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Landscape Architects Get Involved in “Designing the Taxi”

Could this be the next NYC taxis? The "Designing the Taxi " workshop participants have varying ideas of what a taxi should look like, but most feel the Crown Vic, which comprise 93 percent of NYC taxis, is not the ideal vehicle for the purpose. Rendering by the Design Trust for Public Spaces.

“Improving the quality and understanding of New York City’s public realm—from parks and plazas to streets and public buildings,” is the mission of the Design Trust for Public Spaces (, founded in 1995. Deborah Marton, the executive director since March 2004, is a landscape architect and lawyer.

With the 100th anniversary of the New York City taxi approaching (2007), the Design Trust for Public Spaces and the Parsons School of Design invited designers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, city officials and representatives of taxi owners, drivers and regulators to a “Designing the Taxi” workshop on May 24, 2005 to begin rethinking what the vehicle should look like from the perspective of a taxi passenger. The “Designing the Taxi ” steering committee is led by Deborah Marton.

Some of the ideas pitched included sunroofs, child car seats, sliding doors, wider entrances for wheelchair users and front-passenger seats that face the rear.

Those ideas and others, such as special curbs and lanes just for taxis, will be presented June 16 at a public workshop at the Parsons School of Design, funded by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and Deborah Berke & Partners Architects LLP. The Design Trust will publish the results this November and use the findings to begin discussions with the NYC taxi industry and the agencies that regulate the taxi fleet.

The current NYC taxi fleet, totaling 12,760 cabs, is mostly comprised of the Ford Crown Victoria, plus 1,077 minivans and 16 SUVs. Deborah Marton told the N.Y. Times that NYC taxis need to remain as “democratic as possible,” alluding to past proposals of transplanting spacious London-style cabs to NYC, which has reportedly met with strong resistance from NYC taxi owners.

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June 18, 2019, 6:44 pm PDT

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