2012 Projects
Bland Hoke

Softwalks seeks to improve the pedestrian experience in New York City. Rudimentary scaffolding erected in long tunnels occupies almost 1.5% of the sidewalks in New York City. These temporary structures are called sidewalk sheds, protecting pedestrians from overhead dangers at construction sites and from aging facades. Softwalks will open up an opportunity to re-imagine the function of sidewalk sheds in a design-build competition, enabling artists and designers to innovate within a space everyone experiences on a daily basis. Our goal is to facilitate immediate solutions and functional alternatives to a blight within the city.

  • http://www.luke-keller.com/ Luke Keller

    Hey Bland,

    Great project! Are you the only team member for this (I recall there being others)? What kinds of plant materials are you expecting to cultivate on the scaffolding here, and what of the plant life and scaffolding after construction is finished? Love this idea, best of luck!

    • Bland Hoke

      Hey Luke!

      There are four of us total that are collaborating on the project – Howard Chambers, Eulani Labay, Francis Carter, and myself. We are hosting a workshop at The Hort on March 6th from 4-8 pm (RSVP to info@citysoftwalks:disqus.com). We are inviting experts from many disciplines to participate, including horticulturalists to address and develop the concept. 

      We are focusing on scaffolding that is not an active construction site. You might notice many buildings where it doesn’t appear any work is taking place, a situation that has developed due to Local Law 11 which is better known as the facade inspection ordinance. When a building’s facade fails inspection it is mandatory that a shed is erected, however the cost of keeping it there is often less than fixing the facade. Situating the project at sites like these, adjacent to existing community gardens or schools provides the opportunity for the modules to be removed and re-deployed at another site, or stored in sculptural arrangements in the meantime. 

  • Stanley W Green

    I really like this addition to the protective scaffolding.  When I am in New York I often walk accross the street to get out of these.  But with this I might just walk accross the street to walk through it.

  • Rashid Owoyele

    I see these things everywhere now that I’m aware.  I hope you can do something to make them valuable to the people and not just the property owner who is avoiding their responsibilities! 


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