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Coalition applauds mayor's vision.

New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, engineering and planning organizations, has responded positively and enthusiastically to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed vision for downtown's redevelopment as a 24/7, mixed-use, international center.

"The proposal presents a challenging and far-sighted framework for future specific projects," stated Mark Ginsberg ALA, co-chair of NYNV.

NYNV's Plan Review Task Force, convened to provide an independent civic sector evaluation of upcoming Trade Center plans, discussed the mayor's proposal following its recent announcement.

Using NYNV's previously announced evaluation criteria, the Task Force analyzed the Mayor's proposal in terms of each of its component parts:

* Memorialization: members spoke approvingly of the emphasis on a downtown-wide 'living memorial' of trees and open space--which must be complemented by programs and facilities on the Trade Center site itself.

* Uses and Phasing: the Mayor's framework proposes a strategy for commercial development that will ensure New York's international preeminence while defining a neighborhood-based quality of life that will attract both full time residents and part time visitors.

It uses phased public infrastructure as incentive for responsive private actions.

* Transportation and Connections: along with its welcome emphasis on pedestrian movement and understanding of the significance of active street life, the proposal defines a rationale for regional and city-wide transportation improvements--an approach that needs more detail regarding funding impacts on other unmentioned priority projects such as the Second Avenue subway.

* Open Space: the welcome creation of a rich fabric of different types of open spaces--parks, plazas, market squares, boulevards--needs to be elaborated in terms of linkages between those spaces, creating a logical sequence of activity and visual clarity.

* Feasible Program: the positing of a budgetary framework of sources and uses of funds is a welcome implementation tool and the basis-for a dynamic dialogue-- negotiation and consensus as to costs and benefits. Innovative ideas such as tax-increment financing and various tax incentives need to be coupled with close examination of obstacles to be overcome in such concepts as platforms over river edges. Remaining issues include the relationship to existing zoning and permitting requirements, as well as how to fund aspects of the concept relative to competing city-wide projects.

* Relationship to Context: The proposal represents a new and much needed context for Trade Center development. At the same time, however, it provides an especially welcome perspective linking Lower Manhattan to a much larger context--that of the city, region, and world.

* Overall Plan Quality: in summary, the Task Force feels that the Mayor's proposal presents a promising and sustainable vision, focused on enhancing public and pedestrian life, integrated with the region, and as mindful of its waterfront edges as it is of its internal fabric.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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