The Omnibus Roundup – white roofs, urban jaunts, flashcards and a meet-up

via Candy Change

Everyone knows that the rooftops of New York are the city’s most underutilized real estate asset. But while convincing your landlord to install that bamboo roofdeck might be a challenge, telling her to paint it white should, in theory, be an easy sell. Climate change implications aside, it saves money. According to Crain’s however, New York is behind on this simple energy-saving measure. Hopefully Mayor Mike and enviro-VP Al donning some rollers in Queens yesterday will kick it up a notch.

If thinking about climate change gets you down, then indulge in some informed optimism from genius illustrator and urban enthusiast par excellence Maira Kalman. Not only does the journey she details in this blogpost reveal the complexity of city process and the innovation that goes into making its systems work, it also shows that she shares our love for the Newtown Creek Nature Walk and Polshek Partnership’s design for the upgrade of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. (In other Newtown Creek news: the EPA has officially proposed adding the site to the Superfund National Priorities List.)

Making Policy Public – the excellent program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy that we’ve showcased in two kick-ass work-process narratives here and here on the Omnibus – has just announced the new list of collaborators. And, proving that the kind of collaborations between designers and advocates that this program fosters can extend beyond the program itself, one of the designers from last year’s MPP – Omni-favorite Candy Chang – has a whole truckload of flashcards she developed with Tenants & Neighbors that explain tenants’ rights.

Candy’s all about making information more accessible and public space more useful, so imagine she’d approve of the instinct behind the Bus-Tops program in London, which invites artists to repurpose bus shelters by installing LED screens that create “a shared visual canvas that would encourage artists, designers, and any other interested parties to upload images, words, video onto the screens … via the web or mobile phone.”

And since everyone’s talking transit, let’s get together and explore a fascinatingly complex subway station next Wednesday. Meet at the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Pacific Street at 6:30 p.m. RSVP to

The Roundup keeps you up to date with topics we’ve featured and other things we think are worth knowing about.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.