Design teams dream up ‘Downtown Brooklyn Commons’

Move over, Boston Common.

Aspiring planners have an idea for their own “Downtown Brooklyn Commons” that would link parkland in one of the country’s fastest growing urban centers.

Students from four schools - City College, City Tech, NYU’s Polytechnic Institute and the Pratt Institute - were tasked with imagining ways to connect the 21 acres of open space that stretch from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Borough Hall, an area that includes Cadman Plaza, the Korean Veterans Plaza and Columbus Park.

The semester-long project culminated with an exhibition at Borough Hall.


NYU-Poly professor Carl Skelton showed off a digital program called Betaville - a cross between Sim City and Google Earth - that allows urban planners and residents to work together on new design projects.

“If a user-generated television network like YouTube is possible, why not user-generated cities?” said Skelton, who played with a design for a new Dodgers stadium near Cadman Plaza.

The project was sponsored by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a group with its own vision for transforming the neighborhood that has come under fire for its attempted takeover of the MetroTech Business Improvement District.

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