Loeb Fellowship 45th Anniversary Lectures: Loeb University #1

Loeb Fellowship 45th Anniversary Lectures: Loeb University #1


Hi. I’m Julie Campoli. And we have reached
the part of our program where we tap into the deep
well of accumulated knowledge of the Loeb Fellowship. And we have asked Loeb Fellows
to talk about something that they care about,
share their ideas, and talk about their
work in five minutes. Now you’re probably
wondering, how do you get a Loeb to stop
talking after five minutes? And we’ve asked them to prepare
a very brief and highly focused presentation,
limited to 10 slides. And we’re going to take
away their remote control. And the slides will
advance on their own. And we call this
Loeb University. And we’ll have three sessions. The first one is this
morning, and we’ll have two more tomorrow. And we’re going
to give the podium over to 11 different Loebs. And we’ve asked them to
address the theme of equity and resilience. This morning’s– you’ll hear
four stories that address the issue of– that tell
a story of innovation. The first– how to reclaim and
transform the noisy, dirty, neglected spaces in cities. Then, how design can help
bridge the gap between incomes and the rising cost of housing. And then, how telling
a story can help connect people to the green
spaces in their cities. And then, how disaster
recovery can evolve into long-term resilience. We’re going to start with
Susan Chin, Under the Elevated, pop-ups, pilot to permanent. OK? Good. The design trust’s
latest project, “Under the Elevated,” with
New York City’s Department of Transportation, has
captured people’s imaginations with its possibilities. We saved the High Line
with our feasibility study over 15 years ago,
and we realized space under elevated
infrastructure is more important
than the upper deck. L space is one of the
city’s last frontiers. These dark, noisy,
and neglected spaces divide, disrupt, and blight
many under-served neighborhoods. There’s almost 700 miles of
elevated transit infrastructure in New York City. That covers nearly four times
the size of Central Park. We just can’t afford
to waste space. Most of the elevated is in upper
Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Much of this infrastructure was
built over 60 to 100 years ago. Now MTA, city, or state DOT
needs to maintain, reconstruct, or demolish it. It’s a multi-jurisdictional
challenge. Lighting these spaces is
another challenge for DOT. Spaces are designed for
cars, not pedestrians. The contrast between light
and dark at underpasses was found a major cause
for pedestrian accidents. Our site strategies
include not just adding standard light
fixtures for days, adding accent lighting
in key locations or painting the structure
with reflective paint, or using lighter colors,
not the standard dark green. Making spaces multifunctional
with green infrastructure is baseline today. Asthma rates are
highest along highways. Millions of gallons of
storm water course off of these elevated structures
and overwhelm our sewer system, polluting our waterways
with any rainstorm. So cleaning the air and
capturing the storm water from the elevated is essential
for reclaiming these L spaces. Green infrastructure can also
provide habitat for wildlife. Lighting projections and
temporary public art, such as this on the
Manhattan Bridge, transform these structures
in L spaces beneath. Art can also be permanent, and
a way to engage the community or activate the space. It’s another unexpected
use for these structures. It can be a mural, lighting,
painting, planting, or installation. It can also be street
art, or graffiti. In Asia or Europe, markets,
restaurants, shops, and studios tucked underneath bridges,
highways, and rail lines are commonplace. But for us, transit
engineers rule. So blocking access to the
structure for inspection and repair hasn’t been allowed. Getting permission
for these shops at this transit hub
in Jamaica, Queens, was a challenge for MTA
and Long Island Railroad. Now the challenge
is getting retailers to see the advantage of
these types of spaces. Skateboarders are often the
first to discover lost spaces like L space. Inspired by the
more adventurous, we proposed L spaces for active
recreation– rock climbing walls, hiking or biking trails,
skate parks, or basketball courts. Although dark and noisy, L
space also provides protection from sun and inclement weather. Some of these spaces can be
majestic, like the sketch in the Highbridge park here. In Chinatown, we collaborated
with Chinatown partnership, the local development
corporation. We created a pop-up installation
to test our recommendations. A gateway to Chinatown
with red accent lighting, a community bulletin board,
and seating in this loud space. The community wanted
access to information. We typically think smartphone. We tested partnerships,
community input, and maintenance. We also tested how to get
the divisions within DOT to work together. Community engagement
plays a critical part of the design trust projects. Women’s Housing Economic
