The New York 2030 Notebook
Edited by Jeff Byles and Olympia Kazi
The Institute for Urban Design, 2008
Pages: 72; Price: $25
In the fall of 2008, the Institute for Urban Design released the first in a new series of publications: the Notebooks. Replacing the Proceedings that the Institute has produced since 1995 after its biannual conferences, the Notebooks will accompany the evolution of the Institute, which recently entered a new phase of its 30-year history with the appointment of a new board of directors.
Notebook #1 follows our NEW YORK \ 2030 symposium, held on November 17, 2007 at The Cooper Union’s Great Hall in New York. The event was an opportunity to examine PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed agenda to make New York a more sustainable city by 2030, when experts predict the city will be home to an additional one million inhabitants. The conference featured both presentations of the authors of the plan such as Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Department of City Planning urban design director Alexandros Washburn, and critical responses by, among others, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, sociologist Richard Sennett, and architect and critic Michael Sorkin.
The event raised countless issues that begged further study: this prompted us to commission a series of new essays to engage the complexity of the plan in an ever-changing political climate. The Notebook is the record of this engagement with the future of New York City.
The Notebook includes PlaNYC and its goals as illustrated by its authors: “Perhaps our largest scale initiative-one that will touch every block in the city-is the million trees initiative,” explains Benepe. “We’re interested in not just producing housing but producing neighborhoods,” adds Sandy Hornick, deputy executive director for strategic planning in the Department of City Planning. It also features a broad range of responses to PlaNYC, from urgent pleas–”Where are we today and how did we get into this pickle?” asks Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, to biting observations–”If our strategy is to keep $50 million-a-year Wall Street fat cats here because somehow everyone else is going to benefit, that is, statistically speaking, an illusion,” explains Sennett-and interventions by designers such as Winka Dubbeldam, James Wines, and Teddy Cruz, who contextualize changes to the city within their own work, and academics including Marshall Berman and Sharon Zukin, who look to the city’s past to envision the shape of its future.
The breadth and quality of these contributions make the Notebook an invaluable index to the contemporary discourse on the planning of New York. As a collaborative effort, the Notebook calls attention to the urgency of adopting sustainable planning strategies for our ever-expanding global city. In the words of Rohit Aggarwala, director of the New York City Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability, “Hold your council members and assembly members and state senators accountable for the plan. That way it will have a chance to not only survive our administration but to achieve its full potential to transform New York into a sustainable city.”
List of contributors to Notebook #1: Rohit T. Aggarwala, Tom Angotti, Simeon Bankoff, Eve Baron, Fredric Bell, Adrian Benepe, Marshall Berman, Lance Jay Brown, Adolfo Carrión, Peter Christensen, Miquela Craytor, Teddy Cruz, Winka Dubbeldam, Jasper Goldman, George Haikalis, Roger A Hart, Sandy Hornick, Ernest Hutton, Klaus H Jacob, Renee Kaufman, Charles Komanoff, Roland Lewis, Thomas Maguire, Paul S. Mankiewicz, William Mann, Brian McGrath, Charles McKinney, Jean-Loup Msika, Johannes Novy, Damon Rich, James J. Roberts, Kris Scheerlinck, Richard Sennett, Ronald Shiffman, Michael Sorkin, Paul Steely White, Terreform, Time’s Up! Environmental Group, Roxanne Warren, Alexandros Washburn, June Williamson, James Wines, Stephen Witherford, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Stephen Zacks, Sharon Zukin