February 2013
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Archive for February, 2013

Municipal Art Society Releases Framework for a Better Midtown

“The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) today announced the release of its report on the future of East Midtown, available for free download.

The MAS report, East Midtown: A Bold Vision for the Future,” provides a plan for how to develop a stronger and more vibrant neighborhood in response to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s preliminary proposal for major zoning changes, announced last summer, to spur the modernization of East Midtown. While MAS applauds the administration for considering the future needs of this iconic area, MAS fears that in the absence of a careful and comprehensive vision, the City’s proposal will fall short.

MAS President Vin Cipolla said, “An improved Midtown cannot simply mean larger office buildings; it must mean an improved experience for all New Yorkers.  MAS doesn’t believe the City’s proposal as currently outlined gets us there. A plan for Midtown’s future must address comprehensively the area’s transportation, public realm,preservation and economic challenges.”

“All of these elements are not only at the heart of an optimistic future for this key job center, but are also central to creating a more livable city. We urge the City to be as ambitious about the public realm and infrastructure of the area as it is about stimulating office space development.  We can and must do better—our city deserves it,” Cipolla continued.

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A Bold Vision for East Midtown

Join hundreds of New Yorkers Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center, located at 365 Fifth Avenue at East 34th Street, for an event in three parts.  The day will begin at 4:00 PM and go until 8:00 pm.  We hope you will join us for all or part of the event.

4:00 PM A Bold Vision for East Midtown

Join us for the highly anticipated release of the MAS Report on East Midtown.  Be the first to hear our recommendations and research results. An esteemed panel of speakers will then join us to discuss. Speakers include:

Peter Bishop (pictured above) is Professor of Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London.  Over the past 25 years he has been a planning director in four different Central London Boroughs and has worked on major projects including Canary Wharf, the development of the BBC’s campus at White City and the Kings Cross developments, one of the largest and most complex sites in London.  His book, “The Temporary City” has recently been published by Oxford Routledge.

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Be a Jane’s Walk Host May 4 and 5

The Municipal Art Society is thrilled to announce the dates for our third annual Jane’s Walk NYC, to be held Saturday and Sunday, May 4th and 5th.  Just as Jane Jacobs urged residents to become advocates for their communities, MAS is excited for you to become the “eyes on the street” and lead a walk or bike tour of an area of the city, on a subject that you’re passionate about.  Submit your walk today.

Started in Toronto in 2007, and now celebrated in almost 100 cities around the world, Jane’s Walk honors the legacy of dedicated urban activist Jane Jacobs, who championed the uniqueness of urban neighborhoods and celebrated the ‘locals’ who keep them strong, livable and resilient.

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Putting Public Space in its Place

Announcing “Putting Public Space in its Place,” a Harvard Conference on Public Space, March 7 and 8, 2013.

In a digital age, people will reflect upon 2011 as the year in which physical public space reclaimed its lofty status in the public sphere. From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, physical public space reminded us of its multiple ambitions and capabilities for accommodating consequential political activities as well as everyday leisurely pursuits. Put plainly, place still matters. This conference at Harvard University will focus on physical (corporeal, material, tangible) public space. Physical public space comes in many flavors: publicly owned parks, streets, and sidewalks, privately owned public spaces, privately managed public parks, and temporary spaces that appear and disappear within a parking spot, under a bridge, in a surface parking lot, or anywhere else.

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Louis Kahn Receives 25th Brendan Gill Prize

Esteemed architect Louis Kahn will receive, posthumously, the Municipal Art Society’s 25th Brendan Gill Prize in recognition of his magnificent conception and design of FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.

FDR Four Freedoms Park, designed by Kahn in 1974, the year of his death, was opened in October 2012. The park was realized with the help of Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, Chairman of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, whose dedication guided the project for three decades and who raised the funds to construct the memorial and to endow its stewardship for years to come; Architect and Executive Director Gina Pollara who passionately understood Kahn’s vision and supervised construction; and Sally Minard, President of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, which will ensure the maintenance of this great public space.

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