The Bloomberg administration has certainly not been tone deaf to place-making during the last dozen years, transforming many city parks, waterfronts and plazas, and embracing sustainable design. But its plan for East Midtown fails to recognize a fundamental paradigm shift. The focus in designing cities has now turned from buildings to the spaces between those buildings — sidewalks, plazas, parks — whose disposition requires planning.Harvard concurs in its IMP:
Successful plazas support a wide variety of activities including temporary markets, art installations, or performancesBut the IMP has precious few specifics about how this might happen. The word "sculpture" is nowhere to be found. The word "art" is barely mentioned. In the 6 pages dedicated to the Charlesview Grove, there is no mention of a budget. Plans to install art do not exist. Instead, Harvard offers this:
"During the period in which the former Charlesview Apartments undergo demolition, toHarvard's "gateway" building isn't planned until 2020 at the earliest. Here is what Harvard proposes the area will look like until then. It will be nice to have the existing chain link fence removed, but this seems to fall far short of the award-winning public space that it could be.
the extent consistent with health and safety, Harvard will make portions of the grove fully
accessible to the public, with provision for internal walkways and seating areas." (page 124)