Oculus - Fall 2013 - (Page 27)
The City More Beautiful
rban greatness is not partisan or ideological, but there is no doubt that the Bloomberg
Administration and City Council have positively transformed the public realm and
our municipal facilities over the last 12 years. This issue of Oculus, as well as AIA New
York’s “A Platform for the Future of the City,” recognizes the achievements as lessons to
guide the next administration. The platform (see www.aiany.org/advocacy) was developed
in concert with the Chapter’s program committees and “identifies challenges and proposes
solutions including job-creating specific suggestions on affordable housing design, economic development of major projects, strategic suggestions for our waterfront, and ideas
on how to make our city healthier.”
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has invoked the Athenian Oath: “We will transmit
this city not only not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
AIANY’s platform points to the important work that must be done or continued. Its rubrics
include regulatory reform, housing, education, urban design, transportation infrastructure,
open space, waterfront use, accessibility and aging, energy policy, risk and resilience, and
global competitiveness. We can press candidates for their positions on these issues.
The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development has shown extraordinary creativity in finding new ways to establish and protect new affordable housing.
From Via Verde, sustainable and affordable housing in the South Bronx designed by
Dattner Architects and Grimshaw Architects, to the FAR ROC competition for a site in
Arverne, Queens, the city has effectively partnered with others to bring new ideas to fruition. AIANY was proud to be part of both initiatives. And other organizations, including
the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, have helped trigger changes in zoning regulations to make smaller “microunits” possible. Along the way, modular housing is finally
appearing in New York, including nARCHITECTS’ winning scheme for the adAPT NYC
Competition, and the SHoP Architects-designed housing for Atlantic Yards.
On the waterfront, continuous esplanades with walking paths and bikeways allow
unprecedented public access to the city’s rivers, replacing some of the industrial detritus
that blocked enjoyment of what City Planning Chair Amanda Burden, Hon. AIANY, has
dubbed “the sixth borough.” New projects, such as Hunter’s Point South in Queens and
the Domino Sugar redevelopment in Williamsburg, address the risks and vulnerabilities
made frighteningly real by Hurricane Sandy.
In public health, the city’s creation of the Center for Active Design and supplements to
the award-winning Active Design Guidelines could not have happened without the kind of
interagency collaboration that used to be unknown. Zoning now creates incentives to bring
fresh produce to “food desert” neighborhoods; the building code encourages us to use the
stairs for health. These programmatic legacies deserve to be extended and expanded.
The NYC Department of Transportation not only made plazas from cracked-concrete
traffic islands, but created a safe network of connected bicycle lanes, enabling the rollout
of the largest shared bike system in the world. The buzz in the bike lanes is that fitness can
be fun, quicker than cabs, and more salubrious than the subway.
Any mayoralty will ultimately be judged successful by the achievements that stick and
the projects that transform our buildings, neighborhoods, city, and world. As the Center
for Architecture enters its second decade – we opened our doors on October 7, 1993 –
AIANY’s platform is visible on the walls of Tafel Hall, and Oculus highlights the projects
that use public policy to shape our streets, sidewalks, and shoreline.
Rick Bell, FAIA
Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter
Politics = Architecture
28 Affordable Housing in 2013:
Communities, Not Containers
31 Riverfront Redesigned
34 The Future of Prefab
36 From Ports to Parks:
New York’s Waterfront Wager
38 East River Magic
40 Shoring Up for the Future
42 FAR ROC Rocks!
43 Yard Work
(above) Thomas Balsey
Hunter's Point South Waterfront
Park, pg. 31
Fall 2013 Oculus
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2013
Letter from the President
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The City More Beautiful
Affordable Housing in 2013: Communities, Not Containers
The Future of Prefab
From Ports to Parks: New York’s Waterfront Wager
East River Magic
Shoring Up for the Future
FAR ROC Rocks!
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Fall 2013