DOT Pops Up New Designs

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking applications for its Pop-up Café Program. As an advocate for more creative uses of public spaces, the expansion of the pilot program, which was tested this year, will increase the public’s access to good design.

For the two-year program, the DOT expects to partner with local restaurants and cafés in up to 12 locations throughout the city. Each restaurant selected will choose a design and hire a NYS-licensed architect/engineer and construction team. The restaurant will also cover the cost of design, construction, and maintenance (an estimated $10,000 per restaurant according to the website), and the pop-up will be fully accessible to the public.

The efforts by the DOT not only to create a more pedestrian-friendly city by expanding sidewalk programs and green spaces, but by also varying programs and designs speaks of an active effort to improve the quality of life in the city. This is an excellent opportunity for design firms to explore new ways for people to inhabit their streets, while giving firms access to restaurant owners, potentially leading to future work. Overall, this program is a win-win for designers and city residents. I am looking forward to the designs in the next couple of years in addition to other related programs aiming to make the city more accessible to pedestrians.