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Design Excellence

We believe that quality design of public spaces stems from in-depth collaboration between city government and the private sector. Our design guidelines distill the knowledge and experience of city staff and in-house designers, and integrate this with creative ideas from industry experts to develop thoughtful and effective solutions to existing and emerging challenges. When adopted and implemented, these guidelines bring about widespread improvements to the built environment that can be seen and felt by all New Yorkers.

Kensington Library
Photo: Sen Architects
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Environmental Sustainability

From city sidewalks and streets to public parks and buildings, our sustainability projects have changed the way the city is designed, built and managed. Working through public symposia, peer review and intra-agency education, we have influenced city policy – notably Local Law 86 and PlaNYC – embedding sustainable practices conserving energy, improving air quality and protecting our waterways into the systems that run New York City.

Rain Garden
Diagram by Meliora 
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Mobility

New York City’s streets and sidewalks, subways, buses, taxis, and ferries are our most highly trafficked public spaces where people from diverse backgrounds intersect.But mobility is not just about forms of transportation – it's also about how people move through the city and how public spaces act as connective tissue throughout our vast metropolis.

These spaces offer opportunities for new types of connectivity, new forms of shared experience, and technical innovation, as evidenced in our eight-year engagement with the city’s taxi system, our study of the High Line, and our analysis of the pedestrian environment in Times Square.

HighLine path

The High Line's path through the Far West Side of Manhattan.

Illustration: Proun Space Studio 
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Neighborhood Revitalization

Healthy, urban neighborhoods depend on many things: sufficient mixed-income housing availability, a strong business base, appropriate density, and great parks and public open spaces. Thoughtful design—informed by the needs and desires of community users—makes the difference between those places that are vital, well-used and well-managed, and those that are not. Our ability to engage city agencies, community groups, and private sector experts helps ensure our neighborhoods are dynamic, livable, and sustainable for the residents that call New York City home.

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