image: OCD The Original Champions of Design hoped to make New York's subway experience better by offering "First Car," a special concierge car for tourists where they could purchase t-shirts and book tours.

image: OCD The Original Champions of Design hoped to make New York's subway experience better by offering "First Car," a special concierge car for tourists where they could purchase t-shirts and book tours.

Maybe it’s that back-to-school feeling that comes with the fall air, but in the last few weeks it has felt like the conversation about cities has exploded. Within the same week in September that ArtPlace announced its groundbreaking grants, The Atlantic launched The Atlantic CITIES, their channel devoted to urbanism; New York’s first-ever Urban Design Week had its opening party at the BMW Guggenheim Lab; and Gary Hustwit’s film Urbanized premiered, bringing its message about the design of cities to a long roster of screening events around the world. The focus on cities has never been more culturally relevant, and the concept of brainstorming new ideas for cities has never been more pressing.

Fittingly, September was a busy month for the team at GOOD Ideas for Cities as we concurrently hosted the last of the GOOD Design events and introduced the exciting new transition for the program with the ArtPlace grant. Two final GOOD Design programs were held, one on each coast, where designers presented their solutions for urban challenges to enthusiastic audiences who joined the conversation afterwards about the future of our cities. In New York, we were hosted as part of the Institute for Urban Design’s Urban Design Week. And in San Francisco, we participated in the closing night event for AIA SF’s month-long Architecture and the City Festival.

In New York, five design teams took the stage at the Museum at Eldridge Street to tackle issues proposed by the public through the By the City/For the City design competition. The Original Champions of Design suggested making MTA wayfinding more transparent with cheeky ways to cater to tourists. Deborah Gans and Linnaea Tillett illuminated the audience with poetic ways to bring light to dark city streets. Marpillero Pollak Architects carved out beautiful modular public spaces beneath dark and dusty elevated trains. Kate Orff of SCAPE proposed urban resting places for not only humans, but ospreys, oysters and ants. And Christopher Fahey of Behavior Design aimed to make walking in the city more pleasurable with an smartphone-enabled audio guide to neighborhood history and trivia. Each design team then engaged in a conversation with representatives from the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Transportation, moderated by GOOD’s Alissa Walker. Afterwards, the audience enthusiastically buzzed about the proposed ideas while they marveled at the recently-renovated space and enjoyed drinks by Brooklyn Brewery. The sold-out event was featured on Fast Company’s design site, Co.Design, and in the Architect’s Newspaper.

The past month was also an exciting time for the new partnership between GOOD and CEOs for Cities. While in New York, GOOD’s Alissa Walker and CEOs for Cities’ Julia Klaiber met to create a roadmap for the next several months. We discussed several pressing issues for the program, from how to choose the five cities to expand to in the next year, to ideas for building out a toolkit to share the process. We’re excited to begin working on the next phase of the program. You can follow along on Twitter at @IdeasforCities. And if you’ve got ideas for bringing GOOD Ideas for Cities to a city near you, contact alissaATgoodincDOTcom.

Top image: Victoria Milne, Director of Creative Services/Active Design, Department of Design and Construction; Neil Gagliardi, Director of Design Review, Department of Transportation; Alissa Walker, GOOD; Christopher Fahey, Behavior Design, at the GOOD Design event in New York
image: OCD The Original Champions of Design hoped to make New York's subway experience better by offering

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