Imagining and Exploring Better Ways to Get Around NYC

The Van Alen Institute’s FLOW! festival features a range of talks and activities to help designers, urbanists, and New Yorkers of all stripes find new ways of navigating New York.

(photo by Billie Ward)
(all images courtesy the Van Alen Institute; photo by Billie Ward)

There’s no greater equalizer among the world’s billions of city-dwellers than the eternal struggle to navigate the particular structural challenges of your given metropolis. New Yorkers are intimately aware of this, from the rapidly deteriorating subway system and multiplying bike lanes, to the resurgent fleet of ferries churning along the city’s waterways. These unique (and not-so-unique) issues are the focus of the Van Alen Institute’s upcoming festival, FLOW! Getting Around the Changing City, which will combine conventional discussions with urban journeys; like exploring Brooklyn by way of its bike lanes, or pondering the extremes of affluence and poverty along the route of the M101 bus line.

(photo by Robin Schatell)
(photo by Robin Schatell)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two of the festival’s programs revolve around one of New York’s most-discussed mass transit disasters, which the MTA has seen coming for years yet seems powerless to adequately address: the shutdown of the L train in 2019. On June 17, participants will be challenged to get from Union Square to Williamsburg by any other means than the L, with a debriefing session at a North Brooklyn bar to discuss the advantages and the handicaps of various routes; and on June 22, a one-night design competition on the Lower East Side will seek to imagine safe and efficient ways to get drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and the 70 shuttle buses per hour the MTA plans to put into service across the Williamsburg Bridge.

When: June 17–23
Where: The Van Alen Institute (30 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) and various other locations

(photo by Robin Schatell)
(photo by Robin Schatell)

More info at the Van Alen Institute.

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