Reframing the Public Realm: Lessons from NYC – Workshop

By June 20, 2019 No Comments

“The public realm encompasses more than the streets and sidewalks of the city. It entails the complete social and public experience of moving through a city, from the inside of a cafe to the pathways of a park or waterfront, and the shifting vantage points that knit streets, sidewalks, shops, facades, and buildings into the whole urban experience.”

“From the pedestrian’s perspective, the scale at which we can best judge the success of urban design, fine grained elements of buildings, streets, sidewalks, plantings, seating, lighting and other details help create an intimate human experience and contribute to the character and identity of a particular neighborhood.”

NYC Urban Design Principles

New York City is famous for some great public spaces, including the beloved Bryant Park, Central Park and now the High Line, to name just a few; but it has only recently discovered that it has a much more comprehensive public realm. Unlike cities in Europe, cities in America, including NYC, have until very recently viewed streets as places primarily for cars and private land primarily for private users.  It was not until the Bloomberg administration, and its release of PlaNYCin 2007, that the city began to view itself differently, from the pedestrian point of view and as a city for people.  Deriving public benefit from private development was now the primary challenge.

This workshop will share some lessons learned from the Bloomberg years, what worked, what didn’t and what can be applied to other cities around the world, including Prishtina. Focusing on Lakrishta, and the center, we will apply NYC’s urban design principles and protocol, including the sidewalk toolkit, to analyze one neighborhood in particular and come up with a variety of proposals to improve its public realm.

Requirements for participation are enthusiasm about the city and the built environment.  Students and recent graduates from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, as well as sociology, philosophy, or art are strongly encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to actively contribute to the workshop for its whole duration.

All interested must send a resume (max 2 pages in pdf preferred) to or by the 28th of June 2019, with “Reframing Public Realm” as the subject.

The workshop will be led by Jeffrey Shumaker, Former Chief Urban Designer, NYC.