in Density, Manhattan, Places

One Bryant Park

In thoughtful research reporting, the requirement, to sum up, should become a higher priority. In Skyscrapers and the World of Tomorrow posted to Planetizen on September 1, 2011, by editors Jeff Jamawat, Kris Fortin, Tim Halbur, and Victor Negrete, the questions sought to define the place for massive buildings, but the article ends by suggesting the problem lies in a lack of a clear, agreed-upon vision for the future. Lots of luck with that one, but they give it a try.

The vision’s content requires data that confirms the efficacy of the following steps.

  1. add full life cycle analysis (e.g. embodied energy) to LEED certification (McEeaney, Toberian)
  2. advance smart building technologies (Black, Leung, Appel)
  3. remove barriers to high (even ultra) density in the right places (Glaeser)
  4. prevent bottom-feeding architecture and beware the onset of tower blight (Kunstler)
  5. remove political gridlock (everybody)

Top of the line sellers provides the data needed for the first two steps thanks to high-end technology buyers (see video below).  Much of the data from these systems are proprietary and slows the change rate, but it is a pay-it-forward change. These investment institutions are strong and global.

The remaining three define the lack of clear vision problem less optimistically.  All of our democratic institutions face demands for NASA-style investment goals amidst fix-it-first philosophies.  How do we dissolve the contradictions of these two different approaches?

In our recent national history, we attacked a similar problem from the top-down and the grass-roots-up with top-end ideas such as the Great Society and things like Headstart in a local precinct. Part of it included an investment in demonstration cities, later renamed Model Cities, while another part vociferously disagreed with an America entering a permanent state of war.  All of this began a process that forever changed the vision of the urban world.

Today, envisioning the city and our future is inseparable, but this begs the question.  The vision will remove the barriers, release unlimited wealth for growth, and break the gridlock cities left in a wilderness known as The Republic of States. Urbanized areas need to be separate and inviolate for a vast new set of powers. That is what is missing. That is what we need.

[vimeo 17604569 w=400 h=225]

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park from Cook+Fox Architects on Vimeo.

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