in Politics and Plans, Urban Change

Run from the Bull

Bodacious, Blueberry Wine, Bushwacker

I found this on what the 2030 report was supposed to create. I noticed a comment I made regarding the process that they picked up.  If they were serious, they would disclose the process used to accomplish one of their basic goals. Goal: Get a park/recreation facility within walking distance of everyone, say 880 yards.

Challenge:  Identify those locations that do not meet this criterion. It would help if you implemented a strategy to accomplish the goal of walkable access, and then talk about how it was accomplished with examples and what still needs to be done. The alternative is to tell people what they don’t have and then fail to produce.

Running from the Bull or Riding One – same thing.

Real and imagined unknowns are part of our embedded information society. Yet, despite the call for transparency and more open society, government officials, business leaders, and human rights advocates share the mantra of the bull rider that says, “don’t get killed the moment the gate opens.” The preference for advanced knowledge for planning includes knowing that the bull will throw you off regardless. How and why New York City keeps its planning secrets is the stuff of its greatness. Or is it?

The PlaNYC link initially went to civic engagement sight.
It now points to the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resilience
Anticipating PlaNYC.gov Same thing.

There are many ways to look at the advancement of an idea; you can bring advisors, experts, and consultants to test the bull for weaknesses.  It is the most predictable move that might suggest counterbalances.  A good example involves the advisory council members the Mayor’s office used for the 2030 PlaNYC.gov project.  A large group was asked to hear it first, keep it quiet, and prepare their respective constituencies with ideas about radically changing the city to solve problems, meet needs, or produce higher confidence levels. These advisors entered New York’s version of a time-honored practice known as the run from the bulls. What we all know, it occurs knowing or unknowingly. 

All advocates for community planning, housing or environmental activism, business or labor, have their own bull to ride. They also have some foreknowledge about successful placement within the arena. They can be part of the crowd or on a balcony above the fray. This is an OK part of participation. It is the burden of either leading or getting out of the way. The observation to make is that it is not always clear which is which. The decision to ride resembles the three most famous bulls in the world. They threw every single rider who attempted to last eight seconds presented metaphorically as follows:

  1. Bodacious – Climate Change
  2. Blueberry Wine – Sustainability
  3. Bushwacker –  Resilience 

Whether the 2030 Plan got called the Olympic plan in a green dress, or the World’s Greatest Bull ride, or the NYC version of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, every resident should be encouraged if one single truth is made clear from the onset — take the increments proposed for change and raise them by accomplishing one thing.  The truth seems far too elusive these days for short-term use.  It seems riskier than ever for decision-makers who use the truth and make a change. On the other hand, raw data gathered for use by anyone can expose a truth in which all can share. I offer an example as follows:

One person, who is without a doubt brilliant in the Bushwacker Class, gave us a map. As buildings are the single greatest producers of GHGs, and the goal in the world (for now) is to get to net-zero, I was hoping you could study the Emissions Map by the aforementioned brilliant person Jill Hubley. So I can find myself on this map, and someday I might be able to add my emissions data, and in trade to this data, I will be advised on what I can do that I can afford to do for me and the next owner of my home, my city, and world.

View Data

Face it. All ideas begin the secret of a few before they are shared. This is the essence of all ideas. When they emerge in a public forum such as the 2030 Plan, they arrive in a city that will argue its merits on a central principle expressed by this question.  “Will this help make a better life for all our residents regardless of household income?”  Is this the truth? It takes work to make it so that a great city like New York becomes one of beauty and greatness. 

New ideas must meet this first test of actionable power. It is important to know whether actions to remove dangerous foods and air from our lives or to bring all New Yorkers and the region into a synchronous transportation model are doable.  Try this last thought out for a second.   All of us have experienced the shocking realization that the cost of running the MTA is a financial responsibility that travels well beyond that paid by its riders.  But, how on the good green earth can does removing the burden that sits substantially on riders alone become a probable outcome?  It seems consensus cannot occur or even be considered without crisis.

We cannot pretend that the burden of financing NYC’s glory in the American sense or its survival in a global sense is the exclusive responsibility of the Mayor, his team, or our political representatives. It is every Jack One of us. The simple, uncomplicated truth may therefore have nothing to do with the facts.  Our absolute responsibility is to protect vulnerable families in a vulnerable city because that protection is needed for everyone regardless of wealth.

How long will the simple measures of our accountability continue to be dismissed as a truism? The real proof of our work and our time in the making and re-making of this city is to measure to value the change.  If this measure is not “people,” what could it possibly be? The hard questions about this responsibility are like secrets. The real test is upon us all to start talking about Bodacious, Blueberry Wine, and Bushwacker.

