After nearly a year of research, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and WXY Studio have unveiled their visions for improving Downtown Brooklyn — a 370-acre urban district with updated streetscapes, plazas, and public spaces. Commissioned by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Vision includes a comprehensive study of the urban district’s existing conditions as well as a bold, long-term design vision for making the area more inclusive, inviting, and safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

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a rendered illustration of a park with three yellow rings forming a kind of tunnel

The Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Vision was created in response to Downtown Brooklyn’s unprecedented growth over the last fifteen years since its 2004 rezoning. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership tapped WXY Studio and BIG, who worked in collaboration with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Sam Schwartz Engineering, to create a comprehensive study and implementation plan. This plan is intended to help unify the growing mixed-use area and meet the needs of the diverse community, which is expected to welcome 50,000 additional residents by 2025.

a map showing improved crossings, demapped streets, shared streets or increased pedestrian space, sidewalk expansions and raised crossings

“The Plan draws upon the District’s existing conditions, systems, land uses and policies to create a bold design vision that is uniquely Brooklyn, provides a greener, safer pedestrian and bicycle experience, and unlocks projects, initiatives and pilots for a more vibrant public realm,” BIG explained in a project statement. “Downtown Brooklyn Public realm is re-animated into a playful environment largely focused on the pedestrian experience. A place where residents, workers and visitors can enjoy gathering outdoors, practice sports and celebrate the diverse culture of Downtown Brooklyn.”

Related: Reclaimed NYC water towers are upcycled into a NEST playscape in Brooklyn

a birds-eye view of a blue walkway with yellow structures that hold plants

To visually unify the updated streetscapes, the architects have proposed a distinct yellow-orange color palette for the mixed-use area that will be applied to the bike paths, street furniture, and planters. Greenery and public art have also been woven throughout the pedestrian-friendly design.


+ WXY Studio

Images via BIG