Maintaining (2017)

Countless acts of routine maintenance shape New York City every day, yet often go unnoticed until something goes wrong. This year, the Urban Design Forum invites you to consider new ways to sustain our public realm. How can we use design thinking, creative financing, new technology, and community organizing to maintain our physical and social infrastructure?
Fellows ↓
Events ↓
On April 9, the Forum invited Meredith Almeida, Ellen Baer, Laura Hansen, Josh Levin and Leslie Ramos to debate how all neighborhoods and commercial corridors can equitably funded and maintained.
On February 13, the Urban Design Forum invited Scott Anderson, Betsy MacLean, Sam Marks, Gregory Schiefelbein, and Barika Williams to debate how to maintain and expand affordable housing in New York City.

Valuing Parks

Event ▻ Maintaining (2017)
On January 17, the Urban Design Forum invited Frances Halsband, Elissa Hoagland, Andrew Lavallee, Signe Nielsen, and Commissioner Mitchell Silver to debate how to design and finance New York City's neighborhood parks.

Hot Air

Event ▻ Maintaining (2017)
On December 13, the Urban Design Forum invited Ken Fisher, Robert Paley, Joe Rose, Matthew Washington and Madelyn Wils to discuss creative proposals for how TDR can be utilized to maintain New York City’s public infrastructures.
On October 18, we were joined by Elena Conte, Susannah Drake, Margaret Newman, Jennifer Pehr and Nicholas Pettinati to hear original proposals for re-thinking New York City’s arterial roadways.
On September 6 we were joined by Tim Braine, Jonathan Cohn, John Falcocchio, Susan Fine and Eve Michel as they proposed new solutions to care for New York City's 472 subway stations.
On August 10 we were joined by Sharon Davis, Michelle de la Uz, Brad Lander, Gita Nandan, and Andrea Parker as they proposed leveraging development in Gowanus to expand the neighborhood's green infrastructure network and preserve the area's cultural assets.
On June 14 we were joined by Danny Fuchs, Jennifer Godzeno, Ronnie Lowenstein, Preston Niblack and Henry Grabar for an investigation into how the city budget impacts the built form of New York City.
On May 1 we were joined by Eloise Hirsh, Sam Schwartz, Margaret Tobin, and Deborah Marton offered a retrospective on caring for New York City’s public assets from the fiscal crisis to today.
On February 16 the Forum hosted a tour of the Public Design Commission Archives! Some of the highlights included a maintaining budget from Robert Moses, and some rather peculiar street signs!
Proposals ↓
By Gretchen Dykstra The heart of Manhattan was reborn when the Times Square Business Improvement District (BID) was established in 1992, led by Gretchen Dykstra. Dykstra went on to serve as Commissioner of Consumer Affairs under Mayor Bloomberg, and was the Founding President of the National 9/11 Memorial Foundation. Today, she lives in the Hudson More
By Carter Strickland Improved water quality paved the way for the redevelopment of New York City’s waterfront from manufacturing to residential and park uses. But combined sewer overflows remained a vexing problem—exacerbated by a century of development and increased rainfall during to climate change. Carter Strickland worked on the problem as Deputy Commissioner and then More
By Theodore Liebman Theodore Liebman, FAIA, has devoted his career to examining the impacts of development on people and the environment, with an eye to improving cities and shaping future settlements. Now a Principal with Perkins Eastman, an Adjunct Professor at NYU, and Board Member with the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, Liebman casts his mind More
By John Raskin John Raskin had a ringside view when legislative efforts to secure transit revenues through East River and Harlem bridge tolls were defeated in Albany in 2009, when John was serving as Chief of Staff to State Senator Daniel Squadron. Since 2011, Raskin has applied his previous experience in community organizing to transit More
By Margaret Tobin A decades-long impasse over the development of the west side waterfront ended in the summer of 1993 when Margaret Tobin, Tom Fox, and councilman Tom Duane cut open a chainlink fence at Pier 62—returning a small piece of the waterfront to the public realm. Tobin served as the Executive Vice President and More
By Sam Schwartz Samuel I. Schwartz came to be known as “Gridlock Sam” while serving as NYC Traffic Commissioner. Since then Schwartz has continued to apply himself to the city’s transportation challenges; first at the Department of Transportation (DOT), and later at the eponymous firm he founded in 1995. In the early 1990s, Schwartz outlined More
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to maintenance and no design is maintenance-free. New York City’s DOT is pursuing a multipronged approach to find long-term solutions for maintenance in all neighborhoods–not just those with resources.

Not a Park!

Proposal ▻ Maintaining (2017)
In expanding our notion of a neighborhood park, we can invite others in and foster a spirit of shared responsibility.
Arterials such as FDR Drive and the Sheridan Expressway are long overdue for a 21st-century transformation, which calls for equally innovative approaches to infrastructure design and public finance.
The current Parks Commissioner describes parks as critical infrastructure. Private funds aren’t used to build or maintain infrastructure projects such as roads, sewers, water supply, or marine transfer stations—so why should we rely on private dollars to maintain parks?
By leveraging public-private partnerships and sharing maintenance responsibilities between advertisers and retail lessees, we can deliver modern transit hubs that combine transportation and retail.
In neighborhoods with fewer resources, the BID model can be unpacked and adapted—sharing its functions among community organizations, government, and other supportive partners.
Partnership is possible—and importantly, fruitful—between residents, community organizations, and BIDs. If we want Myrtle Avenue to be the anchor for a healthy, thriving neighborhood, we know that intentional partnership is essential to achieve it.
To maintain a common ground between Gowanus veterans and newcomers, we must rehabilitate the public spaces that connect the dots between the old and the new.
Instituting a citywide stewardship strategy for resiliency infrastructure— a Conservancy 2.0—will help deliver resilient open space projects to the physically and economically vulnerable areas that need them the most.
Business Improvement Districts often act as vital points of contact for communities. Local Development Corporations could be established to supplement BIDs, marshaling services that directly address neighborhood needs.

Recycle and Reclaim

Proposal ▻ Maintaining (2017)
With the introduction of automated vehicles on the horizon, we have the chance to reclaim our roadways—unlocking space for green corridors, neighborhood connections, and new development.

Cap the Expressway

Proposal ▻ Maintaining (2017)
By capping two blocks of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway trench in Williamsburg, we can provide verdant open space for the neighborhood and build the better future the community envisions.
Our historic subway stations are our most used public spaces. Partnering with the private sector will give them the innovation and investment they need to thrive.
The Gowanus Field Station embodies hands-on learning: it is an outdoor classroom designed to also be a storm-water “eco-machine” that will host a green roof, sit next to a bioswale, capture rainwater for reuse, and use a vegetated rain garden to clean sink water before discharging to the canal.
Publications ↓
In 2017-18, we invited our Fellows and other experts to consider the question of maintaining New York City’s essential infrastructure: its open spaces, roadways, subway stations, public housing, commercial corridors, and green infrastructure.
Partners ↓