Today, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced the selection of a joint proposal from design firms WXY Studio (WXY) and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG Architects) to conduct a comprehensive study and implementation plan for Downtown Brooklyn’s public realm. The plan will help advance Downtown Brooklyn as a competitive, national urban center.
Downtown Brooklyn has faced unprecedented growth over the last fifteen years since the 2004 rezoning. Since then, the neighborhood has transformed into a true 24–hour mixed–use community, and with that have come new demands on streets, sidewalks, transit infrastructure and public spaces.
The Public Realm Action Plan is a response to that growth. The solutions set forth will help put Downtown Brooklyn on a new trajectory, reflecting its growing prominence in New York City and the nation’s economy, and taking into account the varied needs of its residents, workforce, businesses and visitors.
Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said, “As New York City’s largest business district outside of Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn has experienced tremendous growth over the years, developing into a vibrant mixed–use hub. But it has also reached a tipping point – and it is time for us to rethink how our public spaces can keep pace and better work for the people using them. We are excited to work with WXY and BIG to come up with a holistic vision for a more unified Downtown Brooklyn that meets the needs of our diverse community.”
Claire Weisz, WXY Principal–In–Charge, said, “The public spaces of Downtown Brooklyn are key to the borough’s continued growth and dynamism. With 50,000 additional residents expected by 2025, we are thrilled to be designing the kinds of streets, parks, and new spaces that will connect and reflect the community of people working, playing, studying, and living in Downtown Brooklyn.”
“We are excited to be part of regenerating Downtown Brooklyn, a neighborhood many of us call home,” said Architect Bjarke Ingels. “Working closely with DBP, WXY and the wider local community, we look forward to exploring how we can contribute to the neighborhood’s public realm, reclaim the spaces between the buildings and create a lively, engaging and green environment for everyone to enjoy.”
The WXY and BIG team as a whole is dedicated to excellence in both design and execution, bringing thoughtful and engaged approaches to all project collaborations. The diverse composition of the respective firms also means that they have the agility and capacity to develop resourceful and often unconventional solutions to complex problems.
WXY and BIG will bring their extensive placemaking expertise and multidisciplinary talents to tackle the range of challenges facing Downtown Brooklyn’s public realm. Sam Schwartz will serve as transportation consultant, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture brings their landscape and maintenance expertise, and VJ Associates (VJA) will provide cost estimating.
Over the next nine months, the WXY and BIG team will work with public and private stakeholders to analyze existing conditions, create a cohesive vision and urban design framework, and develop an action plan that includes implementation and maintenance strategies and design schematics for immediate, short– and long–term public realm interventions for Downtown Brooklyn.
A successful Action Plan will offer visionary, holistic, and clear solutions to improve the public realm, while at the same time, building in a range of potential intervention points for a variety of places and spaces over the next decade. The project has three main goals:
- Create a vibrant Downtown experience emblematic of Brooklyn’s unique culture;
- Establish a sense of place and enhance critical neighborhood infrastructure to support the
increase in numbers of new residents, businesses, and workers; and
- Develop a phased implementation strategy and a maintenance plan that considers full lifecycle
costs and benefits and ensures cost–effectiveness and compatibility with prevailing New York
City practices and procedures.
This study will focus on Downtown Brooklyn core, including key areas below bounded by Court Street to the west, Myrtle Avenue to the north, Ashland Place to the east, and Atlantic Avenue to the south.