The Omnibus Roundup – BigApps, pedestrians and transit, Clip-on follow-up, maps and architecture-centric art

100 feet below Grand Central Station, photo by Stephen Nessen, via WNYC

App-lovers take note: the NYC Economic Development Corporation has presented the winners of its NYC BigApps contest. The winners, who received cash prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000, include the grand prize-winning WayFinder NYC, an augmented reality application that helps users find the nearest subway station, Taxihack, which allows users to share reviews of their taxi drivers, and the Popular Choice Award winner NYC Way, which combines over 30 iPhone applications that sort, by proximity, information about nearby swimming pools, wifi hotspots, post offices, emergency rooms, street vendors, and more.

The pedestrian plazas in Midtown have people buzzing once again, and this time not about the chaise-longues. The New York Times got word from an unidentified city official that the anticipated traffic flow reduction has not met the DOT’s expectations. It is not clear whether the experimental project will be made permanent, but in the meantime both supporters and detractors are eager to see the data made public. Streetsblog reminds us that traffic flow is not the only indicator of success for this project, noting a significant reduction in pedestrian deaths in the area and the support of local businesses and such groups as the Times Square Alliance.

Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Double Down on Density has sparked quite a bit of conversation this week, both here on the Omnibus and around the web. Questions are being asked and comments are being made about the Northeast Corridor, how regional configurations come into play, how infrastructure spending is often cast as “debt and pork,” and our nation’s consistent cultural tendency towards highways and sprawl. The discussion, with Chakrabarti’s responses, continues — join in. There is plenty more to talk about.

Also garnering some attention lately is Vanessa Keith’s recent feature Clip-on Architecture. Fans take note: her piece was adapted from a more extensive article that is now available for download here (PDF). And in other climate-aware news, a panel of experts this week presented over 100 recommendations for how to make New York City’s building codes greener. The measures are referred to as “suggestions” for now, and the panel acknowledged the need for financing and incentives for developers, but Bloomberg sees this as a key advancement in his goal to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030. Stay tuned to see how this plays out.

In other transportation news, consulting firm Frost and Sullivan released a report last week that car sharing is up 117% since 2007 (via TreeHugger). Additionally, Streetsblog reports that the Seward Park Houses foray into community-specific car sharing has been wildly popular. The program is run by Hertz and makes use of two of Seward Park’s parking spaces, with claims that each shared car replaces 14 personal cars. Lower East Side residents take note: The program is now open to the general public.

We’ll end this roundup with some fun with maps, photos and archi-art for your weekend perusal. Map lovers, expect to waste some serious time exploring both the New York Public Library’s brand new georectification (!) maps site (via Gothamist) and the 1924 aerial map on NYCityMap (via Curbed) — though Omnibus readers might remember (as Steven Romalewski mentioned in the Curbed comments) that OASIS offers a look back as far as 1609 and explorations of more recent development, in greater detail, from 1996 to the present. For an alternately angled New York City view, WNYC has posted two photo slideshows by Stephen Nessen of underground happenings: one of Grand Central from one hundred feet below and one of the tunnels for the 7 train extension (via The Infrastructurist). Finally, we recently discovered the blog butdoesitfloat and its architecture-centric art eye candy. We highly recommend perusing the archive for a stunning collection of images ranging from a David Maisel photography series on mining to an unearthed LIFE magazine photoessay on Le Corbusier in his studio:


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.