New York City is home to over 700 food-producing farms and gardens spread over 50 acres of reclaimed lots, rooftops, schoolyards, and public housing grounds. This week at a launch and press event, the Design Trust for Public Space (in partnership with the Brooklyn-based non-profit community farming project Added Value) debuted the most comprehensive survey yet of the city's urban agricultural infrastructure, Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City. Currently, the non-profit organizations, commercial entities, institutions, and community members who operate urban farms lack a reliable means to obtain resources such as land, soil, compost, and funding. Five Borough Farm lays out a roadmap for the integration and expansion of New York’s urban farms, with analysis of present conditions, metrics that establish a common framework for evaluating success and determining strategies, and policy recommendations that would make agriculture integral to city planning. Five Borough Farm describes the health, social, economic, and ecological benefits of urban farms. Distributing food to under-served communities and providing nutritional education supports public health. By developing unused land, farms and gardens fill gaps in the streetscape and create space for community gathering and organizing. Farmers are able to sell their food in farmer’s markets, while education and stewardship programs empower youth and provide job training. Gardens can act as filters for wastewater and composted food waste while working to detoxify soil and educating communities about sustainability. The study builds on New York’s existing urban agriculture initiatives, calling for a citywide interagency task force that would coordinate policy and procedures for organizations that manage farms and to allocate resources and land to those organizations. At the launch event, Design Trust Executive Director Susan Chin described the need for this body to engage with communities in the planning and operation of urban farms: “We need to select, digest, upload, and disseminate information and data on farms to the community.” The metrics established in Five Borough Farm describe agricultural production, biodiversity, employment, and impact on health, allowing communities to monitor their progress and receive necessary support. Raymond Figueroa, a program director at South Bronx-based Friends of Brook Park, trains youths in urban agricultural production. “The real power of urban agriculture is the promotion of healthy living,” Figueroa explained, pointing to precedents demonstrating how such initiatives can be effective. During the Great Depression, for example, Relief Gardens provided social stability and well-needed food. “Communities can actively engage in the cultivation of land—the fight we have is alerting communities to the possibilities they have,” Figueroa said. So what's the next step? Phase two of the project will bring in New York City government to help locate 100 publicly-owned sites with the potential for food production. Columbia University’s Urban Design Lab will partner with the Design Trust in identifying under-served areas, growing conditions, and suitability of land. The trust hopes to formalize the city’s support by initiating new programs and subsidies, while partnering with departments that are not directly responsible for urban agriculture, like Waste Management.
Posts tagged with "Design Trust for Public Space":
D.B. Kim has joined Daroff Design as a principal and will lead the firm's luxury hotel and resort practice. Kim was previously at Pierre-Yves Rochon and prior to that at Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Design Trust for Public Space's executive director Susan Chin was elected Vice President of the 2013-2014 AIA National Board at the recent national convention in Washington, D.C. Al Eiber, a Miami-based physician and collector of 20th century design, has been appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Steven Gifford has joined the New York office of Perkins Eastman as a principal. Gifford was previously led the Global Science and Health Design Studio at Hillier. Ennead Architects has promoted Guy Maxwell and Thomas Wong to partners. Maxwell has been with the firm since 1994 and Wong since 1993. Have news on movers and shakers in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to email@example.com.
