Uncommon Street Fest Brings Together New Thinking on Cities
Instead of face painting and kielbasa, there were brightly colored worm tunnels, and a crocheted room. Italian ices and ferris wheels -- the stuff of traditional street fares everywhere -- were replaced by fresh thinking about environmental sustainability, neighborhood heterogeneity, and cutting-edge networking.
The streets and suites all around NYU Wagner's headquarters in the historic Puck Building were awash in new ideas on urban living May 4 to May 8 at the first-ever Festival of Ideas for the New City. Workshops and discussions, dealing with everything from art and housing to urban planning and public policy, took center stage at multiple locations throughout downtown.
The first-ever brainstorm of its kind, the Festival of Ideas was organized by the New Museum, with assistance provided by NYU Wagner and the Cooper Union, and other major partners.
Participants in the festival events included small businesses, local non-profits, and a raft of arts organizations.
The talks tapped the knowledge of thinkers from a variety of arenas. Artists, urban planners, architects and even musicians like David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) - who opened an event on bicycle transportation called "The Sustainable City" -- populated and energized the discussions.
The events were all aimed at coming up with ways of making city life more beautiful, durable, collective, connective, and innovative.
Two of the discussions were hosted at Wagner's headquarters at Lafayette and Houston streets, with Wagner also dispatching expert participants to other happenings, such as Professor and Associate Dean Rogan Kersh. Wagner's Josh Mandell attended the Downtown Policy Issues World Café, co-hosted at the Puck by NYU Wagner and IDEO, the design firm; he wrote up the lively discussion about new ways to use shared space, solar panels, and even white paint. Thirteen.org was also there, picking up intelligence.
UPSA Hosts Mayor Bloomberg on NYC's future
Mayor Michael Bloomberg provided an optimistic forecast of the city's future in a talk he delivered October 26, 2009, at New York University's Kimmel Center as a guest of NYU Wagner's Urban Planning Students Association (UPSA). More than 100 Wagner students attended the event and heard an introduction by UPSA chair Sandra Rothbard. Bloomberg, in his remarks, said he envisions improvements in transit service, affordable housing, education, public safety, and the environment. He said he was pleased to talk with students who attend the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, a school, he noted with a smile, that is named for a "distinguished three-term mayor." Bloomberg ended his remarks with a straight-forward nod to Wagner and its "impressive" alumni working in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.
Urban Design is a Matter of Public Health [Video]
New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley was the keynoter at the "Speeding Summit" held at NYU Wagner on November 19, 2010 -- and he pledged a major new public health emphasis on urban design.
"After quitting smoking, there's probably no behavior that promotes health more than regular physical activity," said Dr. Farley. "Okay, that's great. So what are we going to do about that? To me, the answer to that is thoughtful urban design and transportation infrastructure. "
The event, sponsored by the nonprofit group Transportation Alternatives, examined a proposal by cycling and other traffic safety advocates to reduce the side-street speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph, and was hosted by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU Wagner.
Urban Planning Students Examine the Future of Public Space at Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn
Urban Planning Students Publish February 2006 Edition of The Wagner Planner
In focusing on sustainable development in their latest issue, The Wagner Planner Editors Uma Deshmukh and Susan Willetts were able to contrast the goals of sustainable development with the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. They note, "Comprehending the importance of sustainable development in real-world situations is less obvious. This past fall, Hurricane Katrina provided that understanding by underscoring how short-sighted environmental and policy decisions along the Gulf Coast created damaging, lasting effects for the region."
The issue also includes pieces on sustainable development projects in Seattle and New Jersey; an interview with an environmental designer working on a sustainable master plan for a major university; and, the latest software created to improve environmental decision-making.
Click here to read The Wagner Planner.