Re-Designing New York City: What Are Your Ideas?

An aspiring group of urban re-designers met recently to share ideas at one of the Library’s monthly Socratic conversations on how to improve the quality of life in New York City.  Suggestions covered a gamut of inspiring possibilities — greater sociability and concept of the neighborhood, more green environment, less waste, active citizenry, stronger schools, better medical care, affordable housing, food programs for starving children, recognition of the international community, and less bureaucracy in government.

One participant discussed the value of conversations, such as this one, in contributing to the thought process of the newly-elect DeBlasio administration. All agreed on the importance of grassroots, non-governmental organizations to spur change, democratically for the people.

Another spoke of Nelson Mandela  (whose life and legacy were honored the previous day at Riverside Church), expressing the values for which he stood and their relevance to all levels of government– international, national, state, city — as well as to the community, group, and individual.

Among the books displayed were If Mayors Ruled the World, by Benjamin Barber; Happy City, by Charles Montgomery; Who’s Your City? and The Flight of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida; and City Play, by Amanda Dargan and Steven Zeitlin.

Output in the form of colorful thought bubbles was displayed to stimulate on-going discussion on campus.

This effort was part of the Talking Transition Project, where conversations have been taking place online, in the streets, at libraries throughout the city, and in a big white tent on Canal and Varick streets (now closed).

Stay tuned for the next Socratic conversation to be held on Thursday, January 23rd at 4pm, “From Celebration to Re-Commitment: Responding to Socrates’ Five Questions for the New Year.”