About Neighborhoods Now
In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, and Washington Heights, these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.
The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.
Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.
Working Groups ↓

Community Partner: Bed-Stuy Gateway BID

Coordinating Firm: Moody Nolan

Supporting Firms: Design Advocates (Büro Koray Duman, Bureau V, Lea Architecture, Only If Architecture, Studio Cadena, WIP Studio, Thackway McCord); GrimshawJaklitsch/GardnerW Architecture

Proposal ↓

The Bed-Stuy Gateway BID identified the following priorities:

  • COVID-19 education and awareness
  • Reopening strategies for local businesses
  • Amplification of meaningful artistic voices within the community
  • Play areas for children’s activities
  • Comfortable, shaded, and safe places for outdoor respite

Focusing on Bed-Stuy’s Marcy Plaza, the working group envisions an actively inclusive plaza which provides a sense of attachment, belonging, and emotional investment for residents. In their proposal, Marcy Plaza would become a hub for socially distanced activities including an outdoor art gallery amplifying local artists, podium-style seating for outdoor events, and a pop-up playground with swings and a library. Signage and environmental graphics also celebrate individual businesses while encouraging safety for business owners and customers, while planters and graphics also encourage healthy social distancing measures.

In the short-term, the Gateway BID working group is now implementing hand sanitizer stations in public spaces and at entrances to businesses. In collaboration with Alloy and law firm Fried Frank, the working group also organized a mediation between landlords and small businesses owners to aid with lease negotiations.

See the full Bed-Stuy Gateway BID working group’s report (PDF)

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Neighborhoods Now Bed-Stuy Gateway BID,” is at the sole risk of the user, and the Urban Design Forum shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges the Urban Design Forum and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.
Caption: Stepped seating system adapting to various heights, Courtesy: Moody Nolan