Urban Planning

The Trigger

New York’s first zoning law, which went into effect in 1916, wasn’t caused by any single building. However, there are a few buildings you can point to that caused alarm. They were used as examples of what would happen if there were no controls on skyscraper development. The photo above shows OSE’s old home at …

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Very-Long-Term Recycling

The MTA recently began construction on its second big project to reshuffle commuter rail in New York. The first, the East Side Access project, allows Long Island Railroad trains to terminate at Grand Central rather than Penn Station. The second, the Metro-North Penn Station Access project, allows New Haven Line trains to terminate at Penn …

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The Underlying Logic

The main reason I keep coming back to Berenice Abbott’s “Changing New York” project is that her photos are both beautiful in themselves and show a great deal about how the built environment of the city functioned at that time. That combination is, I suspect, an important part of her logic for the project. The …

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Preservation and Urbanism

Sometimes it’s easier to see things when you’re unfamiliar with the terrain. I felt like there were a lot of plain lessons about the way cities work visible in downtown Detroit, not necessarily because those issues only exist there but because I don’t know the individual buildings and streets, so I could focus easily on …

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Three Articles, One Theme

Eastern Parkway Was Never Meant to Be a Highway by Diana Budds, about the design and use of the widest and most park-like street in Brooklyn. What If We Took the West Side Highway for Bikes? by Choire Sicha, about reclaiming one lane of the roughly 25-year-old street/highway (the replacement for the elevated highway) for non-car …

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