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Archive for 'Urban Planning'

Congratulating Bob Yaro on 25 Years at RPA

On behalf of the board and staff of the Municipal Art Society of New York, we express our admiration and thanks to Bob Yaro for his years of service to the city as president of the Regional Plan Association. We have been honored to collaborate with RPA on some of the largest infrastructure projects facing New York, from rebuilding Penn Station to addressing post-Sandy resiliency. We have always valued RPA’s perspective as a regional voice in these discussions, and Bob’s invaluable role in helping to shape them. Deeply knowledgeable and ever insightful, Bob has been a tireless caretaker for New York and its surrounding communities for 25 years. Continue Reading>>


MAS Attends the World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia

IMG_86374585318067This week the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) hosts its seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín, Colombia.  From April 5 – 11, 2014 nearly 25,000 urban practitioners from over 164 countries will participate in a series of lectures, roundtable discussions, exhibitions, and networking events seeking to examine the most pressing challenges facing our cities.  As part of the US delegation, the Municipal Art Society is participating in this year’s conference and hosting a session to forge new partnerships between city builders.  Hosted by MAS’s Global Network, Speed Dating for City Builders: Making Cities more livable and resilient provides an opportunity for urban practitioners to connect with our network partners in order to share common challenges, discuss new strategies and exchange knowledge concerning the resilience and livability of our cities.  The session will be hosted on Wednesday, April 7th and will include network partners from Bandung Creative City Forum, Commonwealth Association of Planners, the Grand Paris Alliance, The Nature of Cities, Penn Institute for Urban Research, African Planning Association, UN Habitat, The World Bank, and Architecture for Humanity.

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MAS Presents: Ideas for New York’s New Leadership

Ideas for New York's New Leadership CoverDuring the 2014 Annual Members Meeting on March 25, MAS Executive Director Margaret Newman announced the release of our latest publication, MAS Presents: Ideas for New York’s New Leadership. To enrich the discussion about the next set of policy ideas for New York City, MAS invited a cross-section of New Yorkers to offer their guidance to our city’s new leadership. Continue Reading>>


MAS Leadership on Why the World Needs an Urban Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

citybuildersPlease join MAS and our colleagues working around the world to make cities more livable and resilient, by signing this petition to support the adoption of an Urban Sustainable Development Goal.

Background: The Local is Global

Recognizing the value of knowledge exchange to address the challenges to creating livable and resilient cities, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has spent the past few years developing partnerships with other civil society organizations and urban practitioners working in cities around the world. In 2012, under the leadership of MAS Board Chair Dr. Eugenie Birch, we began a unique global partnership with UN Habitat to support the World Urban Campaign, of which Dr. Birch is the co-chair. Since that time we have participated in a number of international events addressing urban challenges with which MAS has familiarity and expertise, particularly focused on approaches to fostering urban resilience and livability. Continue Reading>>


The History of Penn Station Highlighted in New PBS Documentary

Penn for blog

 On February 18th, PBS will premiere The Rise and Fall of Penn Station, part of the American Experience series. The documentary presents an engrossing look at the monumental feats of engineering 100 years ago that led to the construction of the tunnels, tracks and station house that made up the original Penn Station.  Tonight, the Museum of the City of New York is hosting a special screening of the film with filmmaker Randall MacLowry; executive producer Mark Samels; Lorraine Diehl, author of The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station; and historian Jill Jonnes, author of Conquering Gotham. Click through to watch a preview. Continue Reading>>


Mayor De Blasio Appoints Carl Weisbrod as the Chair of City Planning Commision

carl-weisbrod-fullMAS is delighted Mayor de Blasio has appointed Carl Weisbrod as Chair of the City Planning Commission who is not only a leading voice on some of the most pressing housing and planning challenges New York City faces, but also a great friend of MAS.  We look forward to working together very closely on the issues that are so key to the future of New York City–Penn Station and East Midtown among them–and congratulate the administration on this great choice.


A Conversation on MoMA’S Plan for Expansion Video Now Online

MoMA Redesign AFOn the freezing evening of Tuesday, January 28th, the audience packed the New York Society for Ethical Culture’s auditorium to hear a presentation and discussion of the recently announced westward expansion plan of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Co-hosted by the Architectural League of New York, the Municipal Art Society, and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, the discussion was nuanced and lively. You can view video from the program on our YouTube page here.
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MAS Releases Accidental Skyline Report

Accidential_Skyline_coverToday MAS released The Accidental Skyline, a report addressing the issues surrounding tall buildings and their influence on the scarce open spaces in New York – particularly West 57th Street and Central Park.

