In a smart review of two current redevelopment proposals for branch libraries in Brooklyn, The New York Times' Michael Kimmelman discusses the civic principles and the funding realities surrounding public-private partnership in real estate where community libraries are concerned. The question of how New York's library systems may realistically implement the necessary updating of their buildings is complex and messy. Leveraging private development dollars and municipal political agendas toward results that neighborhoods need runs the risk of diminishing the identity of the library, but it also presents opportunities that may not materialize otherwise. "After all, neighborhoods are networks" he concludes.
We certainly want to see a city in which the public sector supports such important institutional infrastructure, without needing to risk the probable compromises that come with such partnership. But that is not our city at the moment. As so, we were delighted and proud to receive a mention in the review -- highlighting the work Marble Fairbanks, James Lima Planning and Development, and I did for the Re-envisioning Branch Libraries design study -- for our proposed methods to align disparate city agendas in search of coordination rather than competition for the limited resources at the libraries' and city's disposal.