Students will receive a lesson in urban design with Off the Grid: Tours and Talks on New York City’s New Public Spaces, a series of events organized by the Gallatin Design Collective, which will look more closely at public urban spaces.
The idea behind Off the Grid, which kicks off April 17, began when Gallatin junior Michael Ryan started working at the High Line.
“As I was walking the High Line and thinking about Hudson Yards and the Lowline, I started recognizing this trend of new public spaces and their aversion to Manhattan’s famous street grid,” Ryan said. “And Off the Grid was born.”
The events will try to focus students’ attention on public space issues and the urban designs that shaped New York City.
“We wanted to create a program in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study that really highlighted the growing urban design community in the school,” Tisch senior Melissa Russell said. “And [we] wanted to give students the chance to learn more about these exciting development projects that are happening around the city.”
Events include P.O.P.S. Potluck, The Big Walk, Talking About the Lowline and Talking with Thomas Woltz.
P.O.P.S. Potluck involves a picnic in the Trump Tower lobby while learning about privately owned public spaces such as Zucotti Park. The Big Walk includes a stroll around Roosevelt Island, and Talking about the Lowline will focus on the planning and designing of the Lowline.
Finally, Talking with Thomas Woltz, owner of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, will allow students to discuss landscaping in public spaces.
“They will be servicing large numbers of people and have the potential to really transform the feeling of the city,” Russell said. “Trump Tower is a unique public space because it’s a great meeting of perceived exclusivity and total accessibility.”
The Big Walk has been an event at NYU for the past three years, but this is the first year it is collaborating with Off the Grid.
People who participate in The Big Walk will meet a member of the Four Freedoms Park team, an urban designer who works on shoreline resilience, an architect who is an expert on the automated vacuum assisted collection system and Roosevelt Island Historical Society executive director Gina Pollara.
“Off the Grid is an opportunity to highlight just how many students at Gallatin are thinking about urban spaces,” Ryan said. “Whether you’re an activist, designer, user or policy maker, these trends in public design matter.”
All events will be open to the public by R.S.V.P. Students who are not in Gallatin and want to participate in The Big Walk are asked to donate $20.
A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2013 print edition. Neela Qadir is a deputy university editor. Tatiana Baez is university editor. Email them at [email protected]