We’re very excited for the launch of NYCxDESIGN 2018, from May 11th to 23rd, a citywide celebration of design with hundreds of events across the five boroughs. To celebrate, we are partnering with the Design Trust for Public Space for a special site visit and panel discussion on May 17th from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Industry City and at the nearby El Space.

El Space is a design experiment aimed at turning the spaces under New York City’s hundreds of miles of elevated highways, subway lines, and bridges into valuable community assets. El Space is part of a project by the Design Trust for Public Space, in partnership the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), aimed at creating a more hospitable pedestrian experience, greater environmental resiliency, and enhanced lighting under the city’s tracks and roadways. It is the first major research, design, and planning initiative to document and analyze these under-used spaces and make recommendations for their improvement as a public asset.

The Design Trust for Public Space has reserved 50 slots on this experience especially for Untapped Cities Insiders and registration opens today at 12 PM EST.  At this event, our Insiders will have the opportunity to mingle with project Fellows, DOT officials and Design Trust program staff at the El Space pilot installation located underneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street and 3rd Avenue in Sunset Park, and attend a panel discussion at Industry City. The panel will include experts and practitioners who are innovating ways to reclaim aging elevated infrastructure and the spaces beneath, in cities across North America  such as Atlanta, Boston, Miami, and Toronto. Panel members will discuss urban and spatial design strategies, community engagement, and programming.

From 6:30 to 7 PM, guests will on-site preview of the El-Space pilot installation. NYC DOT Assistant Commissioner Wendy Feuer and Director of Urban Design Neil Gagliardi, Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball, alongside Design Trust’s El-Space Fellows landscape architect Tricia Martin, urban designer Quilian Riano, and lighting designer Leni Schwendinger will walkthrough the new design elements for sustainability and pedestrian safety, including low light plantings to clean the air and capture storm water from the highway above, lighting fixtures to provide better and artistic illumination for people at the intersection, and an alternative walkway beneath the Gowanus Expressway. This pilot will inform potential capital projects in the over 70 million square feet of space that exists underneath New York City’s elevated transportation infrastructure citywide.

Then from 7PM to 8:30 PM, a panel discussion will take place at Industry City moderated by Susan Chin, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space featuring:

  • Dan Adams, Founding Principal of Landing Studio design firm, representing the InfraSpace program, Boston, MA
  • Meg Daly, Founder and President of The Underline, Miami, FL
  • Vivian Garcia, Manager of The 606 at the Chicago Park District, Chicago, IL
  • Neil Gagliardi, Director of Urban Design, NYC Department of Transportation, representing the El-Space Program, New York, NY
  • Walter Hood, Founder and Creative Director of Hood Studio design firm, representing Splashpad Park, Oakland, CA; and Viaduct Rail Park, Philadelphia, PA
  • Brian McGowan, President and CEO of the Atlanta BeltLine, Atlanta, GA
  • Adam Nicklin and Marc Ryan, Co-Founders and Principals of PUBLIC WORK design firm, representing The Bentway, Toronto, Canada
  • Caroline O’Boyle, Director of Partnerships and Programs for The 606 at The Trust for Public Land, Chicago, IL
  • Roberto Remes Tello de Meneses, General Coordinator of the Public Space Authority of Mexico City, representing the Bajo Puentes program, Mexico City, Mexico
  • Deborah Weintraub, Chief Deputy City Engineer of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, representing the Sixth Street Viaduct project, Los Angeles, CA

The tour is FREE for Untapped Cities Insiders! The tour capacity is 50 spots, allocated on a first come first serve basis.

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Rendering of the El-Space Sunset Park Pilot by Design Trust Fellows Tricia Martin, Quilian Riano, and Leni Schwendinger © 2016 Design Trust for Public Space, Industry City, and the City of New York acting by and through it’s Department of Transportation

Quilian Riano, Design Trust’s El-Space Urban Design Fellow, is talking with a passerby at the El-Space pilot site in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, beneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street and 3rd Avenue. Photo by Anita Ng for the Design Trust for Public Space

Tricia Martin, Design Trust’s El-Space Landscape Architecture Fellow, is talking with an area high school student at the El-Space pilot site in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Photo by Anita Ng for the Design Trust for Public Space

Life Along the Elevated LES Coleman Skatepark under the Manhattan Bridge. Photo © Krisanne Johnson for the Design Trust for Public Space