MM CaLL Partnership

MM CaLL Partnership



Mary Miss / City as Living Laboratory BROADWAY: 1000 Steps is an initiative to establish Broadway as the new “green corridor” of New York City where current and planned sustainability initiatives, such as those outlined in the City’s PlaNYC, will be made tangible to its citizens. Twenty “hubs” dispersed along the length of Broadway will serve as sites for collaboration between Mary Miss / City as Living Laboratory (MM/CaLL), artists, research scientists and other experts, municipal policy makers, academic partners, and local community groups.

For more information download the PDF Slideshow

Installations, which are small in scale but aggregate to reveal the vast network of systems vital to a sustainable city, are designed to make sustainability tangible to citizens at street level and catalyze future projects by artists and environmental designers along this corridor. The sense of incremental transformation – of many individual instances working together to create a powerful cumulative effect – is the overarching idea for the project and the basis of its title: 1000 Steps. The central message to be communicated – generated out of a year-long collaboration with a prestigious scientific and community advisory board – is that nature is everywhere and in action at all times, that the city is an urban ecosystem, that an innumerable number of small decisions over time have shaped the environment to be the one we inhabit today, and that our decisions (behavioral choices) impact the future of all of nature.

Watch the photo gallery show on Flickr

BROADWAY: 1000 Steps continues to develop project momentum, having recently been awarded a $250,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) – a grant which supports exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This award allowed for the September 2011 implementation of a “test hub” at 137th Street and Broadway, the development of which was supported by urban design graduate students at City College New York (CCNY), and is supporting ongoing research regarding how art installations can influence the discourses surrounding science and engineering decisions that inform city design.

Building on the success of the “test hub” collaboration with CCNY students, the next chapter of BROADWAY: 1000 Steps will benefit from an Academic Partnership with seven additional regional colleges and universities, including the Architectural College of Boston, Marymount Manhattan College, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Parsons New School of Design, Pennsylvania State University, Pratt Institute, and the University of Virginia.

The Academic Partnership presents an opportunity for design students and students of other disciplines to engage in a collaborative and creative process that can positively influence future environmental design choices. The Academic Partnership’s basic components are as follows:

Research and Information Design: Using parameters established by MM/CaLL and collaborators, students are undertaking research on one or more specific sites along Broadway. This research is addressing a flexible set of themes and directives for the Broadway corridor, as well as the particular cultural and spatial conditions of each site. The goal of the research is to amass a clear and consistent knowledge base of site’s natural and artificial conditions, historic transformations, and current conditions, all of which serve as a basis for action and participation in the design process.

Design: Students will propose ideas, designs, and installations to explicitly reveal and interact with the environmental themes related to the particular sites. As a pedagogical initiative this program supports the expanded role of architectural practice that includes the design of information, the design of community engagement, the design of action and interaction, and the design of more traditional space making programs.

Academic Partners are currently conducting research that will inform hub content, mapping each of the hubs, collecting photos and relevant images, and proposing their own solutions to delivering the project’s central message. Student efforts will be completed by spring of 2012, and content development, design, and testing will be advanced during the summer and fall 2012. The goal of installing a majority of the hubs has been set to take place in spring/summer 2013, and it is expected that hubs will be in place for approximately one year. Throughout th

e remainder of FY2012 and all of FY2013, MM/CaLL will work with its collaborators, partners, and advisors to identify local issues at each hub, research the full breadth of topics related to environment and urban change in that area, and prepare to render the project on-site at the selected hubs in spring/summer 2013.


This website has been made possible through the generous collaboration of Marisa Glick and Sven Travis, Dean of Art, Media and Tech at Parsons The New School for Design

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