Design Trust for Public Space has announced the appointment of Susan Chin as the new Executive Director, effective October 10. Chin has served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for over twenty years. John Henderson has been appointed Managing Director at Morris Adjmi Architects. Henderson was previously studio director at Clodagh Design in Manhattan. Prior to this position, he was associate principal at STUDIOS Architecture in New York and D.C. Material ConneXion and its sister company, Culture & Commerce, both part of Sandow Media Corporation, have announced the appointment of Susan Towers to the position of VP Marketing & Communications. Towers was previously a partner at NICE Partners and has held marketing and PR roles with Kiehl’s since 1851 and Chandelier Towers, among others. The New York City Department of Buildings has appointed Fred Mosher to the newly created title of Deputy Commissioner of Building Development to streamline the city’s construction process. Previously, Mosher was a senior technical architect at Skidmore Owings & Merill for nine years. The beleaguered American Folk Art Museum, which will continue operations at 2 Lincoln Square, has appointed a new president of the board: Edward V. (Monty) Blanchard, Jr., a member of the museum's board of directors since 2003. Have news on career moves in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Following Thursday evening's Urban Design Week (UDW) launch party hosted by the Institute for Urban Design (IfUD) at the breezy BMW Guggenheim Lab, the AN team dispersed to check out various events on the jam-packed UDW roster. We compiled our notes, and here's a quick sampling of what we saw and heard: Saturday, September 17: A small contingent of planners, landscape architects, and artists met up at Montefiore Park, a tiny triangle of a plaza at 137th Street where Broadway slices through Manhattan's orderly grid. The group was invited to offer feedback on an installation at the site entitled Broadway: 1000 Steps. The interactive piece by Mary Miss (and CaLL) is an experiment in educating the public on environmental issues through artwork. A collection of periscope-like tubes and mirrors confront passersby with stats on sustainability initiatives in the city. Keep your eyes peeled—the piece will work its way down Broadway over the course of the next few months. Later Saturday evening, the Beaux Arts Ball sponsored by the Architectural League of New York was held at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Les beaux et belles were transported to the site by ferry (or, if they lived in Brooklyn, via the R train). The Cass Gilbert-designed concrete industrial building was bathed in light and shown to great effect with projections and custom furniture designed by Leong Leong as revelers danced the night away. Sunday, September 18: Sunday's City Sessions event at Parson's The New School was a lively debate marking the culmination of a month of online conversations sponsored by IfUD and Leagues and Legions—a group defining itself as "a think tank at the intersection of architecture and publishing." The audience, many of whom were architects and urban planners, was invited to participate in the moderated discussion organized around questions derived from four themes related to "the practice of tactical urbanism and socially active design": Public, Evaluation, Tactics and the Design Profession, and Failure. The provocative questions around each theme ("Is it possible to design for productive failure?") engendered more questions than answers--and one cultural programmer reminded the group that "not everything that happens in the city is urban design"--but the engaged audience armed with examples and beer kept on talking even after the two-hour event had officially ended. Quilian Riano, one of the event's organizers, says he hopes the conversations will continue online and in other media, and hopefully find applications. Check out the City Sessions tumblr. Monday, September 19: As part of Urban Design Week, the recently restored Museum at Eldridge Street in lower Manhattan hosted Good Design New York City, an energetic quick-fire series of presentations by designers with a brief to improve aspects of the city and match designer-makers with pragmatic doers. Taken from 600 issues raised at By The City/For The City competition, the magazine and design initiative, GOOD, asked New York architects and designers including SCAPE, Marpillero Pollak Architects, and Behavior Design, to propose solutions to questions based on the premise: “wouldn't it be great if... ?” Local designers Original Champions of Design (OCD) offered their ideas about how to make New York's subway easier to navigate for regular users and tourists, which included making public station lay-outs; graphic interventions, and a First Car concept to create a souvenir-filled tourist-trap carriage that would get the confused out-of-town passengers “out of the way.”After each presentation, Alissa Walker of GOOD mediated a discussion between city officials or related representatives about the viability of the designers' proposals. Tuesday, September 20: Tucked away on a little-known public plaza on Gouveneur Lane in Manhattan's Financial District, a stealthy group of urbanists chatted with merchants from the Street Vendors Project, a membership-based group of more than 1,300 vendors "who are working together to create a vendors’ movement for permanent change," while snacking on delicious tamales sold on site. We spoke with Mustafa, a clothing vendor in Midtown, who told us about the difficulties of street commerce in New York. Representatives from the Design Trust for Public Space and Columbia University's Street Vendor Planning Studio were on hand to discuss what sidewalk vending means to New York and the sense of city. The crowning event of the night, of course, was the U.S. premiere of Urbanized and the associated soiree at the Phaidon book store in Soho. A capacity crowd of young design-types filled the Sunshine Cinema for two showings of the city-themed final segment of Director Gary Hustwit's design trilogy. After two rigorous rounds of applause, Hustwit accepted questions from the crowd ranging from what would Janette Sadik-Khan do? (she was in attendance) to strategies for grassroots activism. Hustwit was feted by the usual suspects over vodka cocktails and a backdrop of iconic books on architecture and design. (Check out the Urbanized trailer and our Q&A with director Gary Hustwit). Even if you missed all the events of the last week, you can still settle down with the IFUD's new tome The Atlas of Possibility, a 352-page compendium of "all the schemes & dreams that hundreds of New Yorkers and designers around the world shared through the By the City / For the City process," a crowd-sourced competition for urban design interventions (winning entries here.)
