Resiliency & Sustainability

Fellows ↓
Events ↓

Comeback Cities

Event ▻ NY-LON
On November 30, join Dan Doctoroff and Fiona Fletcher-Smith for international dialogue on bringing great cities back from economic recession.
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 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 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!
Our third Fellow spotlight session will feature five fellows working on projects impacting the city in a myriad of ways. While it is hard to find a common thread between the group, all in some way deal with the topics of civic technology, equity and public space.

Finishing the Subway

Event ▻ Onward
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 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

Shanshui City

Event ▻ Chinese Ascent
On July 20, the Urban Design Forum invited Ma Yansong, founding principal of MAD Architects, and Michael Sorkin, founding principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, to discuss Ma’s “Shanshui City” design philosophy. At the age of 39, Ma has already garnered international acclaim for his imaginative buildings and unorthodox urban design. His work draws inspiration from More
  Over the last 30 years, more than 200 million people have migrated from the countryside to China’s cities, and officials plan to relocate another 250 million rural residents over the next decade. 55% of China’s population is now living in cities. What are the consequences of this vast urban shift? On May 6, the More

Governors Island Tour

Event ▻ Tours
In June 2013, Fellows of the Forum for Urban Design toured the first phase of construction on Governors Island. Led by Jamie Maslyn Larson, Principal of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, and Leslie Koch, President of the Trust for Governors Island, the Fellows took a sneak peek at over thirty acres of new More
Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good was first presented as the exhibition of the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (Fall 2012). It documents the nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative to solve problematic urban situations, creating new opportunities and amenities for the public. Provisional, improvisational, guerrilla, More
Urban Design Week was a public festival created to engage New Yorkers in the fascinating and complex issues of the public realm, and to celebrate the streetscapes, sidewalks, and public spaces at the heart of city life. At its heart was By the City/ For the City, a crowdsourced design project that gathered more than More
In 2011 the Urban Design Forum invited architects, planners, artists, designers, and students around the world to participate in By the City / For the City, a collaborative re-imagining of New York City’s public realm.
In October 2005, fifty-eight days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans, the Forum for Urban Design hosted a forum about the future of the Big Easy. Five years later, the Forum was joined once again by Kristina Ford, former Planning Director for the City of New Orleans, to discuss her recent book, More
In the past decade, a new breed of urbanization, the eco-city, has been conceived to anticipate the effects of the built environment on climate change. Several models have been proposed in Asia and the Middle East, where large swaths of urban fabric are being woven almost overnight. Yet the question remains–how does one define and More
The scope of the destruction that followed the January 12 earthquake in Haiti was so great that the rebuilding process must seek to transform the country’s built environment, not just replace it. The quake’s effects were clearly magnified by informal building practices and the concentration of people and industry in Port-au-Prince, while the environmental damage More
Proposals ↓

Cap the BQE with Green

Proposal ▻ Maintaining
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.

Gowanus Lowlands

Proposal ▻ Maintaining
Gowanus Lowlands is a community-based vision for a network of parks and public spaces centered on the Gowanus Canal and connecting to the surrounding watershed. The Lowlands seeks to ensure the community has a key role in leveraging these changes and investments to shape a watershed that is accessible, active, and clean for all.

Gowanus Field Station

Proposal ▻ Maintaining
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.

Stitching Gowanus

Proposal ▻ Maintaining
The current pedestrian experience of the Gowanus is streets ending abruptly into viewless dead ends and dark corners with no sense of the canal beyond. Our solution very practically addresses connectivity and circulation over the Gowanus by literally stitching the banks of the canal together through pedestrian bridges.
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.
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.
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.
Publications ↓
News ↓
Fellows in the News
Jeremy Alain Siegel describes the BIG U's passive protections to reduce maintenance and emulate natural protective systems against storms.
Fellows in the News
Katie Lorah and Rasmia Kirmani-Frye launched Ideas Marketplace, an online crowdfunding platform to fund NYCHA sustainability initiatives.
Fellows in the News
Marion Weiss and Michael Manfred explain their work on The Bridge at Cornell Tech intended to facilitate collaboration between students and start-ups.
Fellows in the News
Susannah Drake is stitching together parks in South Williamsburg to improve health, green space and commerce in the neighborhood.
Fellows in the News
Claire Weisz argues for improving permeability and actively involving the federal government to build resilient cities.
Fellows in the News
Corinne Kisner calls for widespread integration of green infrastructure in our city's streets to control run-off and absorb pollutants.
Fellows in the News
Tom Wright argues for building essential energy, environmental and educational facilities on Rikers instead of runways from LaGuardia.
Fellows in the News
MaryAnne Gilmartin, Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss praise the design of The Bridge at Cornell Tech for encouraging serendipitous interactions while also being sustainable.
Fellows in the News
Lord Norman Foster opened his new archive and international research center in Madrid to encourage future designers to address critical issues such as climate change.
Fellows in the News
Catherine Seavitt Nordenson has been awarded a Graham Foundation Grant for her publication on the modernist landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
Fellows in the News
Tom Wright, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Andrew Lynn and Polly Trottenberg addressed the various infrastructure projects required in the region at the RPA Assembly.
Fellows in the News
Richard Dattner and Claire Weisz's Garage and Salt Shed project has been selected as one of the top 10 most sustainable projects of 2017.
Fellows in the News
Nancy Owens is working on the renovation of Astoria Park, which includes essential infrastructure maintenance, such as erosion control and fixing the drainage system.
Fellows in the News
Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich are designing two environmentally efficient art galleries in the Lower East Side.
Fellows in the News
Juliette Michaelson and Tom Wright from RPA, with Guy Nordenson and Paul Lewis of Princeton University, are hosting a design competition to transform four corridor geographies within the NY-metro region.
Fellows in the News
Eric Fang, Class of 2016 Fellow, helped design Arverne by the Sea, the largest urban waterfront renewal site in the United States.
Fellows in the News
Stephen Whitehouse is transforming New Jersey's Southwest Block 12 from a parking lot into a resilient urban park with storm-water storage.
Call for Ideas
How can we use design thinking, creative financing, new technology, and community organizing to maintain our physical and social infrastructure?
Fellows in the News
Sam Schwartz devised the Brooklyn-Queens Connector - a much-needed connection for city commuters.
Fellows in the News
Kai-Uwe Bergman details BIG U - the second phase of the City's LMCR project.