Posts tagged with "New York City Council":

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New York City Council Gives Bjarke Ingels’ “Courtscraper” the Green Light

It took some negotiating, but New York City Council has approved Durst Fetner’s plans to build West 57th, a 750-unit residential development designed by Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels. Crain's reported that the 32-story pyramidal “courtscraper,” sandwiched between 11th Avenue and the Hudson River, will consist of 750 rental apartments, with an additional 100 units in a converted industrial building. An early point of contention stemmed from what city council viewed as an inadequate plan for income-restricted housing, which will only be affordable for 35 years. While Durst Fetner didn’t budge on this issue, they did agree to donate $1 million to an affordable housing fund.
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A Win for NYC Tenants: A New Bill Holds Landlords Accountable

It will now be increasingly difficult and costly for New York landlords to flip properties by making quick fixes to buildings that require major structural repairs and improvements. The New York City Council passed a bill yesterday that will allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to clamp down on landlords who don’t “repair underlying conditions that lead to repeat violations” stated the City Council in a press release. These violations could include leaks or damaged roofs that lead to mold, which could have a deleterious effect on a tenants “quality of life, health, and safety.” The new legislation will give the owner a four-month period to take the proper measures to fix the problem and provide proof of their compliance. Landlords could face penalties of $1,000 per unit or a minimum of $5,000 if they fail to comply with the order by deadline. While private landlords will be reprimanded for failing to comply with orders by HPD, the question is whether the New York City Housing Authority will also be held accountable and required to pay the same penalties if repairs aren't made. NYCHA claims that there were no “serious structural issues” caused by Hurricane Sandy, but tenants disagree and say the storm revealed a plethora of problems such as cracks, leaks, and loss of hot water. This summer, the Daily News reported that NYCHA board chairman John B. Rhea revealed a “backlog of 338,000 maintenance orders.” City council conducted a report with help of the Boston Consulting Group, which disclosed a study that kids in public housing are "three times more likely to develop asthma as those in private homes." NYCHA might not admit that the repairs constitute major structural issues, but the evidence of these health issues certainly contradicts this claim. Tenants with repeat mold problems have filed a suit against NYCHA for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act citing asthma as a disability. We’ll see if this new bill will compel NYCHA to expedite these maintenance orders.
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NYU 2031 Plan Get’s A Flattop Chop

After two weeks of negotiations between the New York City Council and NYU, the Council Land Use Committee and Subcommittee on Zoning voted today to approve the modified version of NYU's 2031 plan. The plan will move before the full Council on June 25th for a final vote to give the univeristy the go-ahead to begin constuction in Greenwich Village. The nine member Zoning Subcomitee voted unanimously to approve the plan, while Land Use approved it 19-to-1. Though many expressed reservations, Council member Charles Barron cast the single “nay” vote, arguing that NYU’s development plan and the opinion of Greenwich Village’s Community Board 2 are “diametrically opposed.” While Barron said that his fellow council members would regret their votes, his colleagues seemed more hopeful. Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the neighborhoods in which the expansion will take place, said that the modified plan “will not overwhelm the community,” and that it is an appropriate balance between the integrity of Greenwich Village and the needs of NYU. Changes to the development plan include a 20 percent overall reduction of expansion, bringing the gross square footage from 2,130,000 to 1,918,000. This cutback will be concentrated in two locations: on the northern section of the Zipper Building, the bulk of which has been shifted from the corner of Mercer and Bleecker streets towards Houston, and at the Mercer street Boomerang building, which has been reduced in height from eleven-stories to a squat four. Additional modifications include increased open space, more community-dedicated spaces, financial commitments towards these spaces, and the creation of open space and construction oversight committees to help ensure that NYU follows up on its promises. As expected, Greenwich Village community activists were present to express their dissatisfaction with the approval of the modified plan. Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation stated that the modified plan was “hardly a compromise,” and that the proposed expansion was still “grossly over-sized.” While it now looks as if NYU will surely get the go-ahead at the vote next Wednesday, council member Vincent Ignizio reminded those in attendance that the challenges that face NYU and Greenwich Village are far from over. Speaking directly to the representative of the Univeristy, Ignizio stated that “now the real work begins for the community and for you, NYU. This community clearly has an issue with you, and now is your opportunity to begin a new day, wipe the slate clean and say we are going to be responsive to them.” For additional information on the NYU 2031 plan, click here.
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Quick Clicks> City Farm, Mobile Equality, Home Slim Home, Pyramid Perfect