Development Corporation, or WHEDco, and
Chinatown partnership linked us to the
community and demonstrated how to permanently
improve neighborhoods. Our Fellows asked residents what
they wanted under the elevated, in Chinese and Spanish. They drew, pasted
up comments on maps. They wanted seating, an
elevator, better safety, information, and
to mask the noise. In the South Bronx, we
collaborated with WHEDco on the boogie down booth. The community wanted
something bright. We created turquoise
seating near our bus stop, not attaching to
MTA’s structure. A canopy with solar lighting
and a directional speaker played music from the
Bronx– jazz to hip hop. This was a real turning
point for the project. Are Under the Elevated project
convinced DoT’s commissioner to create an L space
program, and a prototype for the city booth. Thank you. Next up, Marc Norman,
Designing Affordability. Ready. Designing Affordability is
an exhibition I curated. It’s now currently at the
Center for Architecture in New York City. It’s quite a moment
for affordable housing. Thank you, Harry. From press attention, to
exhibitions, to books, to articles, attention
on this topic is not just among the
participants and the advocates. Everyone seems to
be talking about it and about these issues. The exhibition starts
with the baseline, which tries to outline the issue. Of course, there
really is no baseline. Land costs, zoning
codes, market demand, all are things that make
every project different. Nevertheless, we came up with
an average cost of construction in New York City. And as you can see, using
just development costs alone leaves a surprising number
of New Yorkers out in the cold. The impetus for
Designing Affordability was an acknowledgement
of the accomplishments we’ve made in New York
related to affordable housing from the Koch plan,
to the Bloomberg plan, and now the de Blasio plan. There’s no US city, I
think, that’s been as active and has so much of a commitment
to affordable housing. That said, it’s an issue
that really just changes in its complexity, and shifts
and mutates rather than retreats. So if we move to
development costs, the average sales price–
even more families lose out. And I’m not going to
talk about Manhattan, and lately growing parts
of Brooklyn and Queens. So when I was working on
mixed-income developments in Harlem years ago, we marveled
that we got 2,000 applications for 23 affordable units. Actually, those were the days. This is where we are today–
the number of applications. And if you think about
public housing, which is our permanently affordable
housing and our housing stock, there are more
people on the waiting list in New York City than
live in the cities of Newark or Buffalo. So the question is really
important right now. So where are all
these people that aren’t entering lotteries or
still sitting on waiting list? How are they living? Well, they’re designing
their own affordability. So for me, it was
the cooperative, the sixth floor walk
up, the illegal sublet. For other people, it’s
drop until they qualify, or making do with that. So there are seven
categories within the show, and 23 projects. Thank you, Loebs, who represent
some of these projects. I’m probably running
ahead of my slides. But just to go through
the seven categories. They’re re-imagining
public housing, which is taking this
amazing public resource and finding ways to preserve
or produce units that are permanently affordable. There’s deploying
technology, which reduces costs or
construction time frames, enhances a physical
environment with smart devices, or produces new materials. The exhibition is not just
about designing affordability, but also financing
affordability, enabling affordability,
policing affordability, and maintaining affordability. These projects don’t
represent an answer, but additional questions,
provocations, and discussions for the possibilities. So building modularly–
that is, with the hope of constructing
more efficiently, and reducing delays and defects. Many of the projects
and exhibitions are collaborations, where
policy, design, engineering, public health, and other
fields are coming together. In some cases, developers
are foregoing profit. In others, making a profit,
while also enhancing affordability. So constructing incrementally
provides the ability for families to have
a role in controlling their built environments in line
with their financial abilities, and have more choices
as to where they live. We cannot ignore issues of
race, income inequality, and the exclusionary policies
that Stan talked about that tender better outcomes
for low-income families. So a number of the proposals
address these issues. Rethinking home acknowledges
that the nuclear family might not be the ideal, nor the norm,
and that our development should reflect all the ways
we create community. There are many
housing types that are grandfathered, illegal,
or no longer produced by the market. Most are also what we
call naturally affordable. That’s to say unsubsidized,
