Broadway: 1000 Steps is a precedent project for the City as Living Laboratory: Sustainability Made Tangible Through the Arts (CaLL) initiative. CaLL conceives of the city as a laboratory where artists collaborate with scientists and policy makers and others to add experiential impact to research and planning. The installations initiated through Broadway: 1000 Steps will articulate the city’s long-term sustainability goals, such as those in PlaNYC, making them tangible and comprehensible to city residents. By directly engaging pedestrians, these encounters bridge the gap between the daily choices made by individuals and the large-scale goals of governmental plans. This project is inherently collaborative and builds upon existing civic and scientific institutional efforts and resources, enabling NYC to make long-term policy solutions visible now.
Establishing Broadway as the new green spine of the city announces in an immediate way that New York is undergoing a radical shift in its relationship to the environment. Distributed and integrated installations work together to reveal unexpected instances of the “future” city here and now. Visitors experience each element singly or clustered in key locations, allowing patterns in shifting scales to be perceived. As in a pixelated image, the initial experience of the installations is not immediately comprehensible, but as people move along the street and more information is added, the whole comes into focus. This sense of incremental transformation – of many individual instances working together to create a powerful cumulative effect – is the conceptual armature for the project. Pedestrians on Broadway, catalyzed by their experiences through the installations, become a part of this framework, disseminating these ideas throughout the city. The result will be that individual actions proliferate, creating a new understanding of the urban environment.
Broadway: 1000 Steps is one of three precedent projects for the City as Living Laboratory: Sustainability Made Tangible Through the Arts initiative. CaLL positions the arts in the center of contemporary urban dialogue, capitalizing on the innovative thinking of artists to directly engage citizens.