Public Design in New York City

Smart public design is important for the functioning of all communities, as it determines the amount of safe, accessible places for outdoor activity and community gathering. This is especially important in large cities such as New York City. As the available real estate is limited, city planners must design projects that make the best use of the space available. In 2016, agencies and city workers proposed many new projects spanning across all NYC boroughs that will contribute to making NYC a more sustainable city, and provide outdoor spaces for its’ residents.

One of the largest new projects is the New York Police Department 40th Precinct building in the Bronx. In addition to including the Precinct, the building will host meeting rooms for community groups and educational programs, an exercise courtyard with a climbing wall, and green roofs. The inclusion of green roofs is an innovative tactic that has environmental advantages such as reducing energy usage, storm-water run-off, and heat absorption, which can help to cool down the city. This is an impressive public design initiative as it serves many purposes – a police department, community center, and exercise space – all while conserving energy and benefitting the environment.

Another innovative project is the overhaul of a water waste treatment plan in north Brooklyn. To create more opportunities for outdoor activity, the city is renovating the area and building a walking trail along Newtown Creek. This trail will be open to the public, so Brooklyn residents will have a space to run, walk or simply relax by the water with family and friends.

These projects, along with eight others, received the city’s Excellence in Design award for 2016. Recipients are chosen by NYC’s public design commission, which identifies ambitious public design projects that are most likely to benefit the city. These initiatives will create new spaces for residents to be active outdoors and connect with others in their communities, while working to improve the city’s environment.