and thus the most vulnerable. These units also
greatly outnumber the units produced by the
affordable housing industry. So finally, building simply. This looks at developments that
have reduced almost every area of development costs, while also
creating elegant and functional buildings. If we create or preserve
200,000 units in New York after having completed
165,000 units, how many will we lose
to market forces? How do we save this
housing, create new housing, without the land or
the political will? I think it’s all of these
different solutions. So I tried to represent
that in the show. I’m sorry it went
through so fast. I hope you’ll be able
to see it, and we can talk about projects
you see as innovative over the course of the weekend. Thanks. I think you were two
seconds under, Marc. Next up is Maria Jaakkola,
Reconnecting the Blue Green Experience. Too eager to be here already. So I’m going to tell you a
fairy tale, a bedtime story. I hope you’re not
going to fall asleep. Not until the end of the
presentation, at least. So once upon a time there were
two cities, like twin sisters. They were the same
size and the same age. And we’ll call them
Brenda and Hilda. You probably know what
their real names are. So both were aligned with
their heads and noses in the water, one
facing the Atlantic, and the other one
the Finnish gulf. And there were green veins
running down their limbs. Brenda had got a
necklace of green jewels like emeralds from
her uncle Frederick. Hilda, in turn, called
hers the green fingers. And there were these
bugs living on them. A lot of them. And more and more of
them came every year, and the jewels got
a little stained. But the bugs and the cities
actually needed each other. So they had to find a way to
learn to live in symbiosis and somehow in harmony. So the sisters had a sort of a
fairy godmother, a very close friend of mine called Dis. Some of you know her. But if you don’t, her name is
an abbreviation of Disruption In Space that points out
disconnects between us and our environment,
nature, and each other, and trying to reconnect them. Dis enjoys exploring. So this spring, she was
rummaging around Brenda and trying to connect with its
inhabitants, the little bugs. So she tried to help them notice
disconnects at these functional spots on the green veins. And here’s she’s
trying to find her way along the green corridor
to cross route nine. And it was very
comforting for her to notice that the
strangers passing by were very eager to help her. So it was not as
difficult as she imagined. [inaudible] So she managed alive,
but so did they. But after her
experience in Brenda, Dis came to the
Central Park of Hilda. They always [inaudible]. Orientation is a
problem there as well. She couldn’t see anything. But by the sound of
some Nordic walking, she could spot some natives. So she asked them if they knew
which street they were under, but no one really knew. They only told her
that she does seem lost, and wondering why she
looks like a green Teletubby. So it wasn’t so easy to
orient there, either. And these [inaudible]
were found as well. But this was useful as
a living chair as well. The young inhabitants
of Bos– sorry, Brenda– had no problem connecting to
her, and even talking to her and sitting on her. But Hilda’s Central Park had
more rabbits than people, and they were actually
harder to connect with. They just looked
at her like she was crazy, and wondering
what she was doing there dressed in this green cloth. So this set of the sister
cities– both of you have beautiful islands,
but it should be easier to get to them. So the competitive
sisters argued, well, look at your parks. They are so dark. Our bridges have lights. And see, my bridges connect and
yours disconnect, said Hilda. But they look exactly
the same, yelled Brenda. And we both have
winter, but my bugs just grab their skis and go, instead
of setting everything down, said Hilda. But my bugs enjoy
each other’s company instead of lying around
half naked on their own, said Brenda. But there was something
they could both agree on, which is the lesson
of this fairy tale– that green and blue spaces of
a city need to come together and form an interconnected
network of continuous entities and greenways and nodes
and actually also places to do things. Where you can exercise
sports or even have a flea market if you want. So this network, as we
get more and more showers along the climate change, can
also hold a lot of the water. The symbiosis between a
city, nature, and its people is fostered by accessible,
diverse, and beautiful green and blue space
with inviting entrances like doors to your house. And they all agree that
it’s good for bodies as well as souls to spend
time in a green space. It’s like an apple a day. A park a day keeps
the doctor away. And you also need places where
you can stop for a treat. Karelian pierogi, said Hilda. Oysters, said Brenda. Or even grow your own. And then Dis fell asleep
and had a dream about cities in which everyone can live
