MICHAEL SORKIN: Sidewalks of New York 2

A day or so after the posting of his “sidewalk manifesto” (as I, not he, calls it) Michael Sorkin sent along the images shown below, requesting that I simply add them to the original post containing only his text. I felt uncomfortable doing this, and will try to explain why.

The text attracted me because it immediately sparked my imagination. The words alone offered many possible interpretations. It is this range of design implications that validate the concepts’ place in the idea of a better, more egalitarian New York, making them worthy of being written into law.

However, when I received the renderings of the specific design proposals of the Michael Sorkin Studio that implement the text’s concepts, the potential of the text to serve egalitarian or democratic purposes was diminished. Indeed, appearing next to these design images, the text can be read as only an argument for these particular designs, and not as broad statements of principle.

For me, the text “manifesto” and the designs are both worthy of our attention and critical evaluation. The only solution to presenting them without compromise to either text or designs, is to post the design images separately, allowing the blog’s readers to relate them as they choose.


(above) Amsterdam Avenue.

(above) 147th Street, Harlem.

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