Onward (2016)

Our century-old transportation infrastructure is aging and new digital technologies are revolutionizing the way we move through cities. This year, the Urban Design Forum crafts a vision for the future of mobility in New York City. How would you build a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable city? (Photo Credit: Navid Baraty)
Fellows ↓
Events ↓
On November 7, the Urban Design Forum hosted its Fall Dinner, Momentum: New Mobility and the City. To celebrate our yearlong Onward initiative exploring new ideas to reimagine New York City’s streets and transit networks. we invited Jay Walder and Rohit Aggarwala to consider how new sensing, sharing, and cycling technologies are not only changing our streets but the city itself.
New York City's subway system is suffering from rising infrastructure costs, declining investment and record overcrowding. Superstorm Sandy and the pending L-Train shutdown remind us that our aging transit system is vulnerable to climate change.
On June 15, the Urban Design Forum invited Tara Pham, Co-founder and CEO of CTY; Oliver Schaper, Practice Area Leader in Planning & Urban Design for Gensler’s North-East region; Sam Schwartz, President, and CEO of Sam Schwartz Engineering; Claire Weisz, Founding Principal at WXY architecture + urban design, and moderator Jill Lerner, Principal at Kohn Pedersen More
On June 15, the Urban Design Forum invited Jill Morgenweck, Director of Regional Operations at Shyp; Makoto Okazaki, Partner and Principal Architect at Michael Sorkin Studio; Paul Salama, Zoning + GIS Lead at Envelope; Juliette Spertus, Co-founder of ClosedLoops; and moderator Greg Lindsay to debate the future of urban freight. Lindsay introduced the roundtable by More
On May 25, the Urban Design Forum invited Kate Ascher, Partner at Buro Happold; Margaret Newman, Associate Principal at Arup; Paolo Santi, Research Scientist at MIT Senseable City Lab; and Catherine Seavitt, Principal of Catherine Seavitt Studio, to participate in our second roundtable on the future of transportation in New York City. After a brief More
Join us April 25 for cocktails and conversation on the future of surface transit in New York. As New York’s population booms and subway construction costs skyrocket, city officials are turning to leaner solutions like bus rapid transit, bike share and ferry routes to move New Yorkers. But how can we connect the city’s burgeoning waterfront More
In January 2016, the Urban Design Forum led a hard hat tour of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub led by Robert Eisenstat, Chief Architect of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The $4 billion, Santiago Calatrava-designed hub will connect 11 different subway lines and serve an estimated 200,000 commuters each day. More
New technologies are revolutionizing the way we move through cities. Car- and bike-share options are swaying more urbanites to ditch their cars. E-hail companies are enhancing ease and access across the five boroughs. Rapid delivery services are reducing trips to grocery stores and retailers. Autonomous cars and trucks are being tested on roads across America. How will these technologies shape our streets, transit networks, and public realm? Could private cars finally become obsolete?
On October 13, thirty Fellows of the Urban Design Forum participated in a members-only tour of the 7 Line extension and Hudson Yards construction site led by Beth Greenberg and Richard Dattner, Principals at Dattner; Shawn Kildare, Senior Vice President at MTA Capital Construction; Alexia Friend, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; and Michael Samuelian, Vice President More
Proposals ↓
Our historic subway stations are our most used public spaces in the city. We should partner with the private sector to give our stations the innovation and investment they need to thrive.

Reveal Penn Palimpsest

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
Penn Station is a symbol of our city, yet now stands a neglected opportunity. It should be a shared civic space for us all!

Grow the Green Line

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
We no longer need Broadway as a street. We should transform it into a linear park—a Green Line running through midtown Manhattan.
The Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook is notoriously difficult to access via public transit. Let’s explore new digital approaches to make the area’s transportation options visible to those who need them.

Revive Harlem Lane

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
St. Nicholas Avenue today is a largely unnecessary traffic corridor. Imagine it as a 3/4-mile long park running through Upper Manhattan: Harlem Lane reborn.
The Broadway Malls could become a significant green corridor, integrating cutting-edge technology to provide a safe route for pedestrians, cyclists, and local wildlife.

Plant the FOREX

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
Let’s expand the idea of the ‘street tree’ into a ‘street of trees’ to create a forest expressway.
The Brooklyn Strand should be a new gateway to the borough, connecting the waterfront with a series of parks, plazas, and greenways that will animate the thriving heart of Downtown Brooklyn!

Revamp the L Train

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
The L shutdown is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to upgrade one of our busiest subway lines to meet the needs of the future. We should invest in our stations today.
Queens is New York City’s fastest growing borough, but it lacks the infrastructure it needs. We must support Queens’ expansion with smart, sustainable transportation.

Ring Around the Harbor

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
We are just a few miles away from becoming the most bike-friendly region in the country. Let’s get there by completing a continuous route around New York Harbor!
New York City must strengthen our existing transit system beyond the Manhattan core to catalyze the untapped potential for development in underserved neighborhoods. We should invest in new, next-generation, elevated transit—the Halo Line—to serve all New Yorkers and build a strong future.

Reform the Curb

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
New York City is one of the most pedestrian-dense cities in the world, yet approximately 80% of our public space—our streets—is designed for automobiles. We must reform our curbside parking policies to create a more livable city.
The MTA is preparing to replace the MetroCard with a new mobile- and smartcard-based system. Now imagine it could be used for any transportation option, anywhere in the region—even driverless cars.
Freight is a planning afterthought, leaving our streets clogged with heavy vehicles. Why not consolidate deliveries at a neighborhood level to free up some space?

Deliver Goods By Subway

Proposal ▻ Onward (2016)
New York City can become environmentally self-sufficient if we repurpose and rebalance city streets and use the subway to deliver goods across the five boroughs.
As electric cars and the sharing economy become increasingly widespread, we have an opportunity to create a comprehensive mobility concept for New York City.
Publications ↓
In the fall of 2016, the Urban Design Forum invited its Fellows and experts to help us craft a vision for the future of mobility in New York City. Within these pages, you’ll find an inventory of imaginative thinking on what our city’s transportation landscape could be.