About Harris

Harris Silver received his Masters in Architecture from SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in 2011. Prior to pursuing his architectural training, Harris was the President of Think Tank 3, an award winning branding and advertising agency based in NYC with Fortune 100 and high profile non-profit clients. Always interested in the urban environment he founded Citystreets an idea-based transportation non-profit that successfully advocated for change in the urban tectonic from cars to people through policy, infrastructure and technology interventions. Harris was a contributing columnist for the New York Sun writing regular Op-Ed’s about transportation issues in Cities. This interest in urban issues, transportation and how the built environment effects our lives led Harris to pursue his Masters In Architecture at SCI-Arc where he has also participated in the Sci-Fi (SCI-Arc's Urban Studies Program). While at SCI-Arc his entry in the Urban Infrastructure competition titled A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions for LA/2009 was selected for exhibition as well as publication in a book about the competition published by the SCI-Arc press.

Writings

Redefining “Driving Under the Influence”

According to the World Health Organization 1.24 million people were killed on the world’s roads in 2010. In the United States the number is 32,885. That’s not a typo even though we wish it was. This is a big number, representing a truly staggering and profound loss of life. The number of people injured on the road is exponentially higher. Who amongst us doesn’t know someone who was killed or seriously injured in an automobile crash? At Citysteets we have always seen our role as not pointing out problems but coming up with solutions. (Continue reading...)

The Ultimate Killing Machine

The year was 1996, Giuliani was our mayor, and the headlines were telling New Yorkers that crime rates were going down. Yet the streets felt dangerous --not from muggers, or aggressive squeegee men-- rather dangerous from aggressive drivers. This insight led me to conceive the Stencil Project, where a full size human outline was painted at the site of a fatal pedestrian-vehicle collision with the pedestrian's name, date of their death and the words "killed by automobile". Some have made the case that this project introduced NYC to pedestrian activism and the modern idea of pedestrian safety. Today, we call it The Memorial Project and we're bringing it back in a modern context to areas where unfortunately this thinking is still relevant. (Continue reading...)

What’s Good for GM Is Not Good for America

It's time to set the record straight. What's good for GM has never been good for America. Not in 1955 when this was first said and not now. Selling cars has always been disconnected from reality. Car manufacturers sell dreams -- the dream of freedom, the dream of the open road, the dream of youth, the dream of sex, the dream of speed. The reality, of course, has been completely different. Clogged roads, 32,855 road fatalities a year, the evisceration of urban transit systems, the suburban buildout, which has led to class divisions and cultural isolation, an unsustainable oil infrastructure that requires unfathomable resources to maintain and defend, and closer to home a built environment that is blighted as the building tectonic shifted from people to cars. (Continue reading...)

Hope & Despair

Two pictures taken on the same day.

Hope:

The new electric FedEx truck seen around my hood. The technology is right (no tail pipe) and the form is right (something new, looks new). Finally, an electric vehicle that really makes sense, no range issues due to a set and known daily schedule, no speed issues due to local use. Hello? I am not only hopeful but I am hoping this experiment will work out.

Despair:

Looking out my passenger window and seeing this hopped up Ford 150 pick up truck and thinking all the thoughts that go along with seeing this starting with the fact that a child or a short adult crossing the street, couldn’t even be seen by the driver, and ending with the result of a crash of a vehicle whose bumper reaches most cars windshields.

205 MPH = WTF

I just submitted an opinion piece to the Huffington Post about idea I’ve had years ago about cities flipping the script on Detroit. And what I mean by that is that Cities taking an active role in deciding what types of cars are best to driven around, when traditionally this has been decided by Detroit. (...) (Continue reading...)

The Strike’s Upside: Advantages of the HOV-4 Rule

The transit strike offers a unique opportunity to use the city as a lab for urban transportation experiments. Ideas that might otherwise be dismissed as unworkable, such as mandating that cars have four occupants before they enter Manhattan, and closing off avenues for emergency vehicle access, become necessities. What's interesting to observe is that these ideas are working so well there is no reason not to keep them in place after the strike is over. (Continue reading...)

De-Railing Amtrak

As oil prices rise to historic levels, the US Senate voted yesterday to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. With proper planning, billions of gallons of oil will begin flowing shortly and we are told by President Bush that "This will ease our dependency on our foreign oil by up to a million barrels a day." (Continue reading...)

Stop the Bike License Law

Because of the way they ride, the way they act, and whom they choose to represent them, bicycle riders currently reside about three notches below cockroaches in the minds of New York City residents. Let's face it: No roach has ever run down a little old lady on a sidewalk. (Continue reading...)

Street Smarts

A soft, glowing white light is known to be associated with near death experiences. What is less known, is that a flashing orange light is also associated with near death experiences - well, at least in New York City. That's because 72% of the 15,000 pedestrians that are injured by drivers of motor vehicles every year are hit while they are in a crosswalk. (Continue reading...)

Curb Your Enthusiasm

There are two types of people in the world. Those who work at The Department Of Transportation (DOT) who think it’s reasonable to ask New York’s disabled residents to wait years before they can cross the street, and then there is everyone else. (Continue reading...)

Observations

@ourcitystreets

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What's Wrong with this Picture?

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  • Driver can not see kids standing in front of car.
    Driver can not see kids standing in front of car.
  • No accommodation for pedestrian during sidewalk construction
    No accommodation for pedestrian during sidewalk construction
  • Improperly placed and maintained signs sends the wrong message to drivers.
    Improperly placed and maintained signs sends the wrong message to drivers.