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EVOLVING CITY “STREET” Ulrich Franzen


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1853-1870 Baron Haussman Renovates Paris

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From 1853 to 1870, Haussmann completed a full renovation of Paris including streets and boulevards, regulations imposed on facades of buildings, public parks, sewers and water works, city facilities and public monuments. His restructuring of Paris gave the city its present form. Long, straight, wide boulevards with their cafes and shops determined a new type of urban scenario. He cut through the dense irregular alleyways, creating a more rationally-designed city with wide avenues

and open spaces.

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1855 The Crystal Way was Designed by William Moseley


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The Crystal Way was designed by William Moseley in 1855. This project was a crucial predecessor to Ulrich Franzen’s “Street” proposal. It is particularly reminiscent of the glazed over Third Avenue Regional Center that Franzen proposed. Before any subway was built, Moseley proposed to extend this piece of infrastructure several miles through London from St. Regent’s Circus to St. Paul’s. This proposal was not just an enclosed pedestrian street, or a glass-

roofed pedestrian mall suspended over city rail transit. Rather, the circulation channels, separated according to type, are designed as integral parts of the shops, stores, hotels, and houses that border them. Access between buildings and the covered mall is provided all along the upper pedestrian level. Below, the sub-basements open onto transit rail lines to facilitate circulation, merchandise delivery, and trash removal. This large scale, double-level, linear arcade suggested a new

urban organization at a remarkably early date.

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1855 The Great Victorian Way was Designed by Joseph Paxton in London

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Joseph Paxton (designer of the Crystal Palace) proposed this design for a ten mile covered loop around central and west London. The project integrated road and rail routes with commercial and domestic activities There would have been three river crossings, two on the main loop and one on a brance, which would have continued the arcade, creating inhabited bridges. The project was well received by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Metropolitan

Communications, however it was ultimately rejected due to cost. The road would have been open to all kinds of vehicles until nine in the morning, to allow for delivery of coal and merchandise, but only to omnibuses and passenger carriages after that time. At night the railway would carry goods between various mainline railway termini. This proposal was a predecessor to the Circle Line (London Underground), which opened in 1863.

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1903-1913 Grand Central Station is Rebuilt

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Between 1903 and 1913 Grand Central was torn down in phases and replaced by the current Grand Central Terminal. The New York Central Railroad took advantage of the recent electrification technology to propose a bi-level station below ground. Arriving trains would go under Park Avenue and proceed to an upper-level incoming station, or to a lower-level platform depending on their destination.

The rebuilding of Grand Central Station on the early 20th century initiated an immense, well planned urban redevelopment scheme. The new terminal was linked by pedestrian ramps to all surrounding streets, public transit lines and suburban rail platforms. The existing railyards and tracks from 42nd to 96th streets were decked over in stages, with the upper level becoming Park Avenue. Today, Grand Central is a vital hub of the city, linking

urban and suburban transit lines. It has also become a commercial hub, filled with shops and restaurants, and linked directly to other cities.

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1908 King’s Dream of New York by Moses King

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This drawing shows Moses King’s multi-level vision of the city. He envisions an optimism for the city to be a strong urban cener, a booming real estate market, and a proliferation of money making skyscrapers. Long decked pedestrian and transit galleries parallel the facades of the buildings. The cntral street is a busy transit way above which light, airy bridges provide a network of pedestrian passages. Routes are populated with people, pavilions, and general activities. His view of

the city captures elements not yet realized, including alternatives to the conventional urban street and the creative use of roofs. Together the roof and the street account for almost 100% of the land area of the city, and yet they are largely ignored.

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1910 Street of the Future by Eugene Henard

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The Street of the Future was designed by Eugene Henard in 1910. He proposed a double-decked, multi-level street on which trolleys, carriages, automobiles and bicycles circulate in the open air. Below the deck, a service street links directly into abutting buildings, while utility conduits and rapid transit channels run along the lowest level. He envisioned helicopter pads on the roof, before helicopters had even been invented. Wall conduits suck pollutants into the below

grade trash removal system, then into bins to be carted away by rail-guided service carts below the street. Automobiles are stored within each dwelling so that the street, the public space of the city, remains open for public use.