There are about 1,200 members in this section, and the activity level is low, but the networking is strong. LinkedIn is known for its job networking services, but its “group function” makes this system available to members to share articles, post questions, and define issues affecting New York City and the Region. Anyone can view group content, request an invitation to join, become managers or set up a subgroup on an issue.

There are about 1,200 members in this section, and the activity level is low, but the networking is strong. LinkedIn is known for its job networking services, but its “group function” makes this system available to members to share articles, post questions, and define issues affecting New York City and the Region. Anyone can view group content, request an invitation to join, become managers or set up a subgroup on an issue.

NYC Waterfront Plan 2020

The details on a Reach by Reach basis are well worth some urban design quires and perusals. We have long known that we see what we think is there and that this can be correct or incorrect at any time but always considered correct, and we know that not every observation we make is exact. We know errors in perception and measurement exist. These elements of the human condition are fundamental and accepted collectively in science and psychology. The more important issue is our responsibility to seek or develop statements of fact that have such lasting clarity in describing the conditions of our time they will continue to make sense in the distant future despite these errors. I want your opinion of the waterfront draft on this basis (or, how much jargon can plan one take?).

Armed with this knowledge, please read the Waterfront Plan for recommendations and procedures most likely to reduce error when discussing measurements. Second, suggest ways to find these errors during the implementation of plan components that provide for adjustments.

There are no design police. Nevertheless, the New Yorker only needs to recall the Sixth Avenue commercial office bonus scheme to realize the limitations involved in the public’s regulatory interest in extending Central Park a bit to the south with urban plazas along the avenue. Likewise, one only needs to look at the “restrictive declaration” used in Astoria to recognize a public access failure when you see it. Both represented a straightforward and honorable desire, but one that was interpreted very differently by the developer’s bottom line of that time. Today we have a double bottom line approach. Please bring this do no harm value to your review of the plan’s revision as follows:

The New York Department of City Planning website asks you to get involved with Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. It offers a set of links (below). Each seeks thoughtful people to reflect on the new public realm†and deduce the purpose of the update from its 1992 version under Wilber “Bill” Woods. Unfortunately, all of the links seeking participation died, and the most recent update is November 2018, as seen below:

Earlier Updates

The connection of New York City’s 500+ miles of blue-interface to regulatory entities such as the NYC Building Code, the Clean Water Act, and the long list or labyrinth of permits demand site-t0-site complexities. The call for waterproofing every new structure within a few hundred feet of the waterfront at 14 feet above mean high tide is a “code” example.

Another is the use of the word elevated about the inevitable rise of sea levels. It suggests the need for other measurements to sustain the basic value of public access that sits as the foundation of the public interest. Perhaps it would be a good thing to see NYC function and Venice, has in the centuries to come, or to plan as well as our friends in the Netherlands. It would seem prudent in a ten-year plan to outline factors in NYC interest as far into the future as reasonable.

  • Note: The word elevate in the DRAFT is found twice as follows: Provide elevated views to the waterfront in Reach 2 Lower Manhattan and Explore the creation of elevated viewing deck overlooking cruise terminals in Reach 3 Lower West Side. What exactly is the measure for elevated, and how might this carry over or affect the entire waterfront.

Unlike the folks in the Netherlands that have confidently stated the count to be climate-proof, NYC-DCP selection is climate resilience. It says:

While Vision 2020 is focused on the next ten years, the plan recognizes the need to plan for a much longer time frame. The New York City Panel on Climate Change. See 2010 Report (354 pg) from the NY Academy of Sciences.  It has been projected that sea levels are expected to rise anywhere from 12 inches to 55 inches by 2080. In addition, severe storms and the floods associated with them are expected to occur more frequently.

As a coastal city, many New York neighborhoods experience flooding and storm surges. These risks are expected to increase as the effects of climate change are felt. The Department of City Planning is working with other City agencies on assessing the risks associated with the sea-level rise to develop strategies for the city to increase its resilience. Strategies include regulatory and other measures to improve the flood resistance of new and existing buildings and explore soft infrastructure approaches to coastal protection.

Urban Planning and Design in New York

There are about 1,200 members in this section, and the activity level is low, but the networking is strong. LinkedIn is known for its job networking services, but its “group function” makes this system available to members to share articles, post questions, and define issues affecting New York City and the Region. Anyone can view group content, request an invitation to join, become managers or set up a subgroup on an issue.

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