Restricting non-manufacturing uses is essential to the success of City industrial policy.
To respond to the climate crisis, New York City must preserve M-zones and invest in manufacturing and industrial innovation.
Public investments in open space, retail, and streetscapes can promote economic development by connecting and enriching New York’s life sciences hubs.
Coworking spaces should reflect the identity of their attracted members in order to thrive at work.
The community-focused approach of coworking can benefit justice design for a better inmate, visitor, and neighborhood experience.
Activate underutilized NYCHA spaces with workspaces for residents.
Design flexible campuses and flexible laboratory space that allow for easy growth and future modifications.
New York City should invest in non-profit organizations and spaces to create a safe ecosystem for Black entrepreneurs and creatives.
New York City’s industrial sector must undergo climate adaption and mitigation as a mechanism for economic opportunity and environmental justice.
Daniel McPhee speaks to Marisa Lago and Regina Myer about transforming Downtown Brooklyn into a thriving live-work neighborhood.
Loft-inspired design in commercial buildings can draw creative businesses to Downtown Brooklyn.
Faculty externships can create workforce pipelines in growing business hubs as a way to retain talent and provide diverse growth in transforming neighborhoods.
Maximizing civic space when designing mixed-use projects can support active hubs for cultural and commercial activity.
An integrated equity plan in large, mixed-use development projects can support inclusive and sustainable economic development.
As housing prices continue to rise, New York City should establish a “Development without Displacement” framework to protect its most vulnerable residents.
Parks really can serve a social equity mission. Let a commitment to equitable design, operations, and maintenance, inform park funding strategies.
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.
To save public housing, we need to change the narrative and open NYCHA to new technology partnerships.
In expanding our notion of a neighborhood park, we can invite others in and foster a spirit of shared responsibility.
Many New York institutions are in desperate need of funding to maintain their landmarks. To preserve our city’s heritage, these institutions need the ability to monetize their unused development rights.
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.
With its extraordinary waterfront features, Hudson River Park’s capital maintenance costs are eye-watering. Selling the park’s development rights has allowed us to divert a crisis.
Zoning requirements could help facilitate the renewal of subway stations, enriching the daily experience for our straphangers.
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?
To bring about an equitable city, we need to rapidly scale up the number of affordable housing units stewarded by business savvy, mission-oriented entities.
Maintenance is vital to the well-being and longevity of our urban open spaces. We advocate building maintenance plans into park projects from the start.
We need a game plan for funding the maintenance of New York City’s iconic parks, obscure parks, and could-be parks. Sports ticket sales could be the answer.
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.
Community Land Trusts can maintain housing affordability for generations. We’re working to achieve this in New York City.
Digital technologies can augment, rather than replace, neighborhood retail.
City government should create a non-profit commercial development fund to combat small business displacement.
Time-based zoning encourages more efficient land use and balanced growth for dynamic 24-hour neighborhoods.
It is time cities consider a range of criteria - user equity, economic viability, and health – and light in nighttime design and planning initiatives.
City governments should advocate for nighttime cultural and commercial spaces by actively managing the urban night through regulation, design and infrastructure.
Cities must update codes and regulations to keep up with transformation in retail.
By designing mixed-use buildings within industrial zones, we can provide more space for emerging tech, vertical manufacturing, and creative sectors.
We can adapt defunct space in New York City’s industrial zones into new facilitates suitable for emerging 21st century industries.
By combining a new approach to vertical manufacturing and integrating valuable public space and amenities, multi-modal transit and streetscapes, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is positioned to become a new model of urban industrial campus.
Design commercial buildings that provide modular space for businesses to grow throughout the lifecycle of their development – from seed stage to maturity.
Cities should encourage development models that incentivize the creation of co-located facilities for manufacturing and office space as a way to decentralize working hubs.
Instead of asking what kind of future transportation technology will bring us, we should ask: what kind of city do we want?
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.
Electric and driverless cars are on the way-it's time to rethink our gas stations as new civic space.
Penn Station is a symbol of our city, yet now stands a neglected opportunity. It should be a shared civic space for us all!
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.
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.
Traditional green infrastructure hides the runoff it manages. Imagine if we celebrated our storm-water by growing the future of our streetscape!