Urban farming legislation passed. (via Inhabitat) City Farming. Last week, the New York City Council amended the city's building code to allow for rooftop farming and greenhouses: now, rooftop greenhouses will not be considered an additional story. The bill also requires prisons to purchase locally grown food and calls for the city to maintain a record of spaces suitable for farming, Inhabitat said. Mobile Equity. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights argued in a recent report titled “Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity” that mobility must be a civil right. Recent studies indicate that low-income areas and the elderly lack adequate access to mass transportation, particularly in rural areas. With abut 80% of federal transportation funding marked for highways, mass transit is under-funded reported Wired. Home Slim Home. While Japan is famous for its narrow residences, the world's thinnest house will soon lie in Warsaw, Poland, says ArchDaily. Designed by Centrala, The Kennet House is 122 cm to 72 cm at is narrowest part and will serve as the residence and workplace for writer Etgar Keret. Perfect Pyramids. In a Wired post, a physics professor at Southeastern Louisiana University examined the construction of pyramids—how tall can pyramids be, and what is the best angle? Through mathematical formulas, he mused that 140 meters is the most efficient height.
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Quick Clicks> Benz Biome, Facebook Exodus, Code Green, and Sarah Vowell on Architecture

Nature's Benz. LA Autoshow reveals a radically green Mercedes-Benz concept called Biome-- it's made of organic fibers, powered by the sun, and releases pure oxygen into the air! The system behind this model is called "Mercedes-Benz Symbiosis," in which vehicles are seamless part of the ecosystem. Facebook's Exodus. According to the New York Times, Facebook is moving out -- of the office clusters in Palo Alto -- and into an insulated 57-acre corporate campus in Menlo Park, California, which is to be renovated by San Francisco-based Gensler. About 2,000 workers, including Mark Zuckerberg, will be moved in within next 10 months. These young 20-somethings don't want a sleek corporate office, but something idiosyncratic and soulful, which the new campus aims for. Code Green. Crain's reports that the New York City Council continues to green up the city's building codes. A trio of bills looks to "create more energy-efficient roofs." While the first bill requires more reflective and less heat-absorbent roof materials, the second removes building-height limitations from solar thermal equipment and electric collectors and the third bill will add heat and power systems to the list of allowable rooftop structures. Well-spoken Vowell. Chicago magazine talks to Sarah Vowell about Chicago -- and a little New York -- architecture. "It’s what I do for fun: Go see buildings. I like architecture because it’s so nonverbal," she said, and then goes on to discuss her personal relationship with the Carson Pirie-Scott Building. Vowell recently finished her new book on Hawaii called Unfamiliar Fishes.
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One Billion Gallons One Drop at a Time

New York City Council passed legislation Wednesday that aims to save the city one billion gallons of drinking water a year. Four bills slated to be implemented by summer 2012 will curb bottled water usage, reduce leaks, refine water efficiency standards, and ban some water-inefficient equipment. The water efficiency legislation affects new construction and changes to existing buildings and includes reducing the allowed flow rate of plumbing fixtures like faucets, showerheads, and toilets and requiring alarms and sub-meters to detect leaks in some water equipment including roof tanks. In a city that uses one billion gallons of water each day, or about 125 gallons per New Yorker, savings from these efficiency improvements add up fast. “The bills we are passing today use a multi-prong approach to increase water efficiency standards in the City," stated Council Member Erik Martin Dilan, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, in a release. "They encourage the use of products that conserve water,  require the installation of sub-meters and alarms to catch water leaks, and seek to increase the use of drinking fountains. These bills not only have the potential to protect the environment, they also have the potential of saving New Yorkers a substantial amount of money." These new regulations were drafted by the Green Codes Task Force, part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Urban Green Council which has been exploring ways to green the city's construction codes.