As advertised, NYU president John Sexton, Manhattan beep Scott Stringer and a coterie of Greenwich Village politicians and activists held a press conference today to announce the principles that NYU will supposedly follow while the school pursues a six-million-square-foot expansion over the next couple of decades. The principles, per the press release, "are designed to emphasize contextual development, mitigate the effects of construction, enhance community consultation, and support community sustainability, such as preservation efforts aimed local retail businesses." That's right, NYU: Don't you touch our Sixth Avenue sex shops! The key points, which Scott Stringer referred to as "historic 'town gown' principles," have been floating around for a while (re-use of existing buildings before developing new ones, looking at spots outside of the Washington Square area), but now the whole shebang is out there.
Establish criteria for development within the existing NYU footprint in the University's campus core and the surrounding neighborhoods that would prioritize 1) Identifying opportunities to decentralize facilities and actively pursuing these opportunities;
2) Contextual development that is sensitive to building heights, densities and materials;
3) Reuse before new development; and
4) Consider mixed use facilities that complement Manhattan's mixed neighborhoods, particularly in regard to ground floor uses.
Identify solutions to maximize utilization of existing assets by consulting with the community on:
1) The types of facilities that can be decentralized from the Village campus core and surrounding neighborhoods and cultivating locations outside these areas;
2) Preferences for appropriate places for vertical additions;
3) Encouraging programmatic and scheduling efficiencies; and
4) Opening new and re-envisioning existing recreational spaces to better serve both the student population as well as the community at large.
Make thoughtful urban and architectural design a priority by:
1) Respecting the limitations of the urban environment, including the impact on New York City's infrastructure;
2) Improving the quality of open spaces; and
3) Actively soliciting, utilizing and implementing input from the community in the design process.
Support community sustainability by:
1) Preserving existing diverse social and economic character through the support of community efforts to sustain affordable housing and local retail;
2) Exploring the utilization of ground floors of buildings for community-oriented uses such as local retail, gallery spaces for local artists, non-profit users and other providers of community services; and
3) Generating a tenant relocation policy for legal, residential tenants, in the event that construction or conversion necessitates the relocation of tenants.
Respect the community's existing quality of life including but not limited to:
1) Taking measures to mitigate effects of construction such as: noise, dust, work hours; sound mitigation for mechanical equipment; and construction staging;
2) Reaching out early and often for community consultation related to major construction;
3) Creating a website for ongoing constructions; and
4) Committing to a community-oriented public process for reviewing NYU's proposed projects and developments.