The Continuous City

Paul Whalen
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City

A high-density urban habitat must engage the public in a walkable setting that unfolds as a coherent but multifaceted experience. In our work at a variety of scales we look to the most admired places in the best cities worldwide and combine their most successful features with local and regional traditions. This presentation outlined strategies we have developed to create compelling navigable social environments. An urban community is not just about sweeping planning gestures, but is dependent upon the fine-grain pedestrian experience, creating lively streets to encourage walking and human interaction. For inspiration we looked to New York City as a case study, where high-rises define broad avenues, smaller-scale buildings line side streets, and a mix of uses are tied together by related architectural vocabularies at a variety of scales. We applied these learned principles to high-density neighborhoods with a high proportion of tall buildings, which we believe represent the future of urbanism worldwide.

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