Top 5 Things the City of Newburgh Should Do Now.

With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.

While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone.  First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.

The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.

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Ugly Buildings, Are Ugly For A Reason

Ugly Buildings, Are Ugly For A Reason

There are nice looking buildings, and unfortunately ugly ones. The ramifications for creating an ugly building means that communities have to live with the results for decades. This simple fact distinguishes Architecture from other professions where a product can be used for a much shorter period of time and then discarded. Because of the financial investment in building, being careful on what you allow to be built is critical to a building’s life and community.
 
Here’s an example of a horrible developer and designer, who was probably a structural engineer or a very unskilled architect. One can just read this residential building and hear the conversation. “Keep it as cheap as possible, but lets add balconies to be a feature that will get people to purchase the units.
 

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[architecture] Avery Fisher Renovation, by Nicholas Buccalo – NY Times

New York Times: Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic announced the final details yesterday of their collaborative plan to renovate the stage of Avery Fisher Hall. The renovation is to take place from Aug. 23 to Sept. 12. It is to cost $3 million, and will involve no alterations to the hall itself.

The announcement was made at a news conference by Nathan Leventhal, the president of Lincoln Center, and Deborah Borda, the general manager of the Philharmonic. Also present were Kurt Masur, the orchestra’s music director; Russell Johnson, the chairman of Artec Consultants and the project’s acoustician, and John Burgee, the Architect who oversaw the hall’s last renovation, in 1976, and who is overseeing the visual aspects of the current renovation.

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[architecture] Poor business decisions can cost big bucks.

[architecture] Poor business decisions can cost big bucks.

Regarding the small business owner, entrepreneur or building owner, there are things that seem simple to do but often I witness them not being implemented by people. What many don’t realize is if you make a mistake in the design of your space you will loose money.

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[theory] Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

[theory] Helping Cities Grow: What to do.

An important issue for many cities dealing with circumstances initiated by others in the past, like a blighted looking city filled with parking lot scars, etc. From my experience I’ve witnessed many cities do the wrong thing in order to encourage development. The point of this post is, if you do something, it could have a negative impact on your city, so make sure you do the right thing. Read more

[construction] Designing a better Urban Residential Block

[construction] Designing a better Urban Residential Block

It’s long overdue, that is, the re-design of our urban fabric.  What we have today stems from century old thinking and technology as well as the notion of building only what is required for today.   Read more

[theory] Teetering towards fulfillment or ruin…

[theory] Teetering towards fulfillment or ruin…

I’m in the market to buy a new house and I’m looking all over Brooklyn to find the right combination of things that will protect my investment, yet the neighborhoods around where I live are very mixed, some are great and, expensive, Read more

[financial] Go ahead, throw your money away! (Expensive Blunder)

What do I mean by designs that are a waste?  Well, some projects waste time, money and resources.  One can imagine a project that isn’t financially successful, has wasted resources, as the longevity and usefulness of the building will be diminished.  I’ve witnessed where a renovation is completed and in 2 years, after the tenant moves out the space is re-renovated. Materials are wasted too, in this day when there are environmental concerns, what’s the point of designing and building something that gets torn down in a couple of years? Read more