The Broadway Malls could become a significant green corridor, integrating cutting-edge technology to provide a safe route for pedestrians, cyclists, and local wildlife.
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!
We call for a (re) conceptualization of Complete Streets that humanizes “users” by acknowledging their difference and diversity.
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.
Staten Island residents have serious transit inequities. To solve them, we must leave behind rails and roads and look to the sky with the SI Gondola.
When the L train shuts down, thousands will need an alternative to travel along 14th street. We propose the PeopleWay!
42nd street is a microcosm of New York. Imagine it as a grand passage, with light rail gliding through the heart of the city!
New neighborhoods are rising on the water’s edge, but lack reliable public transit. Let’s build the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX).
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.
A new subway line between Inwood and Orchard Beach would give residents and commuters the transit options they deserve.
We don’t just need new transit, we need a comprehensive strategy to achieve resilient community development and connectivity—the BQXL.
We’re headed for ‘bike-lock’ on the bridges to Manhattan. We need new capacity now.
The key to a more equitable New York is a new model for public transit—one that unlocks the potential for autonomous vehicles (AVs).
Disposing our waste is a wasteful process—it’s time we make it more efficient.
We need to rethink New York City’s transportation system to make it possible to get from anywhere to everywhere.
The L Train shutdown is the most significant transportation-related crisis to hit New York City in decades—and an unprecedented opportunity to solve subway overcrowding.
Few tasks are as fraught as envisioning the future, but the history of urban technology promises that the changes of the digital age are likely to be both profound and complex.
Private microtransit, in concert with congestion pricing and public Bus Rapid Transit, is the greatest opportunity to fix our bus crisis.
Public transit today is out of reach for the City's poorest residents. Every New Yorker deserves a Fair Fare!
The buses that crawl down our streets today are not the service our city needs. Our buses should move at the speed of New York!
Paratransit today is managed inefficiently. It’s time to rethink how our future senior and disabled population will access their rides.
In the face of climate change and a lack of infrastructure investment, a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem can move New York City into the future!
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.
We don’t need every street to be ‘complete.’ We need a street network that works for everyone.
Zoning once facilitated the age of the automobile; today we can use it to enhance public transit.
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?
The growing volume of freight traffic in New York City has ramifications for residents’ health and the environment. It is time to adopt electric fleets.
With automated vehicles on the horizon, it’s time to envision the cities that will accommodate them.
Traffic lights were originally conceived for horse carriages. We need to reinvent them for the age of autonomous vehicles.
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.
Traditional transit cannot serve the complex needs of our cities today. Bike share can help us build a more connected and equitable future.
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.
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.
With the introduction of a Transit Maintenance Assessment District, the true beneficiaries of rail transit—businesses and property owners—would pay their fair share.
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.
Let’s transform New York’s subway stations into public realm destinations that inspire civic pride.
Quality public housing is critical to maintaining the city’s diversity. Value capture through rezoning is one way we can help preserve it.
With a forthcoming environmental cleanup and neighborhood rezoning, Gowanus is changing.
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.
The Urban Design Forum is the proud curatorial partner for the 2017 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition, led by Times Square Arts. Designed by The Office for Creative Research, We Were Strangers Too, is a public data sculpture highlighting the role that immigrants have played in the founding, development and continued vibrancy of New York City.
Open (Your) Heart is about the greatest love of all - the love of self and what follows - the ability to love others, particularly the most vulnerable amongst us.
Heart to Heart is a temporary public structure that symbolizes how New Yorkers depend on each other, especially at a moment where opening our hearts is more important than ever. It becomes not just a temporary sculpture but also a meaningful action that advocates for underfunded and vulnerable community organizations, affirming them as more permanent public fixtures.
Blind Love is a participatory art project inviting New Yorkers to write love letters to those people who remain in our nation's blind spots during the current era of mass incarceration.
Heartfelt is a participatory public art project which prompts two or more participants to put away their phones and hold hands to light up Times Square, the Heart of NYC.
This installation for Times Square Valentine rethinks the Sacro Bosco for the 21st century: a labyrinthine experience of unexpected encounters with others and with oneself.
