(Event) GOOD Design NYC 2: New Ideas for New York

Good Magazine presented an evening of NY design firms and local agencies partnered address urban problems and show creative solutions.

The second Good Design Event was held at the Nau pop-up store last week. The evenings’ agenda was to feature creative solutions by local design firms that addressed a problem posed by urban leaders from government, non-profits and civic organizations. The designers had a short amount of time to develop their ideas. The work presented ranged from humorous to concepts that were ready to execute. PSFK took in all  the presentations and we’ve put together a summary of each.

The AIA of NY asked Jake Barton of Local Projects to look at ways of encouraging more people to use bicycles as a transportation alternative in NYC. Jake identified two problems that have inhibited more people from biking to work. The first is sweat. Jake looked to a successful initiative in Japan called CoolBiz which raised the temperature in government office buildings and encouraged people to wear short sleeve shirts. The program allowed people to feel cooler and adopt biking to work and also saved energy in the cooling of the buildings. The second problem was to improve safety in the city for biking. Jake discovered statistics that showed increased bicycle commuter numbers translated to less accidents with motor vehicles (greater numbers of bikers become more visible). His solution is to retrofit the new bike shelters with data gathering and display technology that would deliver safety information. Data would be gathered via a cellphone app riders could download to map their rides and aggregate data. Information could be displayed to non-riders showing carbon savings, safety statistics, and could even pair riders with similar commutes.

Geoff Cook and Tom Greenwood of Base Design tackled the problem of sewage issued by the Rockefeller Foundation. The NYC sewage system is old and every other time it rains, raw sewage flows into local rivers. Base realized the cost to fix the system was too great and decided to use an alternative resource NYC has plenty of to solve the problem, tourists. Base sees an opportunity to capitalize on the desirability of the New York City brand by packaging and selling the waste of its residents to tourists. They took inspiration from the iconic I(heart)NY logo and created the NYBM brand. The firm sees an opportunity for limited edition collections of waste from celebrities and other packaging solutions like snow globes. You can probably guess what those are filled with.

Jennifer Daniel studied the particular habits of pedestrians in NYC for the Regional Plan Association. As a non-native NY’er, she talked about how she had to adopt a different attitude while out on the sidewalks. She realized that it was improper to look at other people and weirder to say hello to them. Pedestrians in NY also don’t really pay attention to signs and instead get from point A to B any way they want. She identified that street signage for pedestrians is designed in much the same way as for cars. She questioned whether the communications should be rethought to be more relevant to walkers.

Guy Zucker of Z-A and Brett Snyder of Cheng+Snyder redesigned Times Square for the Times Square Alliance. Their plan is to make the area more of a feature for activities. The team developed a palette of surface materials that would relate uses. Softer materials would define areas for pedestrians. Large scale digital media in the square could be coordinated to display event coverage. The team even hopes that a re-planned Times Square would be the perfect venue for Olympic events.

Uprose.org issued a challenge to Caleb Mulvena and Colin Brice of MAPOS to develop a solution to improve the quality of life in the industrial area and waterfront of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. After initially studying the area, MAPOS decided to look ahead into the future to see what environmental changes might affect the community before working on a specific solution. They found that after looking at predictions of sea level rise, much of Sunset Park would eventually end up underwater. MAPOS decided to look at a few solutions of what to do to improve the are with the understanding that it would eventually be flooded. They adopted developing strategies based around building sea walls around the area, constructing on piers, and floating entire sections of land on pontoons. NYC could eventually be the home of a floating NASCAR track. Big dreams aside, the team also considered what would happen if nothing was done about the water and developed a fashionable wading boot (the dN) that they think with be the hot new accessory.

Artist Natalie Jeremijenko was asked by NYC311 to look at ways of improving the information hot-line. Jeremijenko looked to integrate learning from the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic project she directs. The Environmental Health Clinic develops and prescribes locally optimized and often playful strategies to effect remediation of environmental systems. 311 could be developed as a platform to tackle environmental issues related to the residents of NYC and function as the got to resource for common questions and answers.

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