Former U.S. Senator wins visionary development award

October 17, 2001 |

The best defense against attacks on America' s free society is to 'concentrate, not scatter,' and move ahead with thoughtful rebuilding and reinvigoration of urban areas, according to former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), 2001 winner of the Urban Land Institute's J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development.

Moynihan reflected on the impact of the September 11th tragedies during the Urban Land Institute's recent annual fall meeting in Boston, Oct. 2-6. The J.C. Nichols Prize was presented to Moynihan during the meeting to honor his lifelong dedication to excellence in urban design, public building architecture and community revitalization issues.

'This is a moment not to be intimidated,' Moynihan said. 'The only way [terrorists] can win is if we change the way we live, and a lot of us live in cities. What we did once (reviving lower Manhattan), we can do again, and this time, we can do it even better. These acts won't change our civilization.'

The $100,000 annual prize recognizes a person or person representing an institution whose career demonstrates a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. It honors the legacy of legendary Kansas City, Mo., developer J.C. Nichols, a founding ULI member who is widely regarded as one of America's most influential entrepreneurs in land use during the first half of the 1900s.

Moynihan represented New York in the Senate from 1977 until 2001. His 40-plus years of commitment to smart urban development includes service as a counselor for urban affairs to President Nixon, as well as positions in four presidential administrations, starting with the Kennedy Administration in 1961. At President Kennedy's request, he authored a proposal to revitalize Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue, which led to the creation of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. by Congress in 1972 to implement the avenue's revitalization.

Moynihan's advocacy of the revitalization of Pennsylvania Avenue and the surrounding area ultimately resulted in the rehabilitation of the Old Post Office Building and Union Station; the conversion of the old Pension Building into the National Building Museum; the construction of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center; and construction of plazas and monuments, including the Western Plaza and Navy War Memorial.

The former senator's priorities for New York City included the restoration of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House building in Battery Park; the redesign of Foley Square; and the re-creation of a grand, above-ground Pennsylvania Railroad Station -- a project he continues to pursue. In Buffalo, he led efforts to restore the Prudential Building, designed by Louis Sullivan, and the National Guard armory.

Buildings -- particularly public buildings -- should serve a greater purpose than to simply provide shelter; they should be built to instill pride among citizens who use them, serving as a way to 'say who you are,' according to Moynihan. 'The point about the public space is that it is public. And people who own nothing much in their own right have a part of that,' he said.

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