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Event - December 2014

VIDEO - Symposium for Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries

On December 4, 2014, we convened a dynamic conference for rethinking and re-imagining New York City's branch libraries. Organized by the Center for an Urban Future in collaboration with The Architectural League of New York and the Charles H. Revson Foundation, we invited six interdisciplinary teams to present innovative design solutions for the challenges facing branch libraries and curated response panels with key officials from the de Blasio administration and City Council, as well as other distinguished community leaders, developers and policy experts.

Tags: economic opportunity human capital low income immigrants youth infrastructure design libraries brooklyn

At a time when more people are using libraries than ever before, and technology has revolutionized how we learn, communicate and socialize, our December 4th symposium explored innovative designs and fresh ideas for harnessing the potential of New York’s branch libraries and transforming them into 21st century institutions.

As we documented in our Re-Envisioning New York’s Branch Libraries report, many libraries are in a state of critical disrepair and are poorly configured to fulfill their increasingly important role in serving New York’s neighborhoods. For example, the average branch library in New York is 61 years old, and 59 branches have at least $5 million in maintenance needs. Our high-profile symposium delved into how New York City can make the most of its 207 branches. We invited six interdisciplinary design teams—composed of some of New York’s most talented architects, developers, planners and policy thinkers—to develop an array of new and innovative ideas for leveraging libraries. Their ideas ranged from integrating libraries into new affordable housing developments to re-configuring community spaces within historic branches to even developing new ways that libraries can offer targeted yet flexible services to neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. One team developed an innovative planning tool that combines extensive demographic, geographic, zoning and library use data to inform the development of new library spaces so they are grounded in community needs. Another created a “kit-of-parts” for dramatically improving the libraries’ ability to put on a broad range of educational and community programming. Check out the videos of each design team’s presentation and the response panels discussing their ideas below.

Click here to learn more about the event.

Click here to read our op-ed in City & State about the designs and ideas presented during the event.

 

This event was generously sponsored by:
the Charles H. Revson Foundation

 


Welcoming Remarks & Introduction

  • Gifford Miller, Miller Strategies
  • Julie Sandorf, Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future

 

 

 


Session 1 -   Libraries & Community Development - integrating libraries into NYC's housing and community development goals

 

Introduction by David Giles, Center for an Urban Future 

 

 

 

Design Presentation - by Marble Fairbanks with James Lima Planning + Development, Leah Meisterlin, and Special Project Office 

 

 

 

Response Panel 

  • Vicki Been, NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development 
  • David Kramer, Hudson Companies
  • Michelle de la Uz, Fifth Avenue Committee 
  • Brad Lander, NYC Councilmember
  • Mary Dempsey, Philip H. Corboy Foundation
  • Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future (moderator)

 

 

 


Session 2 - Libraries & Community Development - integrating libraries into NYC's housing and community development goals

 

Introduction by David Giles, Center for an Urban Future

 

 

Design Presentation by MASS Design Group 

 

 

 

Design Presentation by Andrew Berman Architect | Library Development Solutions | Neil Donnelly | AEA Consulting | Auerbach Pollock Friedlander 

 

 

 

Response Panel 

  • Sarah Williams Goldhagen, The New Republic 
  • Tiffany Alston, New York Public Library
  • Christopher Kui, Asian Americans for Equality 
  • Faith Rose, NYC Public Design Commission
  • Cassim Shepard, Urban Omnibus & The Architectural League (moderator)

 

 

 

 


Session 3 - New Ideas and Strategies for Libraries - exploring new ways to maximize the impact of the city's branch libraries. 

 

Introduction by David Giles, Center for an Urban Future  

 

 

 

Design Presentation by Gensler

 

 

 

Design Presentation by UNION 

 

 

 

Design Presentation by L+ 

 

 

 

Response Panel 

  • Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC Councilmember
  • Jukay Hsu, Coalition for Queens
  • Stelios Vasilakis, Stavros-Niarchos Foundation 
  • Diana Reyna, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President
  • Brian Lehrer, The Brian Lehrer Show (moderator)

 

 

 

Session 4 - Audience Response & Closing Remarks