Everything’s pricier in Manhattan, including air. For the deteriorating Pier 40 on the Hudson River, air may just be the key to survival–at a heavy price. Much needed funding for the Hudson River Park piers could come from a recently passed state bill that allows sale of the piers’ air rights (the empty, developable space above a property) one block inland. It’s an unprecedented debate over the ability to transfer air rights of a temporary structure like a pier. With this bill comes concerns about the impact of further development of these inland properties.  (more…)

Problem Phone Booth-Hells Kitchen-Open Plans-CheckPEDS-NYC-001

With the ubiquitousness of the cell phone, pay phones may be on their way to obsolescence. While London has found a way to preserve their iconic red phone booths as tourist attractions, the gray metal boxes are largely ignored in New York, or have attracted pedestrian ire. In Hells Kitchen, a coalition of residents, business owners and leaders are attempting to clear phone booth “congestion” using crowdsourcing and technology.


marinemuseumMarine Museum in Minnesota (via Hyperallergic )

New York City

In his recent photo essay on Long Island City’s Court Square, Curbed’s Nathan Kensinger, documents how older industrial warehouses and businesses are rapidly being replaced by new residential towers. Several major new projects are currently underway so the population of the area will be increasing exponentially. However, as local residents remark, the rapid redevelopment is leaving very few amenities behind.

Thomas Rinaldi, author of the book  New York Neon,  which documents New York City’s rapidly disappearing neon signs, highlights neon signs hidden by newer signs on his blog. Tom will give an illustrated lecture about the signs at the New York Public Library on July 22.  (more…)

Hotel Rehearsal 1-Architecture-Downtown-Denver-Untapped Cities-Arianna Funk

One block south of the busy Sixteenth Street Mall in downtown Denver, rehearsals are underway. From a small work van, a single occupant is raised to the sky in an inflatable hotel room with hydraulic buoyancy, allowing for an unimpeded view of the city from an all-white, luxurious bubble complete with shower, air conditioning, a sofa that turns itself into an airbed, and well-stocked magazine rack. The same view, that is, one might have if a “real” hotel went up on this parking lot.  (more…)

Minimum Parking-Zoning Law-New York-Untapped Cities
Source: Streetsblog

New York City has been finding innovative ways to transform dead spaces, such as parking lots, into social public places. But are developer incentives still skewed towards excess parking? A recent study has shown that there are eight parking spots built for each car in the United States. Eran Ben-Joseph, MIT Professor of Urban Planning, claims there are 800 million parking spaces in the country, which altogether makes up an area larger than Puerto Rico. Although New York City may be one of the most transit-accessible cities in the US, its minimum parking requirements are a remnant from the 1961 Zoning Ordinance, formulated during an era of peak automobile production in the United States.


Although the banks of the Seine River in Paris are a UNESCO World Heritage site, the historical mark has not stopped the city from creatively adapting its embankments. In fact, the city has an on-going initiative called Les Berges to enable its residents to “reclaim” the river. Les Berges, which includes the pedestrianization of the roadways along the Seine, aims to

respond to a great ambition—to allow residents of the metropolis and all those who love Paris to reclaim the Seine and the heart of the city. [translated from official signage in Paris]

All of this is part of Mayor Bertrand Delanoë’s greater plan to reduce car traffic in Paris and increase “soft” methods of transportation. Transit options like the Velib bicycle share program and the  Autolib electric car sharing form one pillar of the plan. Pedestrianization of the banks of the Seine and of Place de la République are another more urban design aspect. New programming and spot infrastructure aim to bring people back to the river, while activating sites with new functions.