How Battery Park City Became an Urbanist Dream: a Walking Tour and Lecture

03/28/2022 in
How Battery Park City Became an Urbanist Dream: a Walking Tour and Lecture

New urbanism is all the rage, just ask the teens. The renewed popularity of pedestrian-friendly, densely constructed, human-scale design in recent decades is a pushback to isolating suburban sprawl and the climate woes they enable, and it owes a lot to the success of Battery Park City. 

The 92-acre Lower Manhattan development built on landfill in the 1980s emphasized community over single-building construction and now includes more than 30 buildings, along with shops and restaurants at Brookfield Place, parks, playgrounds and museums. At the time, the New York Times praised the new mini neighborhood, calling it “far and away the finest urban grouping since Rockefeller Center” and “one of the better pieces of urban design of modern times.”

Learn about how that came to be and why urbanists consider it a success with two events on April 5: a one-hour walking tour from Congress for the New Urbanism, followed by a lecture on sustainable housing. 

The tour will start at 4 p.m. and “show firsthand the design characteristics that make Battery Park City a better place to live and a model that helped build the principles of New Urbanism,” according to its description. Led by Zeke Mermell, a senior urban designer at Sam Schwartz Engineering, and Camille Cortes of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, the walking tour will cover the equity and resilience perspectives in this unique corner of the city. 

The lecture, titled “A Better Place to Live: Walkable Communities, Sustainable Urban Planning, Historic Preservation, Social Equity and Battery Park City,” will start at 6 p.m. at the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park S. It features Jeff Speck, author of the best-selling book Walkable City, who will talk about high-quality urban planning. He’ll be joined by Shelley Poticha, chief climate strategist of the Natural Resource Defense Council, and Marc Wouters of an award-winning planning firm in Brooklyn. They’ll discuss historic preservation of urban districts, the creation of social equity in communities, affordable housing, sustainable transportation, how to address climate change, and why Battery Park City is one of the most successful examples of new urbanism in the region. 

Register for the free lecture here

Register for the free tour by emailing zmermell@samschwartz.com.

Tags: Battery Park City, lecture, walking tour

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