When we think of cities, we think of buildings and skyscrapers and stray cats. For Amanda Burden, who spent 12 years as New York City’s director of urban planning, they’re primarily about people. They’re about where people go and where they meet — that’s the core of how cities work. And for the people, even more important than the buildings are the public spaces in between them. Those, to Burden, are what makes the cities come alive.
The central question she asks is, “What makes a public space work? What is it about unsuccessful places that keeps people away?” Burden, it turns out, was trained as an animal behaviorist, but she uses those skills to study how people interact with their spaces.
As New York’s chief city planner under the Bloomberg administration, Amanda Burden led revitalization of some of the city’s most familiar features — from the High Line to the Brooklyn waterfront (Ted). She exposes several different models of public open spaces in New York City, including the High Line, in order to illustrate which one works and which one does not, how people experience outdoor activities in those spaces, underlining that public spaces indeed have power.
Wonder how to induce new urban cultures within our urban environment towards a more sustainable, livable, and fun city? Synchronizing with the rise of mobile phone and apps technologies, New Cities Foundation together with its media partner Guardian City, introducing a yearly worldwide competition AppMyCity, which rewards new concepts of mobile applications or urban apps that improve the urban experience, connect people, and… Read more →
“Cities are an immense laboratory of trial and error, failure and success, in city building and city design. This is the laboratory in which city planning should have been learning and forming and testing its theories. Instead the practitioners and teachers of this discipline have ignored the study of success and failure in real life, have been incurious about the reasons for unexpected success, and are guided instead by principles derived from the behavior and appearance of towns, suburbs, tuberculosis sanatoria, fairs and imaginary dream cities – from anything but the cities themselves.” Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961).