March 6, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
Long Island City will be front and center in a round of “citywide conversations” about inclusive growth and urban design that kicked off today, organized by an architecture nonprofit and “spurred by the heated debates”over the now-scrapped Amazon project.
The festival, titled “LICNYC: Site City Future” features a series of public engagement programs on the neighborhood and its dramatic growth, and will examine what’s next in light of the canceled HQ2 project at Anable Basin. The events, which will go to June, are organized by the Van Alen Institute.
“Well before Amazon proposed its 14-acre campus on the Queens waterfront, Long Island City was the fastest growing neighborhood in the country,” the nonprofit said. “This rapid growth has positively impacted steel life, commercial activity, and local cultural institutions, but has also driven up housing prices and strained the capacity of local schools and public transit.”
It added: “HQ2 quickly became a proxy for the relationship between new development and citizen’s priorities, and while HQ2 is no longer on New York’s horizon, LIC will continue to grow.”
The events will fall into three “lenses”: “The Site: Connection to Place,” which focuses on neighborhood context and quality of life; “The City: We Live on an Island,” which explores the technical particulars of continuing growth; and “The Future: The Role of Design,” which looks at the drivers of urban design and what that means for the future of cities.
The first event, a roundtable discussion featuring urban planning experts and architects, will dive into the context in which Amazon’s HQ2 search launched, and what it demonstrated about “modern industry and private enterprise” as primary drivers of economic growth.
“The implications for urban planning are far-reaching,” reads the March 6 event blurb. “If business districts, public spaces, and waterfronts are increasingly shaped by corporate interests, what is the role of design within this framework?”
Upcoming events include a walking tour of Queens Plaza on March 24, where “participants will be challenged to envision how the surrounding infrastructure and streetscapes might change as they tour the area,” especially as another 20,000 residents are expected to be housed in Long Island City by 2020.
Another event, titled “A Good Neighbor?” will imagine Long Island City in 2020 by way of a “design charente,” or an intense planning session.
For more information on the series and to register for upcoming events, visit Van Alen’s “LICNYC: Site City Future” page.