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The Van Alen Institute and New York City Council have announced the winners of the Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge project, an international design competition that aims to spark a public conversation about New York City’s infrastructure. As made even more clear by the Covid-19 pandemic, public spaces, infrastructure and transport must be designed with “equity, health and sustainability at their core”. With this in mind, the winning designs wish to make the bridge’s roadways available for pedestrian and cyclist use. They also seek to centre climate action, social equity and creative expression in order to put forth strategies that improve well-being in public spaces across New York City. The winner of the “Professional” category was the Brooklyn Bridge Forest by a multidisciplinary collective of architects, conservationists, designers and engineers led by Scott Francisco of Pilot Projects Design Collective. The forest is intended to reimagine the bridge as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure. The historic wooden walkway is to be expanded using planks sustainably sourced from a “partner forest”, a community in Guatemala protecting 200,000 acres of rainforest. A new bicycle path and reclaimed traffic lanes will more than triple the space for active and low-carbon transport, with “microforests” at either end of the bridge serving as green spaces.

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