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1913-1928 Park Avenue Redesigns

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As part of the redevelopment of Grand Central Station in 1913, the open railyards between 42nd and 96th streets were covered. In their place, on an immense steel bridge, Park Avenue came into being. This greatly improved the neighborhood, eliminating soot and noise. By the 1920’s Park Avenue was laid out with a pleasant, meandering pedestrian mall with seating niches down its center. The road right-of-way was restricted to minimal space serving the luxurious new

residential buildings. By 1928, the park malls were destroyed as they were squeezed down to small traffic islands as the automobile took over. Park Avenue became an urban speedway.

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1951 New York voters approved bond acts for the construction of the Second Avenue Subway Line

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1959 The First Outdoor Pedestrian Mall was Built in Kalamazoo, Michigan

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This pedestrian mall, designed by Victor Gruen, became the first of several hundred built in the United States. The bold effort to make a downtown street car-free as a spur to urban vitality and a defense against suburbanization drew national attention to Kalamazoo, which was dubbed “Mall City�.

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1962 Montreal’s Place Ville Marie was Built - Spurring the Growth of the Underground City

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1962

1969

1979

1989


In 1962, the Place Ville-Marie, an underground shopping center under Montreal’s first modern skyscraper, was built. When the Metro was built in 1966 - in time for Expo ‘67 - more subterranean malls began appearing and tunnels adjoined the subway stations with important locations all around the city. The underground city now stretches for 20 miles. Its corridors link up with 10 metro stations, 2 bus terminals, 1,200 offices, about

2,000 stores including 2 major department stores, 1,600 housing units, 200 restaurants, 40 banks, 7 major hotels, the University of Quebec at Montreal and the University of Montreal, and several entertainment and performance venues.

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1965 The High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 authorized the U.S. government to explore the creation of high-speed rail in the U.S.

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21 SEPTEMBER 1967 Ford Foundation commissioned “The Evolving City” proposals

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On September 21, 1967, the Ford Foundation announced their funding of a two-year study intended to set up new guidelines for contemporary city planning to produce an architecture more livable and workable than that of traditional practice. Ulrich Franzen and Paul Rudolph were granted $488,000 for the study. I.M. Pei received a separate grant to also develop a proposal. The architects believed that city planning has given too much attention to the technical and

economic aspects of design, and not enough to the requirements of the people who live in redesigned areas. Each architect selected a section of New York to redesign on paper and in models. The purpose of the study was to develop concepts that may be useful in approaching similar problems anywhere. The funds were to be used to support staff analysis and materials publication. They were also to be used to exhibit models and drawings, first at the Whitney Museum of Art, and later

at other museums across the United States.

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1968-1971 Ulrich Franzen Designs “Streets” for the Evolving City Project

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Franzen’s Study Area

Franzen’s study area was Manhattan’s East Side from 57th to 96th Streets, the East River and an adjacent part of Queens. The East Side of Manhattan was the most densely propulated residential area in the world, containing over 200 living units per acre, compared to Tokyo at 145 and the remainder of New York City at 100. The colors above represent auto, truck and bus routes in the study area.

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Proposed Transformations to the Study Area

Franzen’s proposal designates new commercial centers, new parks, a new megastructure along the East River in Queens, and new methods of public and electric transportation.

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Existing Situation

Public Urban Space

Street Reallocated

Proposed Condition

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Proposal for the East River and Roosevelt Island

Franzen designed an innovative linear urban support and service megastructure and transportation terminal for the eastern edge of the East River. This structure would organize all modes of transportation into a coherent system. Buses and trucks were designated on one level, and automobiles on another. There would also be a truck bypass route. The megastructure was also to provide a terminal for and contain the high-speed rail line projected to serve the Boston-to-Wash-

ington corridor. The terminal was to have a large automobile storage capacity and access to new travel modes linked to Manhattan. Toutes for electric vehicles are established within the megastructure between the more built-up areas, or nodes.

carefully selected intervals, Central Park is linked to the new River Park via Finger Parks.

