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Curbed Awards '12: Adventures in Urban Planning

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It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the Ninth Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: urban planning.

Best Plan To Get People to Go to Staten Island
Everyone pretty much lost it when Bloomberg announced his plans to bring the world's largest observation wheel to Staten Island. Not only do the plans call for a 625-foot-tall ferris wheel, but they also include a 350,000-square-foot outlet mall and 200-room hotel designed by SHoP Architects. All right next door to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Most Outlandish Urban Plan of the Future
We've seen a lot of crazy ideas for SPURA, but the fake ski slope/mountain adventure land definitely takes the cake. The designer, architect Ju-Hyun Kim, was trying to create a place that's "a new attraction, some new shock and awe, but one that's sustainable."

Best Plan to Make NYC Bigger
The Bloomberg administration is moving full stream ahead with the proposed Midtown East Rezoning, which would allow for a shitload of new skyscrapers to be built around Grand Central. The zoning isn't approved yet, but at least one developer is already designing a tower to according to the upzoning?SL Green's plans for One Vanderbilt will not be feasible unless the rezoning happens.

Best Plan to Make Our Apartments Smaller
While our buildings may be getting taller, our apartments are definitely getting smaller. Bloomberg launched the adAPT NYC competition to design a building at 335 East 27th Street where the "micro-apartments" will average 275 to 300-square-feet. And apparently a lot of developers want the job: 33 firms submitted plans.

Most Hyped Project That Might Not Even Happen
Ever since Dan Barasch and James Ramsey announced their idea for the Lowline, the underground park has been a constant topic of conversation in New York City?nevermind the fact that it's no where near becoming a reality. This year, the team raised a crapload of money, created sunlight filtration devices, and built a mini repilca of the park in a LES warehouse. Everybody seems to really like the idea, but the MTA still has to get on board, and there's just that tiny detail of whether or not it's actually plausible.

Over-Achiever Award of the Year
Ever the Ivy Leaguer, Cornell decided that building 300,000-square-feet of its Roosevelt Island tech campus by 2017 just wasn't good enough. The school instead announced plans to build more than twice what's required. So CornellTech NYC will have 790,000-square-feet of academic buildings by 2017. Oh, they also tapped starchitect Thom Mayne to design the first building. Well, la dee dah.

Getting Its Act Together Award
Roosevelt Island really came into its own this year. New restaurants and shops opened along main street, Cornell is moving forward with its tech campus, and Four Freedoms FDR Memorial Park finally opened, after 40 years.

Our annual award to SPURA actually has merit this year considering that City Council finally approved plans for the area's redevelopment. It only took 50 years, but now proposals to transform the empty parcels are due in January. The 1.65 million-square-foot project will have 1,000 residential units, a 15,000-square-foot public open space, and a new 30,000-square-foot Essex Market, with an overall split of 60 percent residential space to 40 percent commercial space for the entire project.

Revenge of the Megaprojects
4) Chelsea Market: Much to the chagrin of many Chelsea-ites, City Council unanimously approved Jamestown Properties plans to expand Chelsea Market. Borough president Scott Stringer said the plan should be vetoed, planning commissioner Amanda Burden was concerned about how it "effects the High Line experience," and locals think its ruining the neighborhood.
3) Hudson Yards: Manhattan's next great neighborhood finally broke ground on the west side, and it's set to bring a handful of new skyscrapers to the city. It's also spurred the 7 train extension and a bunch of other developments in the neighborhood.
2) Atlantic Yards: With the Barclays Center completion, Bruce Ratner can move onto the second part of his controversial project: the Atlantic Yards' residential towers. Ratner added to the controversy by decided to build the first tower using modular construction. It broke ground last week.
1) New York University: And the award for the Most Vengeful Megaproject goes to, surprise surprises, NYU's superblock that will bring approximately 1 bajillion square feet of new buildings to Greenwich Village. There are a lot of memorable moments in this heated debated, but our favorite, no doubt, was when Council speaker Christine Quinn kicked everybody out of the City Council hearing because some old guy yelled "YOU should leave!"

Award for Continued Success
The High Line broke ground on its third and final phase, which means our "High Line Construction Chronicles" tag will be coming to an end in 2014. The new section will wrap around the rail yards, giving park-goers a great view of Hudson Yards construction.

Mission Accomplished Award
Are you tired of hearing about the Barclays Center yet? We are. But alas, it is the most deserving of this year's Mission Accomplished Award because it finally opened its doors. It was a wild nine-year ride of fights, protests, and delays, but Bruce Ratner did it. We look forward to many more years of Barclays trying (or really not trying at all) to be a good neighbor.
· Curbed Awards 2012 [Curbed]