In the name of love and immigrants and freedom of movement and right to assembly, this proposal aims to honor both Duffy and the contemporary vitality that this tiny piece of open space supports in the heart of Manhattan.
When we leave our "cell-fie," our self-reflective room, we find each other reflected together under the same canopy; at the center, under a heart shape void, we encounter one another.
Some of the greatest opportunities for new housing and development within a stone’s throw of Manhattan line the East River in Astoria and Long Island City. By creating a new light rail line in those neighborhoods, we could create an enormous opportunity for new investment.
All three airports serving New York—John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty—are in need of retrofits and greater accessibility. Why not tie the redevelopment of our airports to the development of the greater city?
How can we encourage manufacturing to take root in our city and thrive? Historically, factories provided stable jobs and built the urban economy. With the advent of containerization and the digital supply chain, factories left for cheaper land and labor in free trade zones with few human rights.
Given the tremendous contribution that landmarks make to New York City, we need a more effective program to allow property owners to use untapped development rights to obtain funds needed for maintenance. We propose amending the zoning text to allow non-profit landmarks to transfer their development rights anywhere within their community district, as-of-right, as long as the development rights can be used within existing building height and setback constraints.
There’s a tremendous need for more density in the city. Our population is growing, and we’re projected to reach 9 million in 2030. When the Zoning Resolution was passed in 1961, it estimated a full build-out of 12 million.
Imagine new uninterrupted connections across the river, linking major destinations across the five boroughs. First, we could extend the Roosevelt Island tram in both directions, creating a new link from Queens Plaza to Central Park.
In Williamsburg, there is a tremendous opportunity to cap the trench of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and build an open space amenity for the South Side Williamsburg community. This is not a tunnel and not a “Big Dig.” Instead, it is a thin deck capping the BQE that could benefit over 160,000 people in the surrounding neighborhood, which is a primarily low-income and Hispanic area.
In the same way that New York City dedicates itself to building its water and waste infrastructure, we must recognize the importance of food to our health, security, and economy.
We must recognize that the process of displacement and replacement now occurring citywide will not foster integrated and healthy communities, and we must explore new zoning mechanisms to reverse this pattern.
Water needs more space in the city. Over the past centuries, rivers, floodplains, and protective wetlands have been continually filled in or moved to make room for urban growth.
The static nature of the zoning code can make it an ineffective tool in helping communities address changing needs and conditions in their neighborhoods. It’s time to create a more dynamic planning process that explicitly addresses community well-being, not just form.
The next mayor will need to move quickly, decisively, and transparently to face the pivotal issues left unaddressed over the last two decades. The ability to plan, prioritize, and apply capital infrastructure expenditures—subject to the participation of the public and consent by City Council—will be essential.
We propose that the City investigate the adaptive reuse of former military vessels to create a riparian buffer zone that confronts the issues of storm surge and flood management in the New York Harbor.
A new rail connection could run express from the tunnels at Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal, via the new East Side Access Tunnels, through Sunnyside Yards toward the Hell Gate Bridge along the same right-of-way.
With 206 branches across the five boroughs, New York City has a tremendous physical legacy to build on, but the vast majority of branches are in desperate need of upgrades.
Partially elevated and partially subsurface, the greenway would extend 3.5 miles from Rego Park to Ozone Park and would serve 140,000 residents within a ten-minute walking radius and an additional 250,000 people within a mile.
There are countless paved areas of our roadbed that are sitting idle, devoid of beauty and serving little purpose. By thoughtfully designing these spaces to mimic natural systems, Greenstreets require minimal care and have a low burden on our maintenance infrastructure.
Robert Moses built the bridges and tunnels where we pay tolls today within the five boroughs. Nelson Rockefeller, as governor, created the MTA in 1965 and took the excess revenue to pay for transit shortfalls. There’s no other rhyme or reason for it.
New York must entice talented newcomers by offering them truly affordable housing. I propose to rezone outer borough manufacturing areas that adjoin emerging residential neighborhoods as micro-housing enclaves.
When developing new parks and open spaces citywide, the City should explore the use of tax-increment financing (TIFs). TIFs set aside future increases in property taxes to subsidize development. The increase in property value is substantial--at Hudson River Park, the value of adjacent properties jumped over 100% from 2003-2007, 20% of which can be directly attributed to park development.
