What has to be the most famous urban development project in the world right now got yet another face-lift today. The Freedom Tower was redesigned yet again.

Unfortunately, the new design no longer includes the wind turbines that were featured in some of the previous iterations.

However, if there was ever a case study in urban development, this would be it. A glamorous, stately, and artistic case study, but there are more general points at work here as well. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has taken charge of the World Trade Center site. They have studied potential impacts of the redevelopment from Fulton Street to Chinatown, and have also included the environmental impacts of the project as a priority in the planning.

Even more exciting are the transportation plans for the site. In addition to a pedestrian friendly West Street and “Promenade South” at the south end of West Street, the LMDC is planning a direct rail link between JFK and Lower Manhattan which will presumably be incorporated into the new site. The link will also cut down the transit time to just 36 minutes between the airport and Lower Manhattan. This will make it the hands-down choice for anyone who wants to use public transportation to get to JFK, and probably will entice some of those people who usually take cabs to make the switch.

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One comment the New York Times article makes that I am unclear on and can’t really find anything about: “[The redesigned Freedom Tower] was also intended to preserve as much as possible of the foundation design that had already consumed months of work.” How much had already been done? Unfortunately I have not been in NYC for a while now — anyone (Emily?) know anything about this?

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