Unhelmed for five months, the sixteen-year-old Design Trust for Public Space tomorrow will announce the appointment of Bloomberg administration’s Susan Chin as the new executive director, effective October. Chin is a public servant through and through, having served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs for over twenty years. Some of the projects that she has helped shepherd into existence with city funding include Leeser Architecture’s Museum of the Moving Image (2011), Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Alice Tully Hall (2009), SANAA’s New Museum (2008), and Curtis + Ginsberg’s Staten Island Zoo Reptile Wing renovation (2006). She also oversaw the Percent for Art program and the Community Arts Development Program. Chin’s particular interest in advancing the cause of architecture has been amply demonstrated by stints as the president of AIA New York and as current chair of the AIA Gold Medal advisory committee. In a press release, Design Trust founder Andrea Woodner said, “The selection of Susan Chin affirms a bedrock principle of our organization: we work in partnership with the public sector to improve New York’s built environment.” The Design Trust has been a player in such city-improving initiatives as the first study on readapting the High Line, developing a greenish taxi cab, and the first-ever High Performance Guidelines for Buildings, Infrastructure and Landscape in collaboration with the NYC Departments of Design and Construction, and Parks & Recreation. That impressive range of civic activism took place while Bloomberg was in high gear. The challenge now will be to keep operations as vital should a subsequent administration be less design-minded. Presumably, Chin will draw some inside support from the Parks Department where her husband, Charles McKinney is the Principal Urban Designer. Former executive director Deborah Marton, who served from 2004 until last April, is now Vice President for Programs at the New York Restoration Project.
I assumed he would be articulate as all OMA graduates are, and I’d heard he was as intellectually entertaining as only those TED Talk types can be, but I was surprised that Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect recently taking the city in a storm of media, could also simply converse. And he did so with ease last night in a Q&A with The Architect's Newspaper as part of a Design Trust for Public Space council member drive at the oh-so-private Core Club. The theme was "New York After Bloomberg," which frankly scares some people, especially architects, as the mayor has been a practically unprecedented supporter of the building arts and enlightened zoning throughout his three-term tenure. Not that Ingels was prepared to address that scary subject per se. But the audience was far from disappointed with his slide show of current work backing up his theory of “hedonistic sustainability.” Who would disagree with the importance of doing the right thing, an embraceable position whether developers, architects or citizens? And so he showed hilarious slides of visitors to his Shanghai Expo bike ramp underpinned by the lesson that cars and bikes must find a way to co-exist, and provoked wows with his mountain of trash at a waste disposal plant turned urban ski slope, complete with a smoke stack that puffs educational smoke rings. (Dads can tell their children, he said, that ten puffs are equal to an astonishing ten tons of carbon dioxide.) He smoothly explicated his 57th Street project for the Durst Organization, showing how its unconventional deconstructed pyramid shape responded with perfect rationality to an assortment of empirical needs. It was impressive and it was impossible to know how his sunny can-do approach is going to fly in the molten Mordor-like power-field that is New York’s built environment. And so I asked him how his first community board meeting went; he parried that he’d been through worse in Copenhagen when presenting a proposal for a mosque. No one quite believed him. And when asked if he could handle the demands for affordable housing, he was at the ready describing how his most famous built work to date, 8 House in Copenhagen, is based on an offset stacking of pre-fab units, a kind of Habitat for the 21st century. He seemed a little behind times in noting how wonderfully New York had embraced new bike lanes. But much appreciated was his reference to working for Rem Koolhaas and OMA as his “tour of Nam,” while he has clearly modeled his international staffing on Rem’s approach to diverse hires. BIG has recently moved to the Starrett-Lehigh in Chelsea and is preparing for projects that “will be made public throughout the year,” as BIG’s director of business development, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, told the Real Estate Weekly. But for us, it was also appealing that Ingels did not only come to these shores out of blind ambition, but to follow a girl. It is clearly going to be interesting in the next five years to see what Ingels does to New York, and what New York does to Ingels, whether or not it’s post-Bloomberg.