Franzen also planned an expansion of park area. He proposed a new linear park over FDR Drive which would extend from 96th Street to the Queensborough Bridge. At 51


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Complex multilevel bridge tubes span the East River

Franzen proposed a series of “bridge tubes� that span the East River at 86th and 72nd Streets and the Queensboro Bridge. These bridge tubes carry pod vehicles between Queens and Manhattan. They also contain major utilities - sewage, water, gas and power. These basic urban systems are pumped through the transportation service megastructure. The linear structure is used to concentrate and supplement existing utility services as they become obsolete. 53


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Proposal for a large regional center on Third Avenue

Franzen proposed a large commercialrecreational center between 57th and 63rd Streets, centered on Third Avenue. The existing center between Lexington and Third Avenues is expanded east as far as Second Avenue. The motivating force for this strong commercial development is acces to public transportation.The proposed regional center becomes a point of interchange between the new Second Avenue Subway, the 63rd Street Subway and the existing Lexington Avenue

Subway. There is an internal above-grade pedestrian conveyor which courses through major stores and connects all transit stops.

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1970-1973 Mayor Lindsay Promotes Traffic-Free Pedestrian Areas in the City’s Streets

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During Mayor Lindsay’s term, he strongly encouraged the revitalization of neighborhoods through the reclaimation of the city’s streets by the people. He called on the Office of Midtown Planning and Development team. They developed a proposal to close a stretch of Madison Avenue between 42nd and 57th Street to cars (buses would still be allowed down a center lane). The street would be relandscaped as a pedestrian-only promenade. In April 1971, Mayor Lindsay ahd closed the

street down for Earth Week, and it drew tens of thousands of people to Madison Avenue. His goal was to make this experience permanent. However, in July 1973, the Madison Avenue Mall project was killed, on the part of the taxicab industry and the departmentstore interests, fearful for a loss of business.

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1971-1976 The Roosevelt Island Tramway is Commissioned

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Ulrich Franzen’s “Skylift”

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Tramway by Lev Zetlin Associates

Franzen felt that it was essential that Roosevelt Island remain predominantly open green space, accessible from all the boroughs by the new subway. To improve access to the island, as well as promote enjoyment of the waterfronts of the city, a skylift with gondolas is proposed. The lift system would straddle the river’s edges and touch down on Roosevelt Island, as well as in all nearby boroughs. In the mid-1970s, Roosevelt island was rede-

veloped to accomodate low to mid-income housing projects, necessitating the construction of a new public transit connection to the city. The trolley tracks had deteriorated and the planned subway connection to the island had not yet been completed. In 1971 The Urban Development Corporation hired Lev Zetlin Associates to select and design a transit connection to the island. They came up with three alternatives: a ferry, an elevator from the bridge, and an aerial tramway. The

tramway was selected and opened in July 1976.

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1972 Digging begins on the Second Avenue Subway Line

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1973-1979 Fulton Street Pedestrian Mall is Designed

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In October of 1973 Mayor Lindsay announced a $4 million program to convert an eight-block stretch of Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn into a mall. The plan banned both private and commercial traffic, with just enough roadway left for two-way bus service and emergency vehicles. In 1977, the Federal Mass Transit Administration granted $2.9 million for the construction of the first phase of the Fulton Street mall project along the major shopping thoroughfare. The plan called 69

for kiosks for telephones and mass-transit information, new street furniture, trees and a lighting system. The original idea called for a plexiglas and steel arcade, but due to funding, the idea was dropped. Today the Fulton Street Mall still thrives. It is one of the most popular shopping centers in Brooklyn.

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1974 Vanguard-Sebring’s CitiCar makes its debut

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Concerns about the soaring price of oil, peaking with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, and a growing environmental movement resulted in renewed interests in electric cars. The CitiCar debuted at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Washington, D.C. It had a top speed of 30 mph and a range of about 40 miles.

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1979-1996 Chicago’s State Street is Limited to Pedestrians and Buses

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In 1979 City planners tried to replicate the success of suburban shopping malls by closing a mile-long stretch of State Street to traffic, except for buses. The pedestrian mall was short lived, as theater-goers and shoppers moved to the suburbs and the stores and cinemas have followed. In 1996 they ripped up the broad pedestrian walkways and turned State back into a street, with standard sidewalks and two-way traffic.

