The Omnibus Roundup – Berlin Confronts Confronting Comfort, a Formula for Equitable Transportation, .nyc, East River Esplanade and Gardener on the Roof

Rendering of what the BMW Guggenheim Lab would have looked like in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, Berlin | via

If the BMW Guggenheim Lab is an experimental exploration of the multiple meanings and possibilities of public space worldwide, one of the experiment’s perceived follow-on effects has come to eclipse all others: gentrification. The experiment’s control factor is a temporary venue designed by Atelier Bow-Wow that is deinstalled and reinstalled in each city along the six year tour, in which a broad-ranging series of events and discussions about issues in urbanism take place. The first stop was New York City this past summer and fall, and we interviewed each member of the New York Lab team about their chosen theme for the first two years, “Confronting Comfort.” The goal has been to explore “how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs, how people can feel more at ease in urban environments, and how to find a balance between notions of modern comfort and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.” But the Berlin episode of this exploration has hit a major roadblock in the form of threats by left-wing, anti-gentrification protestors, leading the project to withdraw from its planned site in the Berlin neighborhood of Kreuzberg. The protesters cited the rising cost of living and the influx of luxury real estate in Kreuzberg that the project would likely intensify. Read coverage at Bloomberg and The Atlantic Cities or see the announcement of the move from the BMW Guggenheim Lab.

Gridlock Sam is back with a new proposal. His new name for his new strategy is “the Equitable Transportation Formula.” While that doesn’t have the same ring to it as congestion pricing, it is more descriptive of Sam Schwartz’s motives for creating his scheme that would toll the East River crossings, lessen tolls between the outer boroughs, expand mass transit, build new bicycle and pedestrian bridges and ideally alleviate congestion in Manhattan. Schwartz would like to shift the transportation funding burden over to Manhattanites, arguing that they’ve been underpaying for services for years: “’Where we have transit, we don’t charge people,’ he said with more than a hint of exasperation. ‘Where we have lousy transit, we charge people.’” More coverage at Crain’s New York.

From Tahrir Square to Zucotti Park, last year was the year of the public square. Across the country, the Occupy movement’s protestors have largely been kicked out of their encampments, their temporary cities built on dissatisfaction dismantled, and the movement has become much less visible, ceding their prized spot in the headlines to the Republican Primary. But the force of the movement hasn’t been forgotten, nor has it lost its potency — in fact, as the weather gets warmer, physical occupations are reappearing in Union Square and, this weekend, Fort Greene Park. Meanwhile, GOOD looks back at “Peak Occupation” through an infographic of the Occupy encampments nationwide, shown in space, time and scale.

In the physical world, having a New York City address can be seen as prestigious. But in the digital world, place wasn’t initially supposed to matter. But then last June, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICAAN), which governs internet addresses, approved the expansion of the 22 “top tier” domain names available. The familiar .com, .org, .net, .gov and .edu will be joined by a whole range of new domains. They’ve now opened up the process to applications, and .nyc is in the running. The city is betting that the cache of a physical New York City address will translate to a virtual address. Read more coverage at The New York Times’ City Room.

The Architects’ Journal recently published the findings from it’s first ever Women in Architecture survey, conducted as part of their campaign to elevate female architects’ status and acknowledge excellence among women in the profession. The findings of the survey were disheartening, showing, amongst other discouraging figures, that the percentage of women in architecture has gone down from 28% in January 2009 to 21% in December 2011, or that 47% of the women surveyed thought that their male counterparts got paid more for the same work and 61% felt that the building industry hadn’t accepted the authority of a female architect. While that step backwards from 28% to 21% hurts a little bit, the folks over at Arch Daily have created an infographic about women’s achievements in the field so far.



As part of their ongoing Access Restricted: Lower Manhattan in Transition lecture series, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council will be hosting “On The Waterfront: Re-Imagining the East River Waterfront Esplanade.” Transforming the waterfront requires transforming how communities and residents are able to access it. Urban Omnibus‘ own Cassim Shepard will be moderating a conversation between Julieanne Herskowitz of the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Jamie Chan, Senior Planner/Urban Designer for the NYC Department of City Planning; Cathy E. Jones and Dana Getman of SHoP Architects; Dylan House, Program Manager of the Hester Street Collaborative; and Victor J. Papa, President of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council about the history and the future of the East River Waterfront. Wednesday, March 28, 7pm, Two Bridges Community Room, 82 Rutgers Slip (enter at 253 South Street). More information here.

What exactly is the “foodscape of New York City”? Urban agriculture is a growing phenomenon, becoming ever more visible and holding more and more influence over what we eat. Join Scott Nyerges, Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, Tyler Caruso and Erik Facteau of Seeing Green, Molly Culver of The Youth Farm and bk farmyards, and moderator Nicola Twilley of Edible Geography, for a conversation about the future of the farm in New York City. Saturday, March 24, 7:30pm, Union Docs, 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn. More information here.


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