Environmental Quality: Urban Design, Sunlight, Daylight and Radiance

Parks and open spaces are essential to the quality of life in dense urban areas such as New York City. Now, the scarcity of both land and funds makes the creation of new parks extremely difficult. It is therefore increasingly important that existing parks be protected, not only from physical incursions and the diversion of parkland for other uses, but also from potentially adverse effects of neighboring development.

Development projects that appear reasonable when proposed are often found to inflict harsh environmental consequences on their neighborhoods once they have been built. Loss of sunlight, wind gusts, and temperature extremes are among the localized, "microclimate" effects that are frequently recognized too late. Yet modern methods of environmental simulation, using a combination of scale models, cinematic techniques, and computer technology, now make it possible to anticipate accurately sun, shadow, and wind effects at the design stage of a project.

(excerpted from "Preserving Sunshine in NYC Parks: A Zoning Proposal," Charlotte Fahn, Michael Kwartler, NYC Parks Council - full version available below)

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