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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[winter] Tips for taking care of snow

[winter] Tips for taking care of snow

Every winter, at least those with a lot of snow, we pull out our shovels and get to it. But there are things you can do to make the snow go away faster, and make the job easier…

It goes without saying that removing snow from sidewalks is imperative to keep people safe from falls and make life easier for those pushing strollers, or for old people to get around.  One winter while shoveling my own sidewalk I looked across a street and saw an elderly woman literally stuck at a crosswalk.  There was no way for her to cross as the snow was just too deep. Upon approaching her with my shovel she quickly apologized saying she had to get to the pharmacy.  So I shoveled a path for her to get to the other sidewalk.  It’s just too bad those who lived on those corner lots didn’t take care of this themselves.

So lets get to the tips:

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[theory] The future city, future life.

Hastened by the rapid growth of humans on this earth, our needs far outpace our ability to think rationally about what is required by us and what is required by our earth. It must be understood that we can not just allow our cities to bleed out and merge with other urban areas indefinitely for a multitude of reasons, the loss of nature, the total inefficiency in first building and then maintaining such a beast, and the probable lack of quality housing which itself needs maintaining.

So if we set goals, perhaps we can address the real issues facing our society.

1) To build in such a way to allow infrastructure to be easily maintained, first by limiting how much infrastructure we build by building it ‘more efficient.’

2) To provide housing that in it’s core can be refurbished without extra effort, to ensure it’s bones serve future generations.

3) To preserve nature, both on the outskirts of urban areas but to incorporate it into those areas.

4) To build housing that serves all the needs of humans, of privacy versus public, of closed versus open, of fully functional while relaxing, interconnected while remaining unique an special in it’s place.

5) To create infrastructure that has built in a highly efficient transportation system for all things, goods, people, utilities, in such a way that they inherently can ensure weather and the elements that normally cause decay, and to do so in a way to encourage identity rather than ubiquitousness.

6) To reinforce hierarchy within our urban environments, to encourage pride and identity of one’s place, in order to help with it’s maintenance.

7) To create vehicular systems that allow quick transportation of all individuals without the need of individual vehicles, but to also offer the infrastructure to support vehicles that can be securely storage from criminal activity and weather, to help ‘ween off’ individuals from their dependency.

8) By removing vehicles from the street scape, to encourage nature scapes within all communities, to fully integrate nature and the urban environment in such a way that reinforces safety and beauty.

While there is always the danger of creating a ‘utopian idea’ that is doomed for failure, the notion that we shouldn’t think about how we plan for the future is pure folly and has obvious ramifications, like heavy taxes to afford maintenance of the monster, air and environmental pollution, horrible neighborhoods and housing, dangerous streets due to overcrowding of vehicles, etc.  There is a way to take what we know about urban living and infuse this with new concepts that both respect the human individual, the environment and the mechanism that is the city to create a balance that is truly functional and beautiful.  Why wouldn’t us humans try to achieve exactly this?

In future  posts, I will break this down with examples for each item, to begin to establish in concrete terms what it means to use efficiency to create a better more affordable world.

[construction] Masonry Self-Help Guide

[construction] Masonry Self-Help Guide

Spring is upon us and you may be thinking of repairing that winter masonry damage, or sprucing the masonry in your back yard.  Here are some things you should know…

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[architecture] Afghan Cultural Centre 1/24

[architecture] Afghan Cultural Centre 1/24

One human standing on this earth can change the world.
Together, we can change everything for the better of all.

The site location: With a commanding peninsula overlooking the entire valley, this site lends itself to making the most of these spectacular views… Read more

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre-Board #3 of 3

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre-Board #3 of 3

This proposal is about these people and their place.  It is not about injecting an edifice that reflects a foreign culture, or afraid and thus hidden underground, but instead echoes the best cultural center that would be appropriate for this place and these people…

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[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre- Board #2 of 3

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre- Board #2 of 3

This proposal is about these people and their place.  It is not about injecting an edifice that reflects a foreign culture, but instead echoes the best cultural center that would be appropriate for this place and these people…

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[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition Details-Afghanistan

[architecture] Bamiyan Cultural Centre Competition Details-Afghanistan

We want to congratulate to Winning Entry and the top five entries of the international Bamiyan Cultural Centre competition in Afghanistan, and, we acknowledge just how proud we are to be able to participate in this competition. Over in coming months we will release… Read more

[architecture] Post 9•11 High-Rise Planning

[architecture] Post 9•11 High-Rise Planning

WORLD TRADE CENTER, 9-11-01 Tragedy and our Design Response.

As an Architect and Architectural Designer, I’ve been very interested in what may develop at the World Trade Center Site. Upon review of the 6 alternatives in the July 11th issue of the New York Times, it is very clear to me just who the Architectural firm was who created the schemes were catering to the Developers of the site.

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[architecture] Building Safer Buildings against attack

[architecture] Building Safer Buildings against attack

At this time in our human history it is imperative that we give the ‘Super High-Rise’ a chance of survival. Survival means, re-establishing the public confidence that the new generation of Super High-Rise buildings will be the safest place on earth to be, in case of any human-made or natural emergency.

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