October 2010
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Archive for October, 2010

“You’ve got to get out and walk.” Writer and activist, Jane Jacobs

For Jane Jacobs, walking was essential to understanding how any city worked—or didn’t. In “Downtown is for People,” her seminal 1958 article for Fortune Magazine, Jacobs encouraged citizens to take part in the planning and design of their own cities. She avowed, “…what is needed is an observant eye, curiosity about people, and a willingness to walk.”

And walk she did. On West 57th St., where MAS now has its offices, she observed the enlivening effect of the street’s “two shifts” of foot traffic.

It was busy night and day thanks to its mix of offices, apartments, shops, restaurants and the presence of Carnegie Hall. “Sustainability” was not part of an urbanist’s vocabulary 50 years ago, but she noted as she walked that the “…tendency to become denser is a fundamental quality of downtown and it persists for good and sensible reasons.” Today, density is recognized as the core element of sustainable cities.

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Can New York Learn from Milan, London and Paris?

MAS and the Design Trust for Public Space hosted two panels in June focused on the Garment District and the findings of the Design Trust’s study, Made in Midtown, www.madeinmidtown.org, done in collaboration with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). MAS contributed research to the study on three international fashion capitals—Paris, Milan and London—in an effort to determine what lessons New York could learn from its competitors. MAS focused on the proximities of fashion companies in these three cities and analyzed the effects of industry clustering, and the official policies and informal mechanisms that nurture and develop opportunities for entrepreneurship. Reflecting on the importance of the district, MAS President Vin Cipolla said, “the Garment District is and has been the story of New York for more than 100 years. It is where planning, preservation, entrepreneurship, urban design, livability, economic development and aesthetic issues converge. The Garment District is where New York meets the world.”

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Favorite Places to Walk? Favorite Places to Roll?

Family Walking Along a Park

In preparation for the Jane Jacobs Forum, we want to hear from you about one of your favorite walks. The walk can be in any of the boroughs of New York City. It can be a walk on your way to work or school or when running errands or when out for a ramble. Also, where would you like to walk, but can’t?

Likewise, if you use a wheelchair, where do you like to go? And, where would you like to roll, but can’t?

Here is a response from Dan Icolari, an inveterate walker who lives in St. George, Staten Island.

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First MAS Survey on Livability Finds Differing Views of City Life

New York is considered one of the most desirable places to live in the world, but how do city residents – those of us who brave the subways, crowded sidewalks and noisy streets each day – feel about life in the Big Apple? We released the first MAS Survey on Livability to find out what real New Yorkers think about their city.

Most New Yorkers like living in New York City and their neighborhoods so much so that, if given the chance to move, three out of four New Yorkers would stay in the city, and more than half would stay right where they are.

The survey, presented at the MAS Summit for New York, was made possible through the support of The Rockefeller Foundation. The findings were presented by MAS President Vin Cipolla and The Rockefeller Foundation Associate Director for New York City Opportunities Fund and Innovation Edwin Torres.

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Join the Rally for Garment District Jobs: Tomorrow at Noon

Garment District: MASNYC: Giles Ashford

Join top design professionals and other concerned New Yorkers in the Rally for New York City Jobs in the Garment District Tuesday, October 19, at 12:00 p.m.

The rally is being sponsored by Anna Sui, Donna Karen, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, The Huffington Post, Paper and many more.

Meet at the Button at 39th Street and 7th Avenue. Bring a friend!

On October 22 (this Friday) internationally renowned clothing designer Yeohlee Tang, who recently opened her flagship clothing store on West 35th Street, will be participating in a panel which will explore the importance of the Garment District in preserving jobs and maintaining the heart of New York City’s fashion industry.