Municipal budget structures and political cycles favor new construction and inadequately fund park maintenance. Though a state of good repair may be less sexy than a ribbon-cutting, thriving open spaces provide long-term social benefits like community resilience and improved public health.
I propose that the city transfer development rights from Zone 1 Flood Zones to upland areas in order to finance a buyout of the city’s most vulnerable coastal areas. Governor Cuomo has proposed a buyout of some of these coastal zones, but there is no long-term mechanism to pay for it. This strategy could be used especially to transfer density from residential and industrial zones with low maximum FAR to upland sites.
Vacant buildings and storefronts are detrimental to the health and vibrancy of our city. Too often landlords do not take advantage of the incredible opportunity that their vacant spaces could provide to artists, entrepreneurs and small organizations. We need to begin harnessing the potential of underutilized space citywide.
Our overriding priority must be the public arena, the actual public space itself, the space we all own. And one department or commission should be responsible for its design, coordination and development. We need a Commissioner of the Public Realm, a Coordinator of the City Surface, a Director of Public Space!
The NYC Prevailing Wage for electricians, carpenters, plumbers, and laborers is double or triple the wage costs to employ these tradesmen in the greater metropolitan area. Quite simply, that increases the cost of producing affordable housing by up to 30%.
Typically, developers spend six months preparing responses to requests for proposals (RFPs). This has never been easy, but in recent years, the requirements have become extremely complex, arduous and expensive. Losing competitions is painful.
We have a serious shortfall in housing. Our total population is expected to rise by another million by 2030. The vacancy rate has stayed below 5% since it was first recorded in the 1960s. And half of New Yorkers pay more than 30% of their income on housing.
The City has successfully streamlined the delivery system for land sales and making grants and loans. But tax abatements and exemptions remain tangled.
The landmarks system is broken. First, there is a serious lack of transparency surrounding landmark and historic district designations. Second, let’s stop pretending landmark designations are always used to protect our city’s cultural heritage.
While NYCHA is a great success — providing housing for 1 out of 13 New Yorkers — it is also struggling to remain solvent. The habitability of its buildings will soon be threatened if capital investments are not forthcoming.
Modular construction can transform how we build affordable and market-rate buildings with greater savings and a diminished impact on the community and the environment. At our first high-rise project at Atlantic Yards, we found that we can use a modern means of construction while embracing sustainability and delivering on world-class architecture.
Bike superhighways, or ‘bike rapid transit,’ present a welcome solution to speed long-haul bike journeys in New York City. Already emerging in other world-class cities, bike superhighways are wide, continuous protected bike lanes with prioritized, unbroken rights-of-way.
Painting bus lanes and collecting fares before passengers board have sped up SBS routes, but New York can do better. We need to build a world-class Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network.
The New York City streetscape should be designed for increased and evolving modes of transit. Think of it as Complete Streets 2.0: car-free streets with linear parks, protected bike lanes, and mass transit.
Pennsylvania Station must grow its capacity to serve 110 million passengers entering New York City annually—more than the three major metro airports combined. A new Penn Station will renew the competitiveness of the New York region in the global economy.
Let’s push the extension of the 7 Line to Secaucus and bring the subway to New Jersey. The possibilities are extraordinary. And Hudson Yards could serve as a booming new cultural heart for the city.
The New York Triboro Overground is a regional express rail for the outer boroughs. The Overground would utilize the railbed of the existing New York Connecting Railroad, which carries limited freight traffic and connects Port Morris in the Bronx through Queens with Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.
We need a real regional rail system. All three commuter rail systems—Metro North, Long Island Rail Road, and New Jersey Transit—currently operate as separate entities.
We have a tremendous opportunity to achieve economic, social, and environmental sustainability by promoting the shift from ownership to membership models. Membership models enable people to share resources they might have previously had to own.
A network of artificial islands is a productive, attractive, and cost-effective approach to create ecological infrastructure and new public space. Just as the great Aztecs produced agriculture on floating chinampas, or Bangladesh created societies around floating gardens, or just as Thailand’s floating markets attract tourists and drive the local economy, floating islands could be the future of open space in New York City.