The Omnibus Roundup – Haiti, Spielberg, Kingsbridge, Edible Schoolyards, and spruced up construction sheds

Photo via core77

As week two of rescue and recovery began in Haiti, the design community began to weigh in on what shape reconstruction should take. But before that can take place, what Haiti needs most of all is money. The best intentions do not ease the distribution or delivery of old shoes, water bottles and canned food. Nor should the urgency of creating temporary shelters frustrate attempts at long-term rebuilding. Canada’s Globe and Mail puts post-disaster planning for Port-Au-Prince in perspective by revisiting lessons from Sichuan, Peru and Pakistan. Read a summary of Architecture for Humanity’s long-term Haiti relief plan here and get involved. Also check out Frances Anderton on KCRW’s DnA talking to experts in Haitian land use planning, vernacular architecture and building techniques on how best to rebuild the capital.

Rebuilding is never simple, as anyone who has followed attempts to rebuild on the World Trade Center site knows well. Steven Spielberg’s upcoming documentary about the rebuilding process, however, will apparently focus on the “the uplifting, innovative reengineering of the World Trade Center site through the eyes of the people—architects, engineers, construction workers and city planners” rather than the imbroglio that has frustrated progress over the past nine years.

Over on Gotham Gazette, Joan Byron asks what’s next for the Kingsbridge Armory, providing a comprehensive overview of community opposition to the project in the context of labor unions, complex coalition building, and the future of both community benefits agreements and the living wage issue. And there’s also the question of what happens now:

Having accomplished the unthinkable and by defeating a project backed by the administration, The Kingbridge Armory Redevelopment Association and its allies are gearing up to re-imagine a future for the armory that puts community needs first, doesn’t strangle the neighborhood in traffic and delivers jobs capable of lifting Bronx residents out of poverty.

Edible Schoolyard is coming to New York – specifically to P.S. 216 in Gravesend. The program, started by chef and food activist Alice Waters, aims “to create a space in which schoolchildren plant, harvest, prepare food and eat together, creating a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum, tied into New York State Standards, that connects food systems to academic subjects such as literacy, science, social studies, math, and the arts.” WORKac is designing the Brooklyn schoolyard, complete with a “kitchen classroom,” a mobile greenhouse, and a “systems wall” with a chicken coop and reclaimed water, composting and waste-sorting stations. Principal Celia Kaplinsky worked hard to bring the program to P.S. 216, but her passion for the project is not universal. Caitlin Flanagan slammed the program in The Atlantic in a contentious article that spurred others to come to the defense of educational gardens.

New Yorkers are no strangers to construction barriers, sheds and scaffolding. Since the structures are inescapable, why not freshen them up a little? One suggestion, a prototype of which will appear this summer, is the Urban Umbrella, the result of the UrbanShed design competition launched by the Bloomberg administration and the AIA New York Chapter. The design, by Young-Hwan Choi, an architecture student at the University of Pennsylvania/Penn Design, offers improved light, air, and pedestrian flow, and it looks downright pretty. The Alliance for Downtown New York suggests a different intervention for existing construction sites, using barriers as art installation spaces.

Speaking of streets, we’ll leave you with this video of artist Aakash Nihalani who highlights the geometry of New York through temporary tape installations:

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.