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MISSION and HISTORY
Urban Omnibus is an online publication dedicated to defining and enriching the culture of citymaking. We explore projects and perspectives in architecture, art, policy, and activism – tried and tested in New York City – that offer new ways of understanding, representing, and improving urban life and landscape worldwide.
The publication consists of three principal streams of online content. Each of our weekly features showcases and contextualizes original and exemplary ideas for interpreting or intervening in the built environment of New York. Regular posts to our forum offer recaps and reviews of lectures, exhibitions, books, and symposia as well as updates on feature topics, suggestions for upcoming events or sites of interest around the city, artists’ portfolios, and news we think would be of interest to our readers. Quarterly special projects include longer-term multimedia productions, often in collaboration with other organizations or in coordination with Architectural League programs, exhibitions, or design studies.
We also encourage our audience to get out and explore the city, to meet one another and discuss the issues and ideas we present on the website. We host meet-ups to take a closer look at intriguing and underappreciated places and hear from people involved in their design, planning, or study. Occasional public programs, such as a panel discussion on the Future of Zone A or a talk by A Country of Cities author Vishaan Chakrabarti, offer an opportunity to further examine topics broached online. Our annual Block Party benefit event allows us to meet and make merry with our readers and contributors in a different venue each year. And the Urban Omnibus Supper Series invites conversation and debate, accompanied by great food and drink, about important topics related to the future of our cities. Each evening focuses on a single topic; future installments in 2014-15 will explore issues of public housing, manufacturing, food systems, and the cultural landscape. (To learn more about attending Supper Series events, email us at info(at)urbanomnibus(dot)net.)
In broader terms, we provide a platform for the presentation of innovative projects and the insights of individual thinkers and practitioners, among them journalists, architects, planners, designers, artists, activists, scholars, and citizens. Regular visitors can expect to find the presentation of contemporary visual art alongside urban policy polemics, ecological initiatives, interviews with urbanists or architectural proposals. Crucial to our work is the steadfast belief that each of these types of work is an equally valid way of advancing public understanding of cities, promoting a more sustainable and equitable built environment, and fostering a more stimulating and participatory urban culture. Please help us to realize this vision by supporting Urban Omnibus or becoming a member of the Architectural League.
Urban Omnibus launched in January of 2009, a time of economic uncertainty, political opportunity, and profound optimism about the sheer range of projects that sought to make the built environment of New York City a little bit smarter, fairer, or greener. The quantity, diversity, and inter-disciplinarity of these projects, however, hadn’t managed to bubble up into a citywide conversation. So, we sought to create a space for that conversation by encouraging greater intimacy with the intentional choices that shape the city’s physical form and social experience. To learn more, read “Why Urban Omnibus?“, a forum post by Rosalie Genevro, the League’s executive director, published when the site first launched.
We post a new feature each Wednesday, with posts to our forum throughout the week. So please check back often. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For anything else, you can reach us via email at info (at) urbanomnibus (dot) net.
Unless otherwise specified, all material on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works license. Image usage rights are retained by the photographer or designated image rights’ holder.
Act Local spotlights innovative projects and organizations whose field of action is a particular patch of New York. The series collects perspectives on how locally-based initiatives affect design and building at the urban scale.
Make it Visible showcases innovative strategies in communicating and explicating complex or hidden urban conditions and processes.
Sites + Projects profiles exemplary and interdisciplinary architectural interventions in the city’s fabric.
Unseen Machine exposes the technologies that keep the city running day-to-day and introduces the characters and designs involved in maintaining, managing, and re-imagining the systems that make New York work.
Vanguard visualizes groundbreaking new technologies and ideas and examines their impact and the design process behind their development.
Walks and Talks introduces figures involved in the design, building and ‘thinking’ of the city — informally and in their own words — ranging from city commissioners to architects to community activists to artists. The series will profile both well-known and unrecognized voices in private practice, scholarship, public service, and local leadership.
Writing the City envisions New York City through written reflection and opinion.
At the League alerts you to Omnibus-relevant events, public programs, podcasts, and other goings-on at our parent organization, the Architectural League of New York, one of America’s premier forums for the presentation and discussion of creative and intellectual work in architecture and urbanism.
Live Events fills you in on upcoming field trips and recaps of past happenings presented by Urban Omnibus.
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Urban Omnibus is powered by a diverse group of journalists, architects, planners, designers, artists, activists, scholars and citizens, all of whom contribute their knowledge, opinions, and expertise to this project. Click here to see a list of the people who have collaborated with us thus far..
Editor in Chief, Urban Omnibus
Assistant Editor, Urban Omnibus
EDITORIAL BOARD and ADVISORY COMMITTEE
In its planning stages and early years of publication, Urban Omnibus benefited greatly from the advice and assistance of inaugural Editorial Board members Andrew Blum, Kadambari Baxi, and Susan Morris. The following members of the inaugural Advisory Committee also provided invaluable knowledge and recommendations about their particular areas of subject and geographic expertise: Adam Greenfield, Author and Managing Director, Urbanscale LLC; Olympia Kazi, Former Executive Director, Van Alen Institute; Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Executive Director, Queens Council on the Arts; Laura Kurgan, Director, Center for Spatial Research, (formerly Director, Spatial Information Design Lab), Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Deborah Marton, Executive Director, New York Restoration Project (former Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space); Ellen Pollan, Deputy Director, Bronx Council on the Arts; Daniel Seltzer, Technology Strategist; Mark Shepard, Co-director, Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies, University of Buffalo; Beth Stryker, Architect and Media Artist; Rosten Woo, Former Executive Director, Center for Urban Pedagogy.
The development and pilot phase of Urban Omnibus have been made possible by the NYC Cultural Innovation Fund of the Rockefeller Foundation. Urban Omnibus is also supported by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Urban Omnibus is a publication of The Architectural League of New York, a non-profit organization, and is supported in part by contributions from readers like you. To help Urban Omnibus continue to bring you ideas and strategies for greener, smarter and fairer cities, click here.