The Omnibus Turns Two!

The Omnibus Turns Two

Break out the bubbly: this week marks the beginning of our third year online! What does 2011 have in store for us? Lots.

In the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the urban implications of everything from neon signage to the streetscapes of immigrant enclaves, from a nationwide effort to mine the “intelligence” of cities to a homegrown tech invention that’s kind of like the lovechild of a community development meeting and Grand Theft Auto (trust me, you’ll know what I mean when you see it).

But that’s just what’s on deck in the weekly features you’ve come to know and love. There’s a lot more in store for regular riders of the Omnibus, including some original, longer-form videos that spring from partnerships we’ve formed with with IBM’s Smarter Cities Initiative and the Citizens Planning and Housing Council, and a street art campaign that will be pasting Omnibus-quality ideas on an underutilized scaffold near you come springtime.

We also have more live events planned: meet-ups, field trips, and more to get us out into the physical city to explore its weird, wonderful and under-appreciated spaces. We’ll get back out onto the city’s streets and public spaces once it’s a little warmer, picking up where we left off on Roosevelt Island, the Atlantic Pacific subway station and Newtown Creek.

But first, next month we are planning to shake off the February doldrums with a kick-ass party. Because we want to celebrate our assertion that we — the people whose passion for cities extends into action, into creating new ways of looking at or new ways of intervening in the built environment, into inventing better ways to dispose of our trash or to generate energy or to express creatively some overlooked aspect of the urban condition – are a community. And, like all communities worthy of the label, we want to hang out with each other: to share ideas, opportunities and maybe even a few beers. (And when we say party, of course we also mean fundraiser. Because, as you know, Urban Omnibus is a publication of the Architectural League, a non-profit organization, and we depend on the support of readers like you to keep on bringing you the best ideas for the future of cities, tried and tested right here in the five boroughs of New York.) Stayed tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

But that’s just what we have planned so far. What do you want to see, hear and read in 2011? In our continued efforts to serve our readers better, we ask for just a few minutes of your time to tell us:

  • a) Who you are (Where do you live? What do you do for a living?)
  • b) What you want to see more of — or less of
  • c) When and how you tune in to the Omnibus (At work? At home? When your subway is crossing a bridge?)
  • d) Whatever else you think we should know (What is your favorite feature?)

Answering this survey will help us deliver the content that you find interesting, inspiring or useful. And it will also help us to assess the extent to which we are accomplishing our goal, to redefine the culture of citymaking. What I mean by the culture of citymaking is this: we seek to show, through the selection and presentation of good examples, that improving urban life and landscape is not exclusively political or commercial, but also practical, creative and cultural. If that’s not reason enough, one lucky survey respondent will win a $50 gift certificate to McNally Jackson Books! UPDATE: This survey is now closed. (February 17, 2011)

If the city is the sum of individual choices made by politicians, designers, engineers and citizens – and we at Urban Omnibus contend that it is – then we want to show you the good ones. Crucial to what we do is the steadfast belief that each of these types of work – contemporary visual art alongside urban policy polemics, interviews with urban explorers next to architectural proposals – is an equally valid way of engaging with the urban environment and advancing public understanding of cities. Individual examples of this diverse array of work have more in common than is recognized by traditional media outlets or cultural institutions.

So, that’s why we are here. Tell us why you are, and what you want to see next. We look forward to many more years of bring you the very best in creative citymaking. –C.S.


Cassim Shepard served as the founding editor of Urban Omnibus from its inception to 2014.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.


Abigail Ransmeier January 12, 2011

Thanks for providing interesting information!