The Accidental Skyline, addresses the size and scale of the mostly as-of-right buildings going up on and around 57th Street which are of particular note due to their proximity to Central Park. It also suggests potential approaches to address the issue including changes to zoning rules, public review and greater transparency as developers assemble these sites. Continue Reading>>


Developing a Framework for Creating a Livable and Resilient New York

ALL HANDSOver a year ago, Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast coast, knocking out power, flooding our homes and businesses, and dramatically changing our coastal communities. Since then, individuals and organizations from around the region have mobilized to assist their neighbors, aid impacted communities in their rebuilding efforts, and begin to consider new ways to protect New York and the surrounding region from the next disruptive event. With an active influx of volunteers, a dramatic reshaping of organizational programs and political agendas, and new opportunities for philanthropic and federal funding, professionals and volunteers across sectors are working towards creating plans for a livable and resilient New York. As we begin to transition into the next administration, the Municipal Art Society of New York believes it is necessary that this momentum not only continues, but strengthens as we enter a period of intense planning, critical decision making and implementation of new resilience strategies. Continue Reading>>


Looking Forward on East Midtown

By Eugenie L. Birch, Chair and Vin Cipolla, President, MAS

MAS_EastMidtown_Cover smallLast week, in a rare joint statement, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council member Daniel Garodnick rejected the Mayor’s plan to rezone East Midtown. The Bloomberg administration subsequently withdrew the proposal.  So now what does the future of Midtown hold?  The answer remains to be seen – but as has become clear over the course of the last year there is work to be done to ensure that East Midtown continues to be an economic engine for New York City. Continue Reading>>


Fighting for the Public Realm and the Public Good

By Vin Cipolla, President, MAS

CPWarren St. John’s Shadows over Central Park (The New York Times; Op-Ed; October 29), contrasts the brilliant campaign the Municipal Art Society (MAS) organized in 1987—to protest the then-proposed two 58- and 68-story tall towers—with today’s relative silence as a number of hyper-tall buildings are being constructed in the vicinity of 57th Street. Continue Reading>>


50 Years After the Demolition of Penn Station

Save Penn StationFifty years ago this week, on October 28th, 1963, demolition began on the original McKim, Mead & White Penn Station with the ceremonial removal of a nearly three-ton eagle from the 33rd Street Entrance.  The main clock at the station was set at 10:53 to mark the short lifespan of the building.  The building had opened in 1910 and stood for only 53 years. The next day, members of the Action Group for Better Architecture in New York – or AGBANY – who had been working to save the building, wore black armbands and held a vigil in the rain.  Over the next three years, as trains underneath continued to run, the headhouse of Penn Station, a masterpiece of Beaux Arts architecture, was systematically torn down. Continue Reading>>


Battle over the Aluminaire House Rages On

photo 1Eighty-two years after its debut, the saga of the Aluminaire House continues: On October 15, 2013, a Certificate of Appropriateness to reconstruct the modern icon within the boundaries of the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District was presented before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. A sizable crowd of architects, historians, preservationists, community residents, and politicians packed the hearing room to voice their opinions. Continue Reading>>


MAS Testifies at Landmarks Preservation Commission on 215 West 57th Street

art students league of nyOn October 22, after a long and lively public hearing, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted (6-1) to approve a cantilever over the landmarked Art Students League building. The cantilever is part of Extell’s 215 West 57th Street development, a 1,400 foot tall building that will house a hotel and condos above Nordstrom’s. This building is essentially as-of-right except for the applications to cantilever over the landmark and restore storefronts on the landmarked 1780 and 1790 Broadway buildings. Continue Reading>>


Exciting Innovations and New Findings on Livability Announced at MAS Summit for New York City

By Eugenie L. Birch, Chair and Vin Cipolla, President, MAS

VinMore than one thousand people gathered at Jazz at Lincoln Center last Thursday and Friday, October 17 and 18 to be part of important discussions on livability and resilience at MAS’ fourth annual Summit for New York City. The days’ themes were Innovation and Leadership–and the audience heard from global thought-leaders and city-builders on important issues affecting New York City and cities around the globe. More than 100 speakers, presenters and moderators joined in the discussion on stage. And, upwards of one thousand watched online from the U.S. and around the world, including New Zealand, India, South Africa and across Europe.

Our speakers presented so many exciting and innovative ideas, findings on livability and new initiatives over the two days. We want to share some of the highlights—you can see more on our website at MAS.org. Continue Reading>>