A Post-Flush Mindset
The more obvious idea of bringing composting programs to New York City didn’t go overlooked by Geoff Cook and Tom Greenwood of Base Design, but their final idea was drastically less conventional. They’re concept was to “Paint the Town Brown” with the NYBM campaign. Their idea of selling celebrities’ waste and urine-filled snowglobes made the audience go nuts with laughter, but despite the humor of the campaign concept, there is value in the idea. Benjamin De la Peña of the Rockefeller Foundation proposed having NYBM sticker on toilets throughout the city, and by seeing them, people might think beyond the flush. Their curiosity could lead to the website with information about the decrepit sewer system and push them to action. This challenge was submitted as part of the Institute for Urban Design’s By the City/For the City competition.
CITY:New York City, NY
For all the creative thinking going on above ground in New York City, the old, decrepit sewer system is embarrassing. How can it be completely redone?
Rockefeller Foundation: Benjamin de la Peña
Accessing Fresh Food
Creative Team, Design Cincy had two approaches to bringing healthier food to food deserts in Cincinnati: Accessibility and Education. Starting with accessibility, the team looked to other cities models of successful produce distribution. They wanted to transform corner stores that sell primarily processed foods into places that sell fresh food, fruits and vegetables. It’s proven that a change in surroundings aids a change in behavior, so in neighborhoods where a full grocery store is not close by, these healthy corner stores could bring major change and give people more pride about their local grocer. With ¼ of Cincinnati citizens living in a food desert, they wanted to also educate communities about the benefits of eating healthy and eating local. With grocery stores offering food from local resources, cooking classes, and color-coding foods based on healthiness, people could learn more about what they're eating before they take it home.
Currently the city of Cincinnati should have 34 supermarkets—they only have 24. How can we increase both availability of healthy foods and education about healthy eating in underserved neighborhoods?
- Ramsey Ford, Jody Weber, PJ Mason, Demetrius Romanos, Giacomo Ciminello
Closing the Health Gap: Renee Harris, Greater Cincinnati Foundation: Ray Watson, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation: Chris Bochenek
Activating the In-Between
Dan Maginn of El Dorado Architects faced this challenge with four principles. The first was stitching the districts. Interstates are massive dividers in cities, so by putting a pedestrian bridge over an interstate, the area is more approachable, and the city can literally bridge the gap between communities. The second principle was to occupy the gaps. By flipping storefronts or empty lots into stores and parks, those empty places of the city come alive. Maginn gave an example of a project that thrived in Kansas City, proposing the transformation of empty storefronts into gallery spaces for art shows and installations. The third: Have some fun. Maginn sited the group Improv Everywhere in NYC which performs random acts of theater and kindness in the city, giving people a break from their everyday. The last concept was to have some fear. Maginn proposed a fleet of orangutans being released in the city, or urban volcanoes leaking lava. Sure these are ideas of fear were jokes, but in crisis, people band together by finding common ground, and with so many people out of work or living with less, we can find common ground with our neighbors more easily than before. This challenge was submitted as part of the CEOs for Cities Conference.
CITY:Kansas City, KS
Adapting Pier Versatility
The team from Surface Design took on the challenge to bring people to the pier in San Francisco in the area around the Ferry Building. With the addition of giant planters, people would flock to the area to enjoy the greener scene, which would also provide seating. Without obstructing the view of the water, the planters would bring color and life to the pier. The addition of “floating gardens” would make for an experience that embraces the landscape benefits of land and sea. With kiosks, this area would become a destination for locals and tourists, as well as providing a mainstage for cultural events. Meany said that getting the floating garden concepts through the necessary city channels would prove extra tough, but this idea is certainly one to grow from!
CITY:San Francisco, CA
How can an otherwise vacant pier attract people so that it not only produces revenue but has a symbiotic relationship with the water?
