HAPPY NEW YORKERS
Starting this week on a positive note, a recent survey revealed that most New Yorkers are happy! Or, at least “satisfied.” Of the 1,005 New Yorkers that participated in the first annual Survey on Livability, conducted by the Municipal Art Society in advance of this week’s Summit for New York City, 84% declared themselves pleased with the city as a place to live with only 4% not satisfied at all. A breakdown of the results is posted on the MAS website, and City Room pulled out some highlights earlier this week. The sample might be small, but the findings are interesting to consider regardless. The happiest borough? Staten Island. The friendliest? Manhattan.
The US Department of Transportation has announced the recipients of the TIGER II grants, $600 million of funding going to 75 major infrastructure projects across the country. The Bronx is on the list twice, with $10 million granted to a redesign of the Fordham Transit Plaza and $1.5 million given to planning studies for the Sheridan Corridor and Hunts Point, also known as “what to do with the Bronx’s highway to nowhere.” The first round of TIGER grants, announced in February 2009, provided partial funding for phase 1 construction of Moynihan Station, which also a big week, with an official groundbreaking ceremony, new renderings and a new official website.
Jim Campbell‘s Scattered Light is now on view in Madison Square Park as part of the Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program. The installation of three works will offer a “symphony of light” that aims to “explore and reflect the human experience amidst the urban landscape” and will remain on view through February 28. PSFK remarks on the efforts that New York City makes to heighten the urban experiences through outdoor art installations: “the fact that it’s constantly evolving and open to new ideas is one of the things that truly sets this metropolis apart, and makes it such a great place to showcase these works.”
JR’S WISH TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Speaking of outdoor art installations, this week the TED team announced that their annual Prize has this year been granted to photo-graffiti artist JR. JR uses streets and buildings as gallery and canvas, creating stunning displays that “become part of the local landscape and capture people’s attention and imagination.” Past projects include “Face2Face” (the “biggest illegal photo exhibition ever”), “Women are Heroes,” and “Portraits of a Generation,” and he is currently working on “Wrinkles of the City,” which questions the memory of a city and its inhabitants, and “Unframed,” which reinterprets famous photographs from museum archives onto city walls. TED acknowledges JR is an “unconventional” choice for their Prize, which is awarded to “an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, ‘One Wish to Change the World.’” JR will announce his wish in February. In the meantime, all he’ll say is that it “will involve the world in a brand new piece of art.”
This week, NYC ˚Cool Roofs successfully reached its goal of coating one million square feet of roofs with a highly reflective white coat that sheds heat faster than a non-coated surface. The results of the whitewashing process are reduced energy usage, energy costs, and carbon emissions. The program aims to decrease the Urban Heat Island Effect, which occurs in areas of high density, and can result in increases of temperature, air pollution, energy costs, and illness. Cool Roofs even offers information on how to effectively whitewash your own roof, because, as FastCompany says, “it’s a safe, surprisingly effective, and relatively cheap start.”
SCIENCE AND THE CITY
Half of the world’s population lives in cities and “that concentration of people gives rise to some of the world’s greatest problems, such as air and water pollution, poverty-stricken slums and epidemics of violence and illness.” But “[c]ities are also home to considerable scientific capital; they hold most of the world’s top universities and the vast majority of its researchers.” This week, Nature magazine looks at the potential that exists for a symbiotic relationship between cities and scientists. “The resources that cities offer can stimulate outstanding science for reasons that researchers are just starting to explore. On the other side of the equation, scientists can assist cities in tackling their biggest problems. Science and the City offers reporting, commentary, interactive graphics and audio podcasts.
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The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.