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New Plan Will Make Downtown Brooklyn a Livable 'National Urban Center’

The plan will include long-term improvements to Downtown Brooklyn’s public spaces to help them keep up with the neighborhood's growth
300 Ashland, BK Reader
Photo courtesy Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has selected a proposal from design firms WXY Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group/ BIG Architects to develop a public realm action plan that will implement long-term improvements to Downtown Brooklyn public spaces in response to the neighborhood's ongoing growth.

The two firms will conduct a comprehensive study and implementation plan for the area which to advance Downtown Brooklyn as a competitive, national urban center, the organization announced.

According to the DBP, the neighborhood has faced unprecedented growth since its 2004 rezoning, which has transformed the area into a 24-hour mixed-use community with new demands on streets, sidewalks, transit infrastructure and public spaces. The solutions detailed in the plan will reflect both the neighborhood's growing prominence in the city's and the nation's economy and the varied needs of its residents, workforce, businesses and visitors.

"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," said Regina Myer, president of the DBP. "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."

Over the next nine months, the WXY and BIG team will work with public and private stakeholders to analyze existing conditions and create a cohesive vision and urban design framework.

"The 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," DBP stated.

The project has three main goals: Create a vibrant Downtown experience emblematic of Brooklyn's culture; enhance neighborhood infrastructure to support the increase of new residents, businesses and workers; and develop a phased, cost-effective implementation strategy and a maintenance plan.

"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," said Architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG Architects.

The study will focus on the core area of Downtown Brooklyn, 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.


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