More Green Less Concerte in NYC?


James Wines (Nicosia Smith photo)

James Wines (Nicosia Smith photo)

By Nicosia Smith

It is difficult to get your head wrap around the idea.

Just the thought of less concerte in NYC, is a risk to capital flight.

Nevertheless, Design Mind Michael Sorkin and Architect James Wines took a swipe at it anyway.

In a pack room at the Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, NYC, Sorkin and Wines, spell out ways we might become greener.

Sorkin showed designs of sky-scraper like buildings that included vegetable farms. Rooftops and window sills with tomatoes and vegetables.

Principal Michael Sorkin  of Michael Sorkin Studio in discussion at The Greene Space, NY. (Nicosia Smith photo)

Principal Michael Sorkin of Michael Sorkin Studio in discussion at The Greene Space, NY. (Nicosia Smith photo)

But as Sorkin proposed these fanciful ideas, he also shot them down. The main problem, energy.

For example, he estimated it will take 25 nuclear power plants to maintain vertical farms in NYC.

There would be smaller streets and yes these sky-high farms will block the little sunshine we do have.

So Sorkin believes, we will have to rethink urban architecture, altogether, to go green.

Wines agrees and says the “lollypop”  trees around city streets will not cut it.

He will like to see real thought go into urban architecture, like those of old Venice, France and Rome.

Where design and nature brought people together.


File:Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy 2 - May 2007.jpg

(Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy)

Wines basically called our concrete slabs for benches at parks and recreation places lacking imagination.

Unlike those outdoor places of old Europe where he said, “someone apply real imagination to the seating.”

Our outdoor spaces do not engage the mind, touch, light, sound and intellect, he said. And to achieve  this it would mean including nature in some form.

Hence becoming greener.

In an environment that craves the synthetic feel above natural and real, this would be very difficult. Nevertheless,  it can be done with a little financial push.

And the big question is, how do we get corporations involve, to promote something like this.

It does boil down to dollars and cents, sadly.

Sorkin, is a principal of Michael Sorkin Studio in NY and Wines, founder president of SITE, an architectural studio.

Cooper-Hewitt’s Director Caroline Baumann moderated this Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum sponsored event.

In the meantime, however, let us try to grow bigger trees.



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