CONTEXT

Sidewalk sheds are utilitarian scaffolding tunnels that cover the sidewalk, protecting pedestrians from falling building debris. The structures are omnipresent in New York City. In fact, if the estimated 6,000 sheds currently installed were lined up end to end, you could walk from New York to Baltimore under a tunnel.

Softwalks is dedicated to improving the functionality of sidewalk sheds with incremental improvements. Softwalks believes it is possible to transform sidewalk sheds from an eyesore to a community asset with a Kit of Parts.

PRECEDENTS

Softwalks is informed by the successful pilot projects the DOT has implemented in the last five years to transform various street scrapes from auto-centric spaces into pedestrian plazas, such as the theater district on Broadway. These pilot projects, aided by light, quick and inexpensive amenities mitigate risk and lead to incremental improvements. The reality and challenges of improving sidewalk sheds are significant, and this is why we have determined that building on the existing ecology of sidewalk sheds is an appropriate move forward.

Softwalks won the Student Category of the Innovation By Design Awards hosted by Fast Company! In the coming months we will have exciting news… Stay tuned!

  1. Camera: LEICA C-LUX 3
  2. Aperture: f/2.8
  3. Exposure: 1/30th
  4. Focal Length: 4mm
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Any visitor to N.Y.C. has walked through dark, grimy sidewalk sheds under scaffolding. This team created a modular system with a seat, counter, planter, screen, and lighting to turn such spaces into pocket parks.

“This has business relevance in the world’s largest cities,” - Scott Belsky founder of Behance

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Prototyping the lighting reflector in DUMBO Prototyping the lighting reflector in DUMBO

Prototyping the lighting reflector in DUMBO

Getting ‘R done. The Softwalks team works on the lighting reflector prototype for the Dumbo Arts Fest exhibition.

  1. Camera: iPhone 4
  2. Aperture: f/2.8
  3. Exposure: 1/15th
  4. Focal Length: 3mm

Someone just found our project on “coolbusinessideas.com”

Be sure to “Like” us so that we can bring our Kit of Parts to your neighborhood scaffolding and activate the sidewalk for you to enjoy!

"Streets are the dwelling place of the collective"
— Walter Benjamin

Softwalks is included in Fast Company’s series highlighting notable entries in their 2012 Innovation By Design Awards.

Softwalks is getting ready to participate in this year’s amazing Dumbo Arts Festival—September 28-30th 2012. Come on by and give your voice to determine the next wave of urban street furniture!

Softwalks examines the possibilities of how sidewalk shed lighting might evolve with additions of reflectors. On display at the Luce Plan Lighting Showroom in Soho, is the Mali light. Thank you Paola Pietrantoni for illuminating the manufacturing process!

MiLES’ Eric Ho met Softwalks’ Howard Chambers at the NYChair charrette in July. We are now discussing how we might collaborate to amplify our initiatives. MiLES’ Eric Ho met Softwalks’ Howard Chambers at the NYChair charrette in July. We are now discussing how we might collaborate to amplify our initiatives.

MiLES’ Eric Ho met Softwalks’ Howard Chambers at the NYChair charrette in July. We are now discussing how we might collaborate to amplify our initiatives.

(Source: architecturecommons.com)

"“If we can develop and design streets so that they are wonderful, fulfilling places to be – community building places, attractive for all people – then we will have successfully designed about one-third of the city directly and will have had an immense impact on the rest.”
- Great Streets by Alan Jacobs"
When visiting her previous home of San Francisco, Howard reached out to ReBar, one of Softwalk’s precedents, and John Bela, a Rebar founder and principal, who led the creation of Park(ing) Day, The Panhandle Bandshell, The Victory Garden, and Showplace Trianglechatted with her about the evolution of Parking Day and other Rebar initiatives.
http://rebargroup.org/diy-urbanism-testing-the-grounds-for-social-change/ When visiting her previous home of San Francisco, Howard reached out to ReBar, one of Softwalk’s precedents, and John Bela, a Rebar founder and principal, who led the creation of Park(ing) Day, The Panhandle Bandshell, The Victory Garden, and Showplace Trianglechatted with her about the evolution of Parking Day and other Rebar initiatives.
http://rebargroup.org/diy-urbanism-testing-the-grounds-for-social-change/

When visiting her previous home of San Francisco, Howard reached out to ReBar, one of Softwalk’s precedents, and John Bela, a Rebar founder and principal, who led the creation of Park(ing) Day, The Panhandle Bandshell, The Victory Garden, and Showplace Trianglechatted with her about the evolution of Parking Day and other Rebar initiatives.

http://rebargroup.org/diy-urbanism-testing-the-grounds-for-social-change/

"It makes me happy to see. It makes the scaffolding less hostile and it would be inviting for my kid"
— Patrick, NYC trader