The line stretched down the block outside of the Center for Architecture last night for the release of High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC. The document providing sustainable park guidelines was produced through a partnership between The Design Trust for Public Space and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The manual is the first of its kind in the nation. The crush at the door felt like a rock concert, though it was said that even David Byrne didn’t draw crowds this size when he appeared at the venue, nor, for that matter, did Zaha Hadid. “It’s like the Studio 54 of design,” quipped Park Commissioner Adrian Benepe by way of introduction. “People are killing themselves to get in here.” Don't worry; Not really! But It was very crowded. The report includes clear bullet-point guidelines for sustainable parks through their design, construction and maintenance. Besides outlining the benefits, which range from tree preservation to pest control, the report also walks the reader through site assessment and analysis. One major section delves into practices dividing that focus among soil, water, and vegetation. While the Trust and the City acknowledge that there will be a certain amount of redundancy for cross reference purposes, an attempt was made at a linear approach.Other cities are already expressing an interest in producing similar reports of their own. "Its an incredibly useful document that takes you step by step through new thinking about parks in a way that doesn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There's a new [sustainability] layer, in addition to the beauty, history and culture." said Tricia Martin, president of the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. At the event, case studies from the book were presented, including Fort Totten in the Bronx designed by Nancy Owen Studio largely without reference to the guidelines. Asked if that project would have differed had the manual been available, Owen replied, “I think it would have been easier, because it’s all in one place and you’d just go down the check list.” “It’s a remarkable document in that it brings the institutional knowledge into one place,” said Linda Pollak, a landscape designer. Design Trust Executive Director Deborah Marton believes the sharing of information with the feet on the grass who actually maintain the parks will be integral for any current changes to survive into the future. “People will have to accept that places look sort of new and maintenance will have to be changed,” she said, referring to to less pristine manicuring of modern-day park aesthetics where what might look like weeds to the untrained eye could actually be filtration wetland to the trained eye. Marton added that the report notes that the old model of hiring seasonal workers at minimum wage to maintain parks over the course of the summer will need to be supplemented to include the hiring of year round specialists with training that’s on par with electricians or plumbers. “We have to make a commitment to these workers if we expect them to be committed to the landscape,” she said. And a crowd was on hand to show the will is there to get the process started.
The Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), has announced four fellows for Made in Midtown, a land use and zoning study of Manhattan’s Garment District. Filmmaker Jordan Alport, urban design group Interboro, writer Tom Vanderbilt, and urban planner Sarah Williams will work together to illustrate the connections between fashion industry businesses and the spaces they occupy. “New York is known as the fashion capital of the world in a very specific way,” said Deborah Marton, the Design Trust’s executive director. “The network of things that allows people to be innovative isn’t very evident, though.” To help highlight that network, the four fellows will film interviews with a variety of neighborhood stakeholders, including designers, garment workers, landlords, and suppliers. Their stories will be combined with research that shows how fashion industry businesses are tied to one another and to the district itself. Each fellow brings a different perspective to the project. Alport comes with experience producing story-based visual media with his firm alport.tv. Interboro, founded in 2002 by graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Design—Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, and Tobias Armborst—engage the complexity of the city through writing, teaching, and professional practice. Architecture and design writer Vanderbilt is well-known for his most recent book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us). And Sarah Williams teaches at Columbia University’s GSAPP, co-directing the university’s Spatial Information Design Lab. Currently, the city is considering zoning changes for the area, something that the collaborators will keep in mind during their study. By shrinking the Special Garment District Center, garment manufacturers would have the opportunity to consolidate into one building. That plan is seen as a boon for efficiency, but raises concerns about ghettoizing those same employees and stifling creativity. Meanwhile, in an attempt to slow the dwindling of the fashion industry and encourage entrepreneurs to relocate to New York, the New York City Economic Development Corporation is already funding the creation of an incubator for young fashion designers in the district. There is little sense, however, of a cohesive plan. “The city has various ideas for the area, but nothing that presents a clear picture of exactly what’s here now,” said Marton. The Design Trust team is pursuing an aggressive timeline, aiming to publish their findings on an interactive website as early as the end of March. The website, along with an accompanying publication, will guide policies for light manufacturing industries not only in the Garment District but citywide.