It's Official

Wow! Back in March 2006, I blogged an idea installing a compass rose at subway exits to help emerging travelers find their way. I posted a stencil design to help inspire action. Three weeks later, graffitti roses appeared in lower manhattan. And now a year-and-a-half later, the New York City Department of Transportation announces a plan to implement it.

The DoT will test the designs in midtown, around the heavily touristed Grand Central area. The context specific labels are a nice innovation, not just pointing north, but naming the nearest street in each direction.

See the official DoT press release here and a NY Times article here.

>  17 October 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , , , , ,
The Other Congestion. “Buildings in the [New York City’s] commercial sector, alone, which includes offices and retail space, kick out 25 percent of all emissions (transportation, by contrast, accounts for 23 percent)....

Two months before Bloomberg and his Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability rolled out PlaNYC 2030, London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone released his own 148-page report called the Climate Change Action Plan. The two documents are strikingly similar in approach and have been applauded by environmental and business leaders alike. Yet there is at least one conspicuous – and significant – difference between the London and New York reports. The London plan devotes a full section to commercial and institutional buildings – analyzing in minute detail their energy use, recommending ways to improve efficiency and outlining various regulatory measures intended to force the commercial sector’s hand. New York City’s report, however, has no such section.”

>  15 October 2007 | LINK | Filed in , ,
International PARK(ing) Day. Roll out the sod — today is the 3rd annual International PARK(ing) Day, a day when artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform parking spots into temporary public parks. Yet another guerilla intervention for civic improvement.
>  21 September 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Accidents Halved As Street is Stripped of 'Safety' Features. “Accident levels have almost halved in a London street where ‘safety’ equipment such as guard rails, white lines and signposts were stripped out. The redesign of Kensington High Street has been such a success that the ‘naked road’ concept is set to be rolled out to other cities in Britain and around the world. Engineers removed railings, scores of signposts and combined traffic lights with lamp posts to reduce clutter.” This sounds more like simplification and aggregation of existing signals, though that’s less sensational than the angle that “safety” kills.
>  29 July 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Making Public Space. When it opened its doors to the community, Public School 503/506 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn became the largest public open space within more than 10 blocks. What started in 1999 as an afterschool program for youth has subsequently become a vibrant “Neighborhood Center,” engaging the local community and expanding far beyond the original vision.

Picking up on this success, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed opening 290 city schoolyards to the public during non-school hours as part of his PlaNYC 2030. But “simply unlocking the gates,” could spell disaster without learning from Sunset Park. The Center for New York City Affairs tells a brief history of the program and makes its own recommendations.
>  29 June 2007 | LINK | Filed in
What Makes a Place Great?. “Over the past 30 years Project for Public Spaces has evaluated more than 1,000 public spaces, and informally investigated tens of thousands more. From all this we have discovered that most great places—whether a grand downtown plaza or humble neighborhood park—share four key qualities....”
>  4 May 2007 | LINK | Filed in
Homelessness has nothing to do with a lack of shelter. Graphic desgn student Mark Daye posted official looking signs in downtown Toronto noting the homelessness nearby. More in the Toronto Star and its reaction, captured on Torontoist.
>  8 April 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,
Zimbabwe: Graffiti Protests Multiply. Political graffiti surges in popularity because of the crackdown on nearly every other means of expression.

See also: “After graffiti calling for Mugabe to be ousted appeared in the bathrooms of an army barracks, the government announced a 300 percent pay increase for soldiers and teachers. ‘It is a way of buying off the soldiers,’ said [opposition activist] Moyo. ‘Mugabe is a terrified man.’”
>  14 March 2007 | LINK | Filed in
Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design. A nice little publication from the National Park Service, circa 1994.
>  26 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in , , ,
A Radical Apple Map. 14 points of radical New York City history around the East Village, plotted using the More Accessible Map CSS technique.
>  25 February 2007 | LINK | Filed in ,

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