The Omnibus Roundup – phantoms, partly sunny designs, Stuy Town, the failed state and its maps, video painting

Photo © 2008 Partly Sunny, courtesy of RISD.

This week, Museum of the Phantom City designers Irene Cheng and Brett Snyder talked about unbuilt city visions and app inspiration with us. We now have word that Irene’s appearance on Morning Edition with Soterios Johnson is set for Monday morning, October 26. So tune in and get your phantom on with NPR, or look out next week for more info from us about our Halloween-day meet-up in Bryant Park with Brett and Irene.

Also of interest to Omni-followers, Design Observer introduces us to Partly Sunny, a design showcase at RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) highlighting initiatives that are addressing the challenges posed by climate change. The 36 featured projects include a number of urban infrastructure and transit initiatives, including GoLoco, the ride-sharing service developed by Zipcar founder Robin Chase, along with other topics familiar to the Omnibus reader, from urban agriculture to improved water system management. RISD’s Charlie Cannon writes: “To be sure, few of these projects were expressly conceived to combat global warming — but each illustrates how comprehensive thinking can produce near-term results as well as the long-term environmental improvements needed to address the unfolding challenges of climate change.” He adds: “The projects surveyed in Partly Sunny suggest that we need not wait for federal intervention or for the invention of new technologies to make demonstrable steps forward. Nor can we afford to.” Also, My Heart’s in Accra has a nice write-up of Mapping Main Street, the collaborative documentary project of James Burns, Kara Oehler, Ann Heppermann, and Omnibus collaborator Jesse Shapins.

In legal news, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, which include Tishman Speyer and BlackRock Realty, have been wrongfully charging market rents on thousands of apartments while receiving special tax breaks from the city. The ruling could have enormous implications for landlords and tenants of rent-controlled apartments across the city who have raised rents in a similar fashion, particularly as a lower court now decides whether tenants are entitled to back rent and damages.

The New York Times has started a new editorial series called Failed State, calling attention to the ways that Albany has made New York State, as they say, “a national embarrassment [and] a swamp of intrigue and corruption.” The map-obsessed among us will notice that in addition to ethics reform, campaign finance laws, concealed budget information, and pension investment mismanagement, specific mention is made of the strange (some might say ridiculous) way that district map borders are drawn – namely that the lawmakers draw the lines themselves. If the state heeds the Times‘ call for an independent commission to serve as a fair mapmaker, you can bet there will be an Omnibus feature about it.

We leave you with a short video, found via Wooster Collective, of the multimedia duo SWEATSHOPPE’s experimentation with “video painting.” It’s pretty much as cool as it sounds.

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.