Daily digest: New York residents sue to stop outdoor dining, dire words open COP26, and more

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Daily digest: New York residents sue to stop outdoor dining, dire words open COP26, and more

A typical outdoor dining arrangement in Lower Manhattan. (Robinson Greig/Unsplash)

Good morning and welcome to the first news roundup of November. With daylight savings looming next weekend, the days might be getting shorter but the amount of news to stay on top of definitively is not.

Here’s what’s going on today:

Residents sue to stop New York’s permanent outdoor dining program

New York City’s outdoor dining program has been a lifesaver for restaurants during the pandemic, with sheds-slash-shacks-slash-architectural follies reclaiming street space for semi-open-air dining. The city, impressed with the Outdoor Restaurant program’s success rate and positive feedback from the community, has made the project permanent. However, not everyone is happy.

A group of 23 petitioners are suing the City of New York to end enhanced outdoor dining, alleging the program has led to overflowing trash, rats, and a raucous party attitude in the streets that’s ruining their quality of life. The de Blasio administration, for its part, maintains the environmental review of the program was conducted thoroughly and appropriately, and no adverse impact was found.

H/t to The Real Deal

COP26 opens in Glasgow with dire words on humanity’s future

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, began yesterday in Glasgow, Scotland, as leaders from across the planet gathered to address the impending climate crisis. While President Joe Biden had strong words, saying that we stood at a moral inflection point, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reportedly took a more direct stance in his speech; “We are digging our own graves.”

Despite the dire acknowledgment by attending parties (including the AIA for the first time ever), the road to keeping temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial averages requires a lot of investment in sustainable energy and the phasing out of fossil fuels; so far, no country is on track to meet those commitments. Nor are they in regards to providing money for climate change adaptation to the poorer, most vulnerable counties who will be hardest hit by droughts and rising sea levels.

H/t to the New York Times

Railroads step up to help east California’s port congestion

Ports up and down the West Coast are still snarled thanks to a lack of truck drivers to haul off cargo, and now Union Pacific and other railroad companies are stepping up to help alleviate some of the strain. Although the railroad industry is facing its own labor shortfall at the moment, Union Pacific has begun 24/7 service to the Port of Long Beach to bring goods up to Salt Lake City, where truckers will then ship them to the rest of the country.

H/t to Construction Dive

Alberto Campo Baeza’s first commercial building in the U.S. will rise in Miami

A white office tower model on a black background
A model of the forthcoming office building (Courtesy Sumaida + Khurana and Bizzi & Partners)

Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza has revealed plans for his first Miami building, and his first commercial project in the United States. Jointly developed by Sumaida + Khurana and Bizzi & Partners, the new office building in Miami Beach is intended to attract high-end clients. Although only a model of the project has been released thus far, the developers have said that steel, glass, and marble will be the primary components.

Cube 3 is serving as the executive architect, while Gabellini Sheppard is designing the interiors and Miami’s Urban Robot Associates is serving as landscape architect. The building is slated to break ground sometime next summer.

Dearborn’s Hyatt Regency conversion to apartments looks like a go

The former Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan, officially has a new owner and a roadmap to a new use. The New York-based Rhodium Capital Advisors has finally closed on what was most recently known as the Edward Hotel & Convention Center. Now, the U-shaped former 773-unit hotel will be converted into a market-rate apartment building with 375 residential units, to open sometime in 2023 or 2024.

H/t to Urbanize Detroit

MIT wants to put autonomous robot boats in Amsterdam’s canals

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the school’s Senseable City Laboratory has partnered with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) to bring robotic water taxis to the Dutch city’s waterways. The Roboat project is now more than proof of concept, as the team launched two of the autonomous boats in the city this year and has posited they can be used for everything from waste collection to forming impromptu bridges by linking up. A universal hull with a swappable top deck allows the Roboat platform to be adapted for a variety of uses, including ferrying live passengers.