in harmony with each other and with nature
happily ever after, no matter what you look like
or what you enjoy doing. David Burke’s Disaster
to Resilience. OK. So I’m going to talk about how
a community begins to understand how resilience is not just
responding to abrupt changes, such as Katrina, but
how resilience, then, ties into slow changes. And how, in fact,
those communities work on slow changes. They are able to focus on
making their community more resilient for the
more abrupt changes. So I’ve been working– this
is the gulf coast now– since Hurricane Katrina. And so it’s been certainly a
very challenging workplace. My workplace it certainly
is a good case study as to how the disaster begins to
lead to the work of resilience. One of the things that was very
clear from the very beginning was the resilience is
about the people that live in the community. So as we began, then,
the work that we were doing in our design
studio, very determined to make sure that
the housing programs then that we were
a part of really focused on the
individual households, recognizing that the
resilience of community is so dependent upon people
being invested in their place. And so we then created
a housing program where there is a
stubborn determination to make sure that
from start to finish that the homeowners would be
involved in the design process. So very much an aspect that
equity is about choice, and it’s about design choice. And so this is a kind
of gallery of– we did over 250 houses,
each one different. Each one, then, working
with the homeowner, so the house then
becomes their house. But what we began
to realize was as we were working– that’s
a map of east Biloxi, a community we’ve got
a lot of our work in– and the marks then there,
the houses– we began to realize that
there’s the ground condition of resilience
that began to become much more a part of our work. And so our work then
has been looking at both the challenges of
communities in flood zones and how do you begin to provide
ways to build in flood zones, and also recognizing that the
landscape itself– in our case, the tidal waterways
are such a key part of the community resilience. So work then has
certainly began to look at how it is that the
community can work together to take their waterways and
begin to make them into spaces of resilience, but in a way that
is very much around community engagement. These little tidal waterways
were both our store water systems, they’re our floodways. But importantly,
in our environment, they’re also the
source of our economy. Here’s a project
showing how to take a degraded channelized
storm drain, essentially, that had lost all of
its ecosystem function. And not restore it because the
environment has changed so much because of development and
begin to reestablish it as a full service ecosystem. Recognize to them,
as a community that gets engaged
in its process, that it helps them raise the
value of the understanding of their own place. So this is a slide that I–
I timed my slides so I’d have more time on this
slide, because this is the story that I think
is important for all of us. And that is asking the question. Because what has happened
in the last 10 years or so, so that we’re here
talking about resilience? So this is a kind of
timeline of the work that our design studio in
Biloxi has been involved with, from Katrina to now. And I’m going to, without
going through all of them, start from the right hand
side, the most recent, and just highlight a few things
I think that are important. In fact, they kind of jump
right into the middle, because Harriet right here. So that point
right in the middle where HUD’s Office of
Sustainable Communities became the Office of Economic
Resilience in many ways is an important mark in this
timeline toward resilience. And recognizing, then, that when
we were working after Katrina, the word resilience was not
part of the conversation. But it was part of the work. And it was laying
the foundation, so that when Hurricane Sandy
came along– super storm Sandy– the time
and the place was right to begin to
get communities engaged in the
work of resilience. So right now, in fact, it’s
hard to be here for me, because I’m working
with our state right now in the National
Disaster Resilience Competition, which
is very much a way to begin to tie in
disaster with resilience. Then another
important initiative that then we’re a part
of in our design studio is the AIA is beginning a
national resilience initiative. Looking at how to then identify
programs such as ours that are bridging between
universities, and the profession to begin to
find ways to provide leadership and the networking to
begin to help communities work together around resilience. But I think it’s
important for all of us to recognize that the
transition towards resilience is one that really
taps into the way that our communities
can work together to make stronger places, both
for the abrupt changes and also the slow changes. And my time’s up.

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