The Omnibus Roundup – NYU, rezonings, openings and gorgeous traffic visualizations

It’s been a week of big projects, big plans, and big ideas.

New York University has announced the NYU 2031 plan, an anticipated 40% growth of the institution in the city over the next 20 years. The university has worked with SMWM, Grimshaw Architects, Toshiko Mori Architect and Olin Partnership to develop what it calls “a strategic framework to guide the University’s growth.” The plans, which address academic, residential and public space, and which NYU President John Sexton says will be strongly community-minded, are broken down into three parts: expansion and development of the core campus, open space improvements, and the establishment of new NYU locations within the city at East River Science Park, in Downtown Brooklyn and on Governors Island. The plans have received a lot of attention and renew the conversation about sustaining competitive institutions in a city so limited in space. Love it or hate it, we’ll all have to wait and see how the big ideas start to play out — the proposals have been framed as the design team’s “recommendations,” and they will continue to review and refine them over the next 25 years. The New York Times reports that Cooper, Robertson & Partners is working on the design of the Downtown Brooklyn site and Polshek Partnership Architects will be tackling the East River Science Park Health Corridor. And all this from the preliminary report — the official strategy will be released on April 14.

Speaking of NYU and planning, NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy this week released the report How Have Recent Rezonings Affected the City’s Ability to Grow?, what they bill as the first comprehensive statistical analysis of the first 76 of the 100 rezonings the City has undertaken since 2003. The New York Times takes a look at some of the findings in more detail, or download the PDF yourself here. (While we’re on the topic of 2003, check out this lovely photo project by designer and photographer Andrew Faris, who shares his photographic wanderings from Spring 2003, when he first arrived in NYC, eager to explore with Polaroid in hand.)

Six acres of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened on this past drizzly Monday, with another 3 1/2 to open later this spring. The long-anticipated project will eventually cover 85 acres, so there is still lots to do, but Metropolis claims that “this first section is any indication, it will be worth the wait.” If the chilly weather doesn’t inspire you to check it out yourself quite yet, Metropolis suggests getting a sense of the new space through a video of the park in progress or by revisiting a 2006 piece by (Omni-friend and collaborator) Andrew Blum about Michael Van Valkenburgh’s design. Or take a look at Curbed NY and Brownstoner, both of whom have photos from the event itself.

You’ve read Carter Craft’s thoughts on the big ideas put forth in MoMA’s upcoming exhibition, Rising Currents. Now you can see them for yourself. The exhibition opened to the public yesterday — though it’s not the first chance the public has had to experience the content. MoMA has been blogging about and has offered workshops and open studios with the teams over the past few months. Now exhibition curator Barry Bergdoll is looking for feedback: What are your thoughts on the exhibition’s emphasis on process?

This week we looked at hard-to-count populations for the 2010 Census. It looks like even the not-so-hard-to-count areas are proving to be more challenging than hoped. New Yorkers are taking their time sending their questionnaires back — some neighborhoods hadn’t yet seen a single response as of Wednesday. Send in those forms! Don’t make us show you the music video again…

If you liked our look back into the archives on Wednesday, you might want to visit the Museum of the City of New York’s new exhibition Cars, Culture and the City, a show that explores how New York City “played an essential role in creating today’s car culture, and [how] the car has helped, in turn, to shape modern New York.” From car showrooms that lined Broadway to the development of infrastructure to early 20th century car manufacturing in our fair city, the relationship between automobile and city offers plenty of food for thought. Then balance the historical reflection with some (unsurprising) statistics about the state of traffic congestion today culled from GPS data collected from city taxis. To put NYC driving in perspective: Between November 2008 and October 2009, “weekday traffic in [Manhattan’s business] district moved at an average of 9.5 miles per hour — about the speed of a farmyard chicken at full gallop.” And then find utter beauty in traffic patterns through this gorgeous visualization project by Pedro M. Cruz that maps the routes of 1,534 vehicles over 24 hours in Lisbon (via information aesthetics):


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.