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1989 The 63rd Street Subway Tunnel Opens for Use, Linking Manhattan to Roosevelt Island

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The 63rd Street Subway is located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, it is served by the F train. It stops on Roosevelt Island. The station was completed in 1983, however it did not open for passenger service until 1989 when the 63rd Street Tunnel was partially completed. There will be future cross-platform interchange between this line and the second avenue subway when it is completed.

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11 DECEMBER 2000 The Acela Express has its First Revenue Run

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This new high-speed rail travels along the Northeast corridor, from Washington D.C. to Boston, at speeds of up to 150 mph. The plan for the new line was announced to the public on March 9,1999 after several years of testing and engineering.

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2007 April 2007 - Groundbreaking begins once again for the Second Avenue Subway November 2007 - The Second Avenue Subway received $1.3 billion in federal funding which would be allocated over seven years 83


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2008 New York City Initiates the DOT Plaza Program

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Madison Square

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Pearl Street, DUMBO

To improve the quality of life for New Yorkers, the New York City DOT started a program in 2008 to reclaim underutilized street space and transforming it into pedestrian plazas. Since 2008, they have selected four locations per year to transform. Sites are located in of the boroughs, providing places to sit, rest, socialize and enjoy public life. A portion of the roadway in Times Square was closed off to cars in 2009, in a six month pilot program.

Proving to be a great success, they are making it a permanent plaza.

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26 FEBRUARY 2009 Mayor Bloomberg Bans Cars on Broadway in Times Square

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On February 26, 2009 Mayor Bloomberg announced that traffic lanes on Broadway from 42nd Street to 47th Street would be de-mapped starting Memorial Day 2009 and transformed into pedestrian plazas until at least the end of the year as a trial. The same was done from 33rd to 35th Street. The goal was to ease traffic congestion throughout the Midtown grid. The original seats put out for pedestrians were cheap lawn chairs. They filled in until the real furniture arrived in 90

August. Although the plaza had mixed results on traffic in the area, injuries to motorists and pedestrians decreased, fewer pedestrians were walking in the road and the number of pedestrians in Times Square increased.


New York Magazine Competition - BIG’s Proposal

In the summer of 2009, the Department of Transporation closed seven blocks of Broadway to cars. Within a few hours, Times Square was filled with wanderers, nearby office workers and tourists. New York Magazine decided to host a competition to provide better alternatives to the conventional street furniture currently occupying the space. The three designers invited were West 8, BIG, and Field Operations. West 8 proposed an LED lighted “carpet” whose pattern suggests

fireworks, spinning ticker tape, champagne bubbles, and the New Year’s ball drop. They also suggested “tree pedestals”. BIG proposed merging the two embankments of Seventh Avenue by lifting the pavement, like a bridge over a canal of cars. The bridge was to be paved with translucent tiles embedded with LED lights, powered by electricity generated by people’s footsteps. Field Operations suggested giant green umbrellas that functioned as carbon eaters and air-quality

improvers, water collectors, and luminescent canopies at nighttime.

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2011-2013 Snohetta Designs the Permanent Pedestrian Plaza in Times Square

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Snohetta has been commissioned to redesign Times Square’s pedestrian accessibility as a permanent fixture. The reconstruction is three-fold; to upgrade crucial infrastructure; to provide event infrastructure for new and expanded public events; and to make permanent the temporary improvements that the City piloted in 2009. The objective is to achieve these goals in a way that creates an inegrated, safe and iconic multifunctional public space. Along with benches and new 94

surface paving, the design provides a north/ south bike lane to encourage alternative transportation.


2016 Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway Line will be Complete

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ONGOING Ulrich Franzen’s Proposal for “Finger Parks”

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Franzen proposed the idea of Finger Parks, which would take over vacant lots across Manhattan over the course of time, as lots became cleared. They would travel from east to west, linking the city’s streets into Central Park and the East River.

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Ulrich Franzen's "Streets" Timeline  

Timeline of Ulrich Franzen's proposal for Evolving Cities.

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