Designing New York: Streetscapes for Wellness is a collaboration of the New York City Public Design Commission, The Fine Arts Federation of New York, the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and a larger interagency working group.
Streetscapes have proven to be a critical player in the wellbeing and quality of life of the neighborhoods they inhabit and connect. At a moment when the public realm is being significantly altered to address issues of public health and security, social, racial, and climate justice, this initiative will culminate in a publication that will serve as both a point of reference and a source of inspiration and guidance to creating and advocating on behalf of quality public design.
Streetscape design encompasses a vast number of elements on the street—from benches and bus shelters to wayfinding signage, Wi-Fi kiosks, and electric vehicle charging stations—many of which are redundant, obsolete, or serve only a single purpose. Now, our streets are also filled with outdoor dining, retail, and learning spaces. As such, all of these elements compete for space in our public realm and can create clutter and confusion and substantially impact environmental health and quality of life. A holistic and integrated approach for a safer public realm should not only comply with public health and security concerns, but also improve aesthetics, usability, and public perception to support an inclusive and thriving urban environment and public life that is allowed the flexibility to shift and adapt in conjunction with the city.
The forthcoming publication will provide guiding principles for the quality design of public streetscapes and adjacent open spaces, with a particular focus on the urban response to holistic wellness and public health since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as to growing security concerns and rapidly-shifting technologies within the public realm.
A list of shared resources can be found here.
Download Streetscapes of New York, a pocket zine created by the NYC Public Design Commission, in collaboration with the NYC Department of City Planning's Urban Design Office for WE Walk: Streets for Connection, a 2020 PARK(ing) Day event: