January 26, 2015 Leave a comment
Deadline for submissions: 30 March 2015
Special Issue: Corruption
Editor: Adam Jasper
To be published August 2015
The New York City 1916 Zoning Resolution was designed in order to ensure light reached the streets of Manhattan. It dictated massing at certain heights in a way that shaped the signature New York skyscraper up until the Second World War. In 1961, the successful example of the 1958 Seagram Plaza lead city authorities to rewrite the laws to encourage developers to create public places in exchange for extra height, and the form of the skyscraper changed again. Inside the building, the appearance and materials of office furniture also transformed in response to accelerations in tax depreciation. The privately owned public spaces that Seagram Plaza engendered include Zuccotti Park, that—thanks to ambiguities regarding police responsibilities—became the site of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests. According to the New York Times, in 2012 the Seagram Building had the lowest energy star rating of any structure in New York (at three out of a hundred), making it now illegal to build. Rules, whether adhered to or circumvented, shape cities.