Re-Imagining the Civic Commons

Municipal Art Society Releases New Analysis on the Future of Shared Urban Spaces & Places

Jun 12, 2015, 08:00 ET from Municipal Art Society of New York

NEW YORK, June 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At a global convening at Manhattan's Civic Hall, the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) released Re-Imagining the Civic Commons [], a first-of-its-kind analysis on the state of the "civic commons"—the constellation of shared assets like parks, libraries, post offices, public pools, and churches, that have historically served as the backbone of urban life. The analysis was produced with the support of the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

MAS Vice President for Strategy Mary Rowe said, "Here in New York, the critical role of these gathering places was made all too clear in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when libraries and Starbucks coffee shops transformed overnight into disaster relief hubs. But neighbors know that these civic assets help knit communities together in quiet, every day ways as well. When we shutter our libraries and turn our churches into condos, what's left of the creative community collision that draws dreamers and innovators to cities in the first place?"

The report was released to an audience of urban leaders from Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York as part of a global conversation entitled Building A Sustainable Civic Commons. During this two-day event, participants explored the role that civic commons play in urban livability and economic competitiveness, and discussed investment and programming strategies to strengthen them.

The event was hosted by MAS in partnership with Evergreen City Works, Cities for People, Community Design Resource Center, Boston Society of Architects, Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy, and with the support of lead sponsor TD Bank, the Maytree Foundation, Ideas That Matter, The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, and Stantec.

About the Municipal Art Society of New York
Founded in 1893, the Municipal Art Society is five years older than the consolidated City of New York itself. Over more than 120 years of history, MAS has made New York a more livable city by advocating for excellence in urban planning and design, a commitment to historic preservation and the arts, and the empowerment of local communities. MAS is at the forefront of New York's most important campaigns to promote our city's economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, resiliency, and social diversity. For more information, visit



SOURCE Municipal Art Society of New York