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Happy Thanksgiving! Instead of our usual Wednesday feature, today we bring you an early edition of the weekly roundup — including, with holiday-appropriate thanks to all of the designers, writers, artists, activists, scholars, planners, architects and citizens who have contributed their words and ideas to Urban Omnibus, a look back at some of our recent features and forum posts. First up, some news:
This week, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released FoodWorks, a “ground-to-garbage” plan for the future of the City’s food system. The document lays out goals, strategies and 59 policy proposals for the coming months and years, clustered under five phases: “Agricultural Production,” “Processing,” “Distribution,” “Consumption” and “Post-Consumption.” Asserting that “the very system that is meant to sustain and nourish us imposes costs to our health, our economy, and our environment,” Quinn’s plan presents itself as both blueprint for local action and potential model of food systems change for other cities. The report lists consultants ranging from farmers to chefs to government agencies to environmental and hunger advocates. This isn’t the first proposal for a more sustainable food system New York has seen this year — in February, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer released FoodNYC, an effort to reform City policies around food production and distribution that came out of the NYC Food & Climate Summit held last December by NYU and Just Food. Meanwhile, Gotham Gazette offers a rundown of non-government organizations dedicated to expanding access to healthy food in today’s “Low-Income Locavores.” It’s clear that our food system and its shortcomings have captured the City’s attention. Let’s see what changes are implemented as a result.
LEARN TO SHARE AND DON’T BE A JERK
The NYC Department of Transportation released a call for proposals this week to potential developers of a new bike-share program, slated for launch in spring 2012. The program would be privately funded and run, according to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, though revenues will be shared with the City. Ben Fried and Noah Kazis at Streetsblog each highlight details from the RFP, including information about payment, memberships, station placement, system data (which will be owned by the DOT), advertising and the bicycles themselves. The Post calls it “Zipcar on two wheels,” referencing the proposed electronic card membership system that will track cyclists’ usage of the bikes (the first 30 minutes will be free for members). Matt Chaban at the Observer warns New York against directing the program towards tourists rather than city residents, a mistake he says contributed to the struggles of bike-share programs in DC and Chicago. Meanwhile, in response to the oft-referenced tension between city drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, the DOT is about to release a bike etiquette awareness campaign titled, bluntly, “Don’t Be a Jerk.” Though we fully support the sentiment behind the media campaign, we wonder why it is limited to the cyclists alone. There are plenty of ill-mannered drivers and pedestrians who could use a little schooling too…
RECENTLY ON THE OMNIBUS
For those of you that are using the holiday weekend to catch up on some reading, we thought we’d suggest a few features and forum posts that you may have missed in the past few weeks:
Genevieve Sherman’s report, “GSD Throwdown: Battle for the Intellectual Territory of a Sustainable Urbanism,” on the recent debate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design over New Urbanism and Landscape Urbanism, has sparked a spirited discussion in the comments that is still going strong. Check it out here and chime in, and then take a look at Rob Holme’s thoughts on Pierre Bélanger’s arguments over on mammoth, and Jason King’s response, “Parsley on Buildings,” on Landscape+Urbanism.
The seventh installment of our series On Criticism went up this week, written by Diana Lind in response to the recent Blueprint Magazine/BLDGBLOG “kerfuffle” over the direction and substance of architectural criticism. Over on Design Observer, Alexandra Lange continued the discussion while also surfacing some of her and others’ past writing on the topic, such as Lange’s “Why Nicolai Ouroussoff Is Not Good Enough” and Shannon Christina Mattern’s Words in Space piece “Puffery and Critique in the ‘Other Spaces’ of Architectural Discourse.”
That’s just a start. In recent months, we’ve also brought you interviews with Tamara Greenfield and Caron Atlas about naturally occurring cultural districts (followed up by Purva Jain’s “Design a city for culture or let culture design a city?“); with photographer Stanley Greenberg about the hidden systems of the city; with Underdome creators Janette Kim and Erik Carver discussing their ambitious project to classify contending energy agendas; and with interaction designers Carmen Dukes and Katie Koch, who have developed a curriculum for high school students using the city itself as a classroom.
Urban designer Kaja Kühl presented a field guide to phytoremediation; Haruka Joriuchi and Frank Hebbert told us about Tektonomastics, their effort to map all of the residential buildings in New York that have proper names; and Laura Forlano taught us about Service Design.
In our Forum, Zhenya Merkulova and Paul Gates asked why we are “Forever Trapped Between Jacobs and Moses;” ad Vishaan Chakrabarti considered the implications of the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel project as part of his ongoing opinion series “A Country of Cities.” Also, take a look back at exhibition reviews, from Paul Rudolph’s Lower Manhattan Expressway to Living Concrete/Carrot City; and live event recaps from the Creative Time Summit, the Rising Current Postscript, a conversation on Cities between Lewis Lapham, Robert Krulwich, Andrew Dolkart and Jeffrey Inaba, and one on global waste streams between Manuel Mansylla and Dennis Maher.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Omnibus team to all of our readers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, email subscribers and collaborators. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
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.