Blank Space has announced that Public Square by FXFOWLE with Sam Schwartz Engineering has been named the winner in the Driverless Future Challenge. The winning project provides New York City a way to rethink its streets and reclaim space for pedestrians. The winner was chosen by a panel of New York City Commissioners, in front of a live audience of over 600 attendees at NYU Skirball Center.
"We are honored and thrilled to receive this award and we hope that this recognition will help us as we move forward with the design and testing of Public Square," commented Jack Robbins of FXFOWLE. "It has been an extremely collaborative and rewarding process for our team and we look forward to further collaborations with the City and others who can bring their creativity and expertise to our vision."
Public Square is a plug-and-play system of interlocking unitized squares, roughly 8'x8' in size, with built-in infrastructure and a wide variety of arrangements, from seating, to retail pop-ups, play equipment, gardens and green space. The transition to driverless vehicles will require incremental change, and Public Square allows the public realm to be responsive to changes in how we drive, however fast or slow those changes happen.
"It's important for cities to future-proof their infrastructure and policies, rather than wait for these technologies to reshape the city in ways we may not desire," said Michael Replogle, Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the DOT and one of the contest judges in an interview with Crain's. "Public Square offered a versatile tool kit for the city to reuse space for a variety of public needs."
The four finalists were selected from a competitive and diverse pool of entries from more than 20 countries. In addition to providing innovative ways to prepare New York City for autonomous vehicles, the finalist's ideas were actionable, and ready to start changing the city today.