March 2011
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Archive for March, 2011

MAS Urban Fellow Mary Rowe on Jane Jacobs’ Legacy

Mary Rowe

Fifty years ago, then New Yorker Jane Jacobs published The Death and Life of Great American Cities. That controversial, seminal volume has underpinned much of the work of the Municipal Arts Society over the years as well as stimulating much debate about how to approach city planning, and how we should each think about our role in the urban eco-system.

Following her relocation to Toronto in 1968 with her draft-age sons, daughter and hospital architect husband, Jacobs wrote several books after Death and Life. Those subsequent volumes built upon her early observations and focused on city economies and their importance to national economic growth, and the larger concepts of seeing cities as natural systems of self-organization that drive innovation.

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Reconsidering Jane Jacobs, March 31

On Thursday, March 31, The Museum of the City of New York will hold a panel designed to “go beyond the usual discussion of Jacobs and take an unsentimental look at her continuing relevance—or lack thereof—to planning in New York today”. Panelists include:

  • Max Page, co-editor of Reconsidering Jane Jacobs (APA Planners Press, 2011); – David Freeland, author of Automats, Taxi Dances, Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure (New York University Press, 2009); – Mary Rowe, Urban Fellow, Municipal Art Society of New York; and – Samuel Zipp, author of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York (Oxford University Press, 2010)

Reconsidering Jane Jacobs: A Panel Discussion
When: March 31 6:30 pm
Where: The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10029


Wireless City: Can All New Yorkers Get Connected? Panel Video

Greg Goldman: former Executive Director of Wireless Philadelphia

Earlier this month, MAS hosted a provocative panel on bringing equitable WiFi to all New Yorkers. NYC’s Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Sterne, delivered an informative keynote about the city’s plans to offer more services online, as well as the recent advances in providing access to 311 reporting data online.

City Council member Gale Brewer talked briefly about the strides made by the Broadband Advisory Committee to promote open data access in government, as well as research on the viability of full free access across the five boroughs.

During the panel, Greg Goldman, who negotiated the muni-wireless system in Philadelphia, discussed the successes and failures of the system, while Dana Spiegel, Executive Director of NYC Wireless, explained that WiFi is reliant on internet access, and that that is the biggest hurdle to bringing an open WiFi system throughout New York City.


MAS President: New York Needs a New Look at Zoning

New York City Zoning Map - Union Square

With 2011 marking the 50th anniversary of New York’s zoning resolution, MAS President Vin Cipolla urges the City to stop working within an antequated zoning framework and start fresh. His March 21 op-ed in Crain’s New York follows in its entirety.

Revamp rezoning for city’s new age

The zoning resolution of the City of New York turns 50 this year. The resolution, more than any other plan or vision, defines how the city looks. It delineates where people can live and where they can work; it defines how large buildings can be and what shape they can take. Increasingly, zoning has also become a sophisticated public-policy tool, helping to preserve iconic structures like Grand Central Terminal and the High Line, supporting retail corridors in Forest Hills, protecting the topography of Staten Island and opening up access to the waterfront across the city.

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Diane von Furstenberg to Receive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal

Diane von Furstenberg

Join MAS as we celebrate the remarkable dedication and work of Diane von Furstenberg at our annual gala on April 28, at the magnificent beaux-arts New York Public Library.

Ms. von Furstenberg will be awarded the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal for her tireless work as an urban pioneer, civic activist and preservationist. As one of the first designers to open a studio in the Meatpacking District, she was integral to the rebirth of the neighborhood and successfully fought to establish it as a historic district.

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