Embedding Design in City Making

Robin Finn profiles Alexandros E. Washburn, head of the urban design division of the New York City Department of City Planning, and the work of his team, which has been responsible for "turning projects into places that people want to be."

One of the primary accomplishments of Amanda Burden's tenure as commissioner of New York's Department of City Planning has been a renewed focus on design detail and the public sphere in the work that is born out of, and reviewed by, her department. Since re-establishing the department's urban design division in 2007, the lieutenant responsible for enhancing design throughout New York City has been Alex Washburn.   

"The primary responsibility of Mr. Washburn's group - a cadre of specialists who supply the Department of City Planning with pictorial renderings of the way proposed developments will enhance, or diminish, pre-existing neighborhoods - is making the civic cityscape, streets included, a more palatable place, with space for pedestrians to ambulate, explore and, when the site is right, linger," writes Finn. 

"Alex and his team have integrated design into city-making," says Burden. "On the streets, design detail means everything. The team studies what makes great places: the width of the sidewalk, the spacing of street trees, the diversity of retail - and they integrate these details into our plans, turning projects into places that people want to be." 


Full Story: What Design Brings to the Table


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95

NEW! City Map Posters

Available in 9 different cities.