Places like the High Line and Times Square’s pedestrian plaza may seem like they’ve been around forever now, but it was only few years ago that they were just ideas in someone’s mind. The Design Trust for Public Space recently announced four winning concepts from its Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm design competition that could soon come become the next big thing in public spaces in the Big Apple. Read on to learn more about each of these inventive proposals to energize and re-invent spaces in the city.

The first winning Energetic City concept comes from the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation & Development (HPD) and is titled, “Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Retail.” It’s not a very inspiring name but we could see the idea – to tweak HPD’s mixed-use developments to include high-performing ground-floor spaces – adding much-needed color and commerce to more neighborhoods.

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The Queens Museum and Department of Parks & Recreation also won top marks with their FMCP Creative / Reconnect the Park 
plan. The proposal centers around reconnecting surrounding communities to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The first step would be to conduct a pilot study analyzing the park and how people living around it currently use it.

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Over in SI, Staten Island Arts seeks to create value by linking together neighborhoods with public art. Called Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront, the plan would start with the island’s North Shore and showcase local artists.


The last concept may sound like something you’ve thought of yourself every time you pass by an unused patch of fenced in grass in front of an apartment building. Brooklyn artist Jane Greengold hopes to open up inaccessible spaces around NYCHA developments into gathering places for residents and visitors alike.

+ Design Trust for Public Space

Images © Kevin Lee and Design Trust for Public Space