Page C3.1 . 25 April 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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  • Public and Private in New York
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  • Living in the City

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    Living in the City

    by Beverly Willis, FAIA

    Large cities are facing a new era of evolution. Telecommuting and new living and working concepts, coupled with spatial shrinkage, compel us to rethink how "megacity" buildings and blocks function spatially.

    Urban densities of 8 to 27 million people and the trend toward live-work spaces in the center of the city necessitate seeking new approaches to public and private space.

    As one among other viable solutions, I propose a block-size infill scheme that would strike a balance in a mixed-use urban community between: inhabitants, offices, and commercial space; the private needs of the inhabitants; and the public use of the sidewalk and street.

    A mixed-use, live-work, block neighborhood is an organic evolution, stemming from 24-hour street life, new social reforms, technological innovation, and emerging global life styles. Its objective is to create a closely knit, safe, secure, convenient, urban family neighborhood for living and working.

    Rebuilding the Center of the City

    The recent efforts of cities to strengthen their competitive position as hubs of the megalopolis are paying off. By revitalizing their civic centers and improving public transportation, they are attracting new workers, technologies, and related businesses back to the city's center.

    In its competition to attract the new workers, the city has the advantage of a long tradition of cultural activities. This range of activities attracts diverse people of multiple cultures and incomes, creating a synergy of thought, exploration, and experience useful for innovative individual accomplishments.



    ArchWeek Photo

    Architect's Paolo Soleri's sketch of negative effects of separating different types of buildings.
    Image: Paolo Soleri

    ArchWeek Photo

    Iconographic diagram of family services in a tower configuration.
    Image: Beverly Willis, FAIA


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