Tuesday, July 29, 2008

exurban sites 2

Can scaffolding maintain utility without the city?

open space

The first part of the Mayor's "Open Space Initiative" in plaNYC 2030 is to open the city's school playgounds to the public for use as instant parkland. Can this model for the dual use of public property be translated to other resources, both public and private?

Monday, July 28, 2008

it's official!

I would like to thank the New York State Council on the Arts for its generous support of this endeavour through a 2008 grant from the Architecture, Planning, and Design Program. I'll post more of the proposal in the coming days.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

exurban sites 1

chrysalis new york

For the past several years, the building boom in New York City has meant that you can't walk a block without encountering scaffolding. It's not just condos...Enforcement of the codes requiring that landlords protect the public sidewalks when inspectors deem their building facades in need of repair adds to the diaphanous buildup. How does scaffolding affect street life? Will these temporary constructions continue to proliferate? What will happen when this massive mobilization ends?


street section
street section with scaffold
public domain
extended scaffold
speculative section

can scaffolding outgrow the city?

The posts to follow will show a series of speculations or hypotheticals. These are simply a starting point (or points) focusing on scaffolding itself – a ubiquitous part of our urban environment that usually goes unnoticed. An unscientific and admittedly rather anecdotal examination of New York City’s landscape over the last several years has prompted a series of questions.
-Can the public sector benefit at the infrastructural level from a boom that has benefited the narrow segment of the populace who can afford it?
-Can private infrastructure be expropriated for public use and then returned when the need is no longer urgent?
-Can this simple building technology serve other needs?


Scaffolding is a permanent yet transient component of the urban landscape. The goal of this project is to be accomplished in two phases:
1. Study its use and exploitation and effects on urban sites in New York through site observation, drawing documentation and the installation of time-lapse cameras at building site(s) where scaffolding is being installed;
2. Design research to explore and present new potentialities for its deployment.
In a recent issue of Metropolis Magazine, author Karrie Jacobs posits that the task of progressive thinking and problem solving has fallen to local governments in the absence of strong leadership at the national level. At a time when infrastructure is increasingly being privatized and conservative economic forces are extending protections to capital markets on an unfathomable scale, this proposal is part speculation and part manifesto.