A log about land use and transportation that is updated . . . from time to time
Other Webspaces -
N.Y. Metro Transportation Advocacy
Auto-Free New York
Bridge Tolls Advocacy Project
Car Free Bedford Avenue
Citywide Coalition for Traffic Relief
"Mobilizing the Region"
Move NY & NJ
New York Public Transit Association
Right of Way
Save Mass Transit Coalition
Straphangers' Campaign
Time's Up!
Transportation Alternatives
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Vision 42

National Transportation Advocacy
American Passenger Rail Coalition
American Public Transportation Assoc.
Coalition for Appropriate Transportation
Daily rail news clippings from UTU
League of American Bicyclists
National Assoc. of Railroad Passengers

Academia & Smart Growth
Center for an Urban Future
Center for Urban Policy Research
Columbia University Urban Planning
Congress for the New Urbanism
Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
Planners Network
Professor Donald Shoup
Professor Vukan R. Vuchic
Regional Plan Association
Rudin Center
Smart Growth Online

Access for All
Asphalt Nation
The Death & Life of Great American Cities
Downtown: It's Rise and Fall: 1880-1950
The Geography of Nowhere
Suburban Nation
Transportation for Livable Cities

NYC Planning & Development
Bronx Overall E.D.C.
Dept. of City Planning
Citizen's Housing & Planning Council
Empire State Development Corp.
Enterprise Foundation
LISC-New York
Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
NYC Dept. of City Planning
NYC Dept. of Parks & Rec.
NYC Economic Development Corp.
NYC Housing Development Corp.
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
N.Y. Industrial Retention Network
N.Y. Metro Transportation Council
Partnership for New York
Project for Public Spaces
Sustainable South Bronx
United Nations Development Corp.
Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone

U.S. Rail Service Providers
American Orient Express

Alaska Railroad
Altamont Commuter Express
The Coaster
Long Island Rail Road
MBTA Commuter Rail
Metro-North Railroad
New Jersey Transit
Shore Line East
South Shore Line
Syracuse OnTrack
Trinity Railway Express
Virginia Railway Express

Web www.startsandfits.com
Sunday, December 10, 2006
The scaffolding is off at Fultonhaus, 119 Fulton Street at Dutch Street in Lower Manhattan's Financial District. This is an example of what might be called small-scale upfill development, and it embodies many principles that Jane Jacobs described as being beneficial for a city neighborhood.

Here the developer added six stories to an 87-year-old building, nearly doubling it size while converting the lower floors from obsolete commercial space into condominium apartments. The history of the building itself shows the versatility of a simple lowrise structure, part of a row of buildings that edge right up to the streetwall. According to the Department of Buildings BIS website, it was built as a factory and warehouse in 1919 and converted into retail showrooms in 1967. Now it is being transformed again, into residences. The benefits, or "wins" from this latest conversion are many.

Win 1: This building helps densify an already dense transit core of the city, encouraging people to travel via the nearby subway rather than sprawling outward into auto-dependent suburbs. There will be 19 apartments in this building. That represents an entire cul-de-sac's worth of farmland or forest saved from the bulldozer!

Win 2: This building will bring more residents to a business district after hours, giving it more of a 24-hour daily lifecycle, which subtly enhances safety to the neighborhood and rewards local business owners for locating downtown. As important as these two wins are, they stem from any form of downtown residential development. What makes this building particularly special is its relative small scale.

Win 3: The project exemplifies Jacobs' concept of "gradual money." I have no idea how much money the conversion of and addition to this building cost. It might have been quite a lot. But it is not as much as if they tore down a number of similar-sized buildings, consolidated the lots and built a much bigger building. Jacobs wrote of the need to supply neighborhoods with a continual supply of investment, a trickle of money as opposed to an occasional bucket-load of "cataclysmic money" that often resulted in the disastrous tearing down of many buildings to put up one, as was done in the "urban renewal" years of public housing projects. The result of small-scale rehabilitation and construction is what Jacobs termed a healthy city neighborhood, an "ever-normal granary" that is forever rejuvenating itself:
All city building that retains staying power after its novelty has gone, and that preserves the freedom of the streets and upholds citizens' self-management, requires that its locality be able to adapt, keep up to date, keep interesting, keep convenient, and this in turn requires a myriad of gradual, constant, close-grained changes.
Win 4: Historic architecture preserved. Even without consolidating lots, the developer here could have torn down the existing building and built a new all-glass one with economies of scale. But here, he chose to retain the old building, with its beautiful masonry architecture, which reinforces the historic urban fabric rather than obliterating it.

It is great to see such positive development taking place in the heart of the city.
- Posted at 2:16 PM | Permalink | Comments: 1 | Post a Comment |  


I completely agree. To be honest, I never had the chance to read Jane Jacobs' book, but the benefits you're listing are right on - in some ways, this is plain common sense. So strange that developers and people in office are often blinded by the potential returns, never thinking (or not giving enough weight to their thoughts) from a neighborhood perspective.

By Slavito, at 7/14/2007 6:04 PM  

About S&F

  • Lively neighborhoods.
  • Infill development.
  • Auto independence.
    Starts and Fits is published in New York City by Aaron Donovan. For more information or to obtain an rss feed, see About.

    S&F Special Feature
    "; ?>
    Hardenbergh Tribute

    Favorite Posts On …
    Charlotte Street
    St. John the Divine
    East 96th Street
    Gramercy Park
    70 Pine Street
    The Brooklyn Bridge
    My Bike
    20 West 40th Street
    DUMBO Gentrification
    Manhattan Gas Stations
    Yankee Stadium
    Bronx Housing Boom

    S&F Archives
    December 2004
    January 2005
    February 2005
    March 2005
    April 2005
    May 2005
    June 2005
    July 2005
    August 2005
    September 2005
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    January 2006
    February 2006
    March 2006
    April 2006
    May 2006
    June 2006
    July 2006
    August 2006
    September 2006
    November 2006
    December 2006
    January 2007
    May 2007

    Planning & Urbanism
    City Journal
    City Limits
    Gotham Gazette
    Municipal Art Society
    The Next American City

    Aaron Naparstek
    Bagel in Harlem
    Big Cities Big Boxes
    Bird to the North
    The Box Tank
    Hot in Harlem
    J. H. Kunstler
    J. P. Reardon
    Land + Living
    Metro-North Commuter Miss Representation
    The Oil Drum (NYC)
    On NY Turf
    Save Our Parks
    Transit Talk
    Triple Mint
    Urban Cartography
    Veritas et Venustas

    A Great Place