Check Out New York City's First Annual Urban Design Week September 15th through 20th


Insert Your Ideas Here Project by Eve Mosher and Paul Notzold Photo via Eve Mosher

On the heels of Fashion Week, NYC's first annual Urban Design Week launched Thursday evening at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in the East Village. Hundreds of New Yorkers braved the unseasonably cold and drizzly weather to stand outside in the pop-up public space and check out the designs of "By the City/For the City" competition. The Institute for Urban Design partnered with more than 50 organizations, to create this public festival with the goal of getting New Yorkers to discuss public realm issues and to celebrate streetscapes, sidewalks and public spaces through a variety of salons and tours. The following is a selection of some highlights during Urban Design Week that you shouldn't miss. September 16
(Park)ing Day. NYC was one of 130 cities where residents reclaimed curb spaces as mini-parks for public use for the day. Spots where a car is normally parked were transformed into people friendly spaces. Some parking spaces were transformed into small urban gardens and parks with temporary grass, trees and benches while others were transformed into play areas. I checked out a mini-park in the West Village, where a bunch of NYU students had taken over a couple of parking spaces and were hanging out with camping chairs and their dog. Other highlights from this pop-up park festivities, were a Shakespeare theater outside Fordham University and a compost park in Queens. When you see these parks, they really make one think about how much of our city's space is taken up by parking for private vehicles and how much more creative uses there could be.


Parking Day park at West 4th St. and 6th Ave. Photo by Bonnie Hulkower
All Aboard! Trains on Film
In the evening, Friends of the High Line held an open air screening of All Aboard! Trains on Film, a 28 minute compilation of iconic scenes of trains in more than 100 films that celebrates how train platforms and cars are often the backdrop of movie scenes. The Highline, the park that was once itself a train track, was a perfect setting for the film. There will be a few remaining outdoor movie screenings at the Highline this year. Also, if you haven't strolled along the completed section up to 30th street, you definitely should!
7:30-9:30pm. Highline at 14th St.

All Board! Movie scenes with trains on the Highline Photo by Bonnie Hulkower
September 17
72 Hour Urban Action: Public Workshop
In preparation of a real-time design build competition in 2012, organizers are bringing together residents, professionals and city officials to imagine what might be possible in Long Island City. There will be an investigative tour led by Interboro Partners, followed by an afterparty at the Flux Factory. Workshops are free and open to the public. Some of the arts organizations involved are the same ones that brought you the dumpster pools at the Palms, their parties are great.
10 am - 6pm 22-25 Jackson Ave. & 25-25 44th Dr., LIC, Queens
Party - 9:00 pm - Late, Flux Factory, 39-31 29th St., LIC, Queens


Insert Your Ideas Here

Join 350.org and artists Eve Mosher and Paul Notzold who have created illuminated arrows that will project ideas on the wall across from Bar 2A in the East Village as part of the Insert_Here Project. This is to launch the citywide project that highlights greening projects around the city. You can submit your own ideas for greening NYC, For example "Insert bike lane Here" "Insert community garden here", "Insert solar panels Here." and see them projected! For the actual project these arrows will be places along people's normal walking paths so that individuals can share their proposed solutions with the community.
7:30 - 9:30pm
25 Avenue A

September 18
By the City / For the City QNS
As a prelude "Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore," the Queens Museum of Art's show on Detroit that is opening on September 18th, the Institute for Urban Design will host presentations of five ideas and designs generated through the By the City / For the City project that address urban challenges relevant to both NYC and Detroit. The competition also resulted in a book "By the City/For the City An Atlas of Possibility for the Future of New York," which challenged architects and planners to visualize ideas that 600 New Yorkers came up with on how to improve NYC's public spaces. This event will look at citizen interventions. Mitch McEwen will connect that work to community based events.
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm program, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm opening reception, at the Queens Museum of Art, Flushing, Queens
Under the Manhattan Bridge: Skateboarders Hit The Drawing Deck
As part of Urban Design Week, Architecture for Humanity invites skateboarders, designers, and residents to help decide how the skatepark and adjacent public areas should look.
Noon-2pm
Monroe St. and Pike St. LES

September 19

GOOD Design NYC
Join GOOD, CEOs for Cities, and the NYC Dept of Design and Construction as NY design teams present solutions for city problems to the government leaders who can help make them a reality. This event will tackle issues raised by the public through By the City / For the City, ranging from concepts for utilizing forgotten infrastructure to ideas for improving the subway. The renovated Eldridge Street synagogue alone, makes this event worth the visit.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm at the Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street
September 20
US Premiere Urbanized
Urbanized is a documentary about the design of cities, the third in director Gary Hustwit's design trilogy that includes Helvetica and Objectified. The film looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design. For the movie Hustwit interviewed some of the world's foremost mayors, architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers to discuss how cities are designed.
Sunshine Cinema 8:30-10:00pm

All of the events are tailored to show how ordinary citizens and designers can work together to improve cities. NYC has close to 8.5 million inhabitants, who directly experience their neighborhoods and sometimes know better than planners where bike lanes or other improvements are needed and can come up with ideas that designers may not have. For example, some of the innovative ideas that came out of the design competition were ziplines crossing the East River and reducing sound pollution from cars. Hopefully New Yorkers who may not have the time or inclination to attend a Community Board meeting, will use this week to discuss their visions of NYC and how would like their city to be. With the help of the designers, they can also get a glimpse of what some of their ideas could like if implemented. I am inspired by the ideas I've seen so far, more green roofs, bicycles and transit systems, urban agriculture, it makes me feel like I am part of a much larger community.

More on NYC and Design
Crowdsourced Ideas Show New Yorkers Are Thinking Sustainably
Best of New York Design Week and ICFF
Winners Selected in LifeEdited Competition To Design New York Apartment
Announcing Guilded, A New School for Sustainable Design in New York

Tags: Activism

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