Chris Meany, Wilson Meany Sullivan
Alleviating Morning Traffic
Frances Anderton of KCRW suggests alleviating traffic by walking your wee ones to school instead of driving them. That would alleviate a few cars in the commute. Well actually more than a few. Twenty-five percent. One-quarter of cars in rush hour traffic are dropping their kids off or picking them up from school. This would not only cut down on the smoggy effects car emissions have on the environment, but would have an impact on the onslaught of child obesity. Children could arrive to school full of energy from the outside air and the blood-circulating walk., and parents could walk right past those lines of SUVs dropping their off kids and beat the traffic walking back too.
CITY:Los Angeles, CA
Beautifying Public Transit
Designer Bobby Solomon decided to approach the issue of public transportation in L.A. from an aesthetic point of view. While the ads that currently wrap buses provide funding, the appeal of art on the outside of buses could reach a wider audience. With the huge pool talented artists in L.A.,there is no shortage of talent for an idea like this. Calling the campaign, “Slow Down,” Bobby encouraged city dwellers and drivers to enjoy each artistically-inspired transit vehicle while embracing the perks of public transportation.
CITY:Los Angeles, CA
Introduced in 2010, the 30/10 Initiative attempts to accomplish 30 years of transit projects in 10 years. How do we get a city full of car-drivers to realize the importance of public transportation for the city and to advocate for the 30/10 initiative?
Maya Emsden, Metro Creative Services
Bettering Local Business
Student Orlando Sanabria found that in his community of El Sereno, there was a significant increase in the number of liquor stores, fast food joints, and other businesses which can have a negative impact in bulk. He researched the levels of approval business owners have to go through in order to open a business, and he found there wasn’t much. First, he thought kids could be part of the approval process as they’re the most impressionable. He also pitched an idea for a show which he wanted to pitch to FOX, called CouncilSwap. City councilmen from one area would switch with another, where they would have to deal with issues they’re not accustomed to. Going from a place where the main issue is parking to a place where the main issue is violence could give representatives different perspectives on what goes on in the communities around them.
CITY:Los Angeles, CA
Breaking Down Earthquakes
There are many problems associated with earthquakes: preparation, damage, damage prevention, the list goes on. Stefan Bucher proposes we rid California of earthquakes altogether, at least the big ones. He said we should relieve the subterranean tension with explosives by blowing up parts of California to separate the state into islands. These cracks in the earth would allow for new tourism opportunities. Spewing Magma would steal the show on Hollywood. This was all in jest, but the movie opportunities that could come of this are hysterically feasible. Imagine, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” featuring John Cusack as a seismologist trying to save the world with a tortured soul,
CITY:Los Angeles, CA
Bridges Between Neighborhoods
The separation between neighborhoods in St. Louis has created social segregation as a result of difference in wealth and race. Arch City Revival focused their plans for convergence on the needs of the people instead of just on infrastructure. They’re solution is hubs strategically placed where clashing neighborhoods meet. The hubs would offer a place to rest, read information about the neighborhood, look at photos of past events and check out local art. These structures would be built in a way to bring people together. The mission goes beyond these structures and on to community programs: block parties, community recipe books, youth music programs. The possibilities are endless. Tied to the mission of the structures, all of these ideas could bring people together who would otherwise not cross paths. By pairing up with community programs, schools, and youth groups Arch City Revival can start from right inside the community and find out the needs of the city and what people already offer. Their mission is not only to build a place to gather, but to motivate people to go there and know their neighbors.
CITY:St. Louis, MO
Throughout the city there are streets and public spaces that serve as dividing lines which segregate communities. How can we design the borders between our communities to act as bridges between our neighborhoods?
- Arch City Revival: Katy Mike Smaistrla, Emily Hemeyer, Joyce Gorrell, Amy Lampe, Sarah Paulsen, David Burnett, Michael Allen, Kara Clark Holland
Trailnet: Jennifer Allen, Grand Center: Vince Schoemehl