By the City / For the City: By the Issues
Over the course of four weeks, New Yorkers shared 483 ideas (and counting) for improving their city through the Institute for Urban Design’s first-ever By the City / For the City crowdsourcing project. We were thrilled to see the ingenuity and thoughtfulness people brought to the question, and now it’s time for designers from around the world to respond to the challenge: We’re asking architects, planners, students, and other urbanists to choose an idea from the hundreds submitted and respond with a brief proposal.
In getting ready to launch the competition, we’ve been nose-deep in data, and we thought we’d share some of our findings with you. The analysis is by no means a scientific, but some clear trends emerged, and they can tell us some interesting things about how New Yorkers think of their city—and what design can do to improve it. Read more about what people were most interested in, after the jump.
Of the 17 different (non-exclusive) categories added to ideas by the IfUD once they had been submitted, the most commonly-used were Transportation (32.5%) and Streetscapes (27.7%). In fact, just over half (51.3%) of all submitted ideas were categorized in as dealing with one of these two issues, indicating that getting around more quickly and easily is at the front of New Yorkers’ minds.
Green Space came in at #3 (23.6%) and Culture/Public Art was close behind at #4 (20.9%), while Retail/Commerce was issue #6 (16.1%), and Recreation #7 (15.7%). Of all submitted ideas, 54.2% had something to do with art, parks, shopping, or other ways of enjoying the city. In fact, the word “enjoy” popped up 94 times making it one of the most popular active verbs by far.
The nebulous “Other” took the #5 slot with 17.8%. To shed a bit of light here, we took a closer look at these ideas and found some interesting commonalities. First, ideas categorized as Other were 15% more likely to be labeled Citywide issues (note: scale categories were the only ones selected by the ideas’ submitters). They were also 44% more likely to be related to Culture/Public Art—and 28% less likely to be related to Transportation, the top issue in the overall results.
Rounding out the top ten issues were Safety/Health (15.5%), Waste/Sanitation (8.9%), and Waterfront (8.7%). All of this seems pretty straightforward, but compare the top issues to the ones that piqued the least interest: Housing, Energy, and Industry, which garnered a mere 23, 18, and 7 ideas, respectively. These are hardly issues that are low on the average New Yorker’s list of concerns, which begs the question: when you ask New Yorkers how they would “design a better city” and they don’t have much to say about housing, energy, and manufacturing jobs, what does that tell you about what New Yorkers think design is and isn’t capable of addressing? Food for thought.
Make sure to check back tomorrow, when we’ll take a look at how people thought about scale, and how the five boroughs stacked up against each other in the results.
Click here to register for the By the City / For the City design competition today! Entries are due by midnight (EST) on Thursday, July 14th, 2011. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!