August 2012
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Archive for August, 2012

Summer at MAS: Meet the Interns

For MAS, the summer of 2012 has become the Summer of the Intern. From June to August, eight college and graduate school students interned at MAS, lending a hand to specific arts and culture, development, preservation and planning projects.

Joining MAS’s Planning Department were Cortez Crosby and Nika Taubinsky—students of the Yale School of Architecture—who focused on East Midtown. They considered the urban design issues in the area, as well as the implications of the City’s proposal to increase density around Grand Central.

Edith Bellinghausen, a recent graduate of the Pratt Institute’s Historic Preservation M.S. program, spent the past months surveying and researching historic resources of East Midtown, to help establish a preservation framework for the area.

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Richard Saul Wurman Joins First Wave of Speakers Announced for 2012 MAS Summit for New York City

summit 2012 stage speakers

MAS is thrilled to announce Richard Saul Wurman–architect, designer, and creator of the now iconic TED conference–will open this year’s MAS Summit for New York City. Wurman, who has been named this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will set the stage for the following two days with his keynote, A Conversation About Cities.

The third annual MAS Summit for New York City, on October 18 and 19, is fast approaching with another all-star lineup of fantastic speakers slated to explore this year’s themes: Development, Density and Diversity. Highlighting innovative city-building ideas in New York and other cities around the globe, Summit participants will consider New York City’s most pressing livability challenges and help inform the agenda for urban policies going forward.

The Future of East Midtown

East Midtown Manhattan is one of the world’s largest business districts, home to the nation’s greatest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and 250,000 jobs. The New York City Department of City Planning has recently released a proposal to upzone East Midtown’s office core, located roughly between 39th Street to 57th Street from 5th to 3rd Avenue. This proposal is meant to encourage the development of new iconic buildings, transform the city’s skyline, bring in tens of thousands of new workers, and in turn, secure the district’s prominence.

As February 2013 marks the 100th birthday of East Midtown’s celebrated Grand Central Terminal, now is an opportune time to re-think the future of the Terminal and the neighborhood that surrounds it. Although home to first-rate architecture, such as the Chrysler and Lever buildings, the neighborhood’s streets, sidewalks and open spaces have been neglected, becoming increasingly overcrowded and dreary.

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MAS Named a Lead Partner of the World Urban Campaign

MAS has become a lead partner of the World Urban Campaign, a project of the United Nations Human Settlements Program, which seeks coordinated uses of resources and expertise to improve the lives of at least 100 million of the world’s slum dwellers by the year 2020. The program, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, is also referred to as UN-HABITAT. UN-HABITAT and its partners advocate for resilient and sustainable urban communities worldwide and seek to engage the public, private and social sectors in the pursuit of these goals.

Every two years the program organizes the World Urban Forum, which is the world’s premier conference on cities. As a lead partner MAS is now a member of the World Urban Campaign steering committee, whose co-chair is also MAS’s Chair Dr. Eugenie L. Birch.

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The Lessons of Penn Station

save penn station jacobs protest

August 2nd is the 50th anniversary of the rally to save the former Pennsylvania Station.  On that day prominent architects and noted New Yorkers marched to bring attention to the unthinkable—the destruction of a beautiful building, a critical piece of infrastructure, and an important part of the city’s identity.  The story of Penn Station is a tragic one but an essential turning point for New York City and cities everywhere,  serving as an illustration of short sighted thinking and a critical catalyst for the historic preservation movement.

Thanks to the work of the 1962 protestors fighting for the creation of a strong landmarks law, signature works of the past, such as Beaux-Arts mansions, streamlined art deco skyscrapers, 19th century carriage houses, and houses of worship still contribute to the visual diversity of New York City’s neighborhoods.  Thankfully, over the last several decades we have come to a much richer understanding of the value of the preservation and its critical role in supporting vibrant cities.

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