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September 25, 2007

UNITY 2007: a new, Jacobsian plan for the Vanderbilt Yard

Atlantic Yards Report

UNITY2-JB.jpg

At the same time last night that the legacy of noted urban thinker Jane Jacobs was being celebrated at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan, a prelude to an exhibit opening today, the much more modest Soapbox Gallery in Prospect Heights hosted a community forum introducing the UNITY (Understanding, Imagining and Transforming the Yards) plan, a much more Jacobsian way to develop the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard.

The idea is that if Atlantic Yards does not get built as planned, or is scotched altogether, an alternative plan, with significant bulk but not “extreme density,” limited to the railyards and an adjacent plot, could emerge.

According to a draft report issued by its organizers, planners and architects engaged under the banner of AY critics and opponents, UNITY would offer “a larger proportion of truly affordable housing, sustainable jobs and start-up businesses for local residents, improved transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, solutions to neighborhood and downtown traffic problems, accessible public open space that connects the Yards with our neighborhoods, and a planning and development process that is transparent and accountable.”

Notably, the tallest and bulkiest buildings would be moved east, to Vanderbilt Avenue, while the triangle of land between Flatbush, Fifth, and Atlantic Avenue, currently slated for the Urban Room and part of the Miss Brooklyn tower, would be used for a park.

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NoLandGrab: Norman Oder couldn't make the 6pm UNITY forum and missed the question from a Prospect Heights resident concerning why the tallest building would be located at the corner of Atlantic and Vanderbilt.

Marshall Brown explained that the model illustrated the concept that the corner of Atlantic and Vanderbilt could handle higher density. The tall building is only a representation of how that could be achieved. It doesn't necessarily mean that the building would have to be taller in order to achieve that goal.

Posted by lumi at September 25, 2007 10:14 AM