site.

According to the Press Release

The Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) today put forward a list of closures and service reductions in order to achieve its proposed 2010-11 agency savings target and help address the State’s historic fiscal difficulties. As part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit……

The plan also assumes $4 million in park and historic site fee increases that will be identified at a later date, and the use of $5 million in funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to finance OPRHP operations.

SOURCE: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

To see the list of parks and historic sites

Continue reading NY State to close parks and raise fees

Private vs Public Money for Parks

New York Times recently published When Parks Must Rely on Private Money by DIANE CARDWELL concerning the struggles of cities to fund the construction and maintenance of parks throughout the USA. Many parks are funded through selling of land or revenues generated by carparks or taxes from new nearby developments and others are funded by residents and companies donating funds in return for naming rights or plaques. Cardwell cites examples of parks that have been constructed with the use some private funding including Millennium Park in Chicago and the Highline and with the tradeoff causing issues in some cities.

The article stimulated a few ideas I have had during my career. I find that funding of new or redevelopment of parks is a often a fine line between private and public funding, which often blurs the line between public and private space. Private funding often causing issues with residents because of naming or commercial activities in the new park that create a private area.

An ever-growing trend for cities around the world is to justify the cost of construction and maintenance of parks through inclusion of private funding or commercial activities such as paid parking garages, retail shops, restaurants, or areas that are commercialised for entertainment(concerts, festivals, etc). How to strike a balance between private and public funding is very complicated process for each city and requires research and consultation.

Many cities find it hard to redevelop parks with the use of public money as it is often controversial as parks are sometimes seen by residents as non-essential. Residents see hospitals, schools, and police as essential services within the community whereas parks are seen as non-essential and that public monies would be better spent on other services. To avoid this cities seek private funding in return for naming rights or a commercial development on or near the  park. Now the question is how far to go with private funding and how much is the park compromised by accepting the funding in return for naming right or commercial development?

This issue of public and private funding will become more and more prevalent around the world as developers of retail and residential developments blur the line between public and private space by creating spaces in developments that are town squares and parks that can be accessed by the public. This blurring will cause some confusion with city residents as to what is public space and what is private. It also raises the question – Are developers going to develop parks and maintain them or will it always remain the domain of the local government?

Private development of public parks as apart of residential developments or commercial developments, which are then handed to government after certain period is already occurring in some parts of the world. Will this become a growing trend across cities for small and large parks? Or will it remain only in residential developments?

By Damian Holmes

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