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Urban Planners Agree: New York in 2030 Will Suck

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Planning to stick around town for the next 23 years? You might want to reconsider ... Apparently the New York of 2030 — the major American city at the second-greatest risk of catastrophic hurricane damage after Miami, by the way — will be facing a homelessness epidemic, more Miss Brooklyn–esque way-out-of-scale enormous buildings over rail yards, a major shortage of engineers qualified to construct such things, and a war between the union and nonunion laborers who build them. These were the lessons of last night's NYC 2030 planning meeting, which opened with a cheery presentation by Bloomberg's sustainability czar, Rohit Aggarwala, who has the task of preparing a 2030 blueprint by March, and had come to urban-planning experts for volunteer brainstorming. It turned out to be presumably not the brainstorming he was hoping for.

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Group Wants to Shape Up New Yorkers, New York

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The Public Health Association of New York City has a new report out, and it's a jaw-dropper. The problem it identifies — only one quarter of us get enough physical activity — is not all that newsworthy; we already knew that New Yorkers, once you get past yoga-crazed downtowners and the Chelsea iron-pumping contingent, are not exactly gym bunnies. What's staggering about the PHANYC report, titled "Steps to Get New Yorkers Moving," is the sheer scope of its remedy suggestions. The Association offers nothing less than a total reengineering of the city under the fitness flag. Proposals start with the obvious (more bicycle routes), proceed to the novel ("enable parks to directly benefit from the property value and property tax increases they generate"), and finally hit the full, glorious WTF. Apparently PHANYC wants the city to build "step streets" in its hilly parts, line the avenues with trees to make them more inviting for joggers, institute diagonal parking because it's more pedestrian-friendly, adopt European traffic-calming measures, close certain streets to vehicles, and reduce speed limits. It's not that we think these things are bad ideas, necessarily; it's just that the plan seems a bit aggressive. What's next, trying to ban all bad fats from our diets? Oh, wait. Agenda for a Healthy New York [PHANYC]

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