bjarke ingels group and WXY unveil plans to pedestrianize downtown brooklyn

bjarke ingels group and WXY unveil plans to pedestrianize downtown brooklyn

bjarke ingels group (BIG), working alongside WXY architecture, has revealed conceptual plans to overhaul brooklyn’s downtown core with public realm, streetscape, and green infrastructure improvements. largely focused on the pedestrian experience, the vision has been described as a ‘playful environment’ where residents, workers, and visitors can congregate and enjoy being outdoors. the project draws upon the district’s existing condition to propose settings that seek to be greener and safer for both pedestrians and cyclists.

all images by bjarke ingels group



to develop the proposal, BIG and WXY worked closely with downtown brooklyn partnership — a non-profit organization. geared around establishing a sense of place and identity, the action plan seeks to find solutions for the site’s existing issues, which include disorienting street grid connections, inactive streets at night, congestion, gaps in the bike network, and a lack of green and open spaces.



the plan’s recommendations include pedestrianizing downtown brooklyn’s core by reducing vehicular access and reorienting streets to prioritize foot traffic. this would also involve the creation of safer pedestrian crossings. the amount of bike lanes would also be increased, while the implementation of one-way bus traffic on fulton street is designed to improve the efficiency of public transport.



the addition of new parks and plazas would be complemented by the redesign of the site’s existing spaces, which the plan says are currently underperforming. from a environmental perceptive, the new district would mitigate rainwater runoff and the urban heat island effect by adding approximately four miles of new green infrastructure and 230% increased permeability, with a variety of planting options, bioswales, and more than 900 new trees.



finally, the installation of street furniture design elements, plantings, and lighting seeks to create an engaging and captivating environment for pedestrians. ‘brooklynites can enjoy a cohesive streetscape experience, one with improved walkability, pedestrian and cyclist safety, double the greenery and new art beacons,’ says bjarke ingels, BIG’s founding partner and creative director.



project info:


name: downtown brooklyn public realm vision
location: brooklyn, NY
program: urbanism
status: in progress
size: 370 acres
project type: commission
client: downtown brooklyn partnership


bjarke ingels group / BIG project team —
partners-in-charge: bjarke ingels, martin voelkle
project leaders: kate cella, giulia frittoli
team: morgan mangelsen, sijia zhou, fernando longhi, jamie maslyn larson, manon otto, melissa jones, benson chien, paul clemens bart, mo li, tracey sodder, terrence chew


collaborators: WXY (urban planning), MNLA (landscape architecture), sam schwartz engineering (transportation)

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