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Neighborhoods Now:
Bed-Stuy Gateway BID

Modular planting system designed to be incorporated into outdoor seating to encourage social distancing. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Stepped seating system adapting to varying heights. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
12" vinyl graphics designed to clearly communicate ideas of safety and community. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Vinyl graphics applied to outdoor seating arrangement. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Signage communicating safety protocols for restaurants and retail. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Signage system for Solano Optical Boutique. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Barrier system for Platinum Cuts barber shop. Courtesy: Moody Nolan
Plan for encouraging social-distancing within barber shop. Courtesy: Moody Nolan

In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, and Washington Heights, these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.

The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.

Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.

Working Group

The Bed-Stuy Gateway BID identified the following priorities:

  • COVID-19 education and awareness
  • Reopening strategies for local businesses
  • Amplification of meaningful artistic voices within the community
  • Play areas for children’s activities
  • Comfortable, shaded, and safe places for outdoor respite

Focusing on Bed-Stuy’s Marcy Plaza, the working group envisions an actively inclusive plaza which provides a sense of attachment, belonging, and emotional investment for residents. In their proposal, Marcy Plaza would become a hub for socially distanced activities including an outdoor art gallery amplifying local artists, podium-style seating for outdoor events, and a pop-up playground with swings and a library. Signage and environmental graphics also celebrate individual businesses while encouraging safety for business owners and customers, while planters and graphics also encourage healthy social distancing measures.

In the short-term, the Gateway BID working group is now implementing hand sanitizer stations in public spaces and at entrances to businesses. In collaboration with Alloy and law firm Fried Frank, the working group also organized a mediation between landlords and small businesses owners to aid with lease negotiations.

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Bed-Stuy Now: Presentation of Concepts for the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.