The Good Life: New Public Spaces For Recreation 

Location and Dates:
Pier 40, Hudson River, New York City
September 8 – October 1, 2006

Zoë Ryan

Exhibition Design:
Work AC

Graphic Design:
Project Projects

The Good Life: New Public Spaces for Recreation,
VAI/Princeton Architectural Press, 2006

Zoë Ryan

Publication Design:
Project Projects 

Exhibition Website:

The Good Life: New Public Spaces For Recreation explored how architects, designers, landscape architects, and artists are reinventing urban public spaces to meet the changing needs of 21st century recreation and leisure. The exhibition made the case that in our increasingly dense cities, recreational and play spaces are vital to achieving healthy and sustainable cities and are at the core of new urban planning and design initiatives.

The exhibition was organized around five themes, and featured more than 60 projects from a range of international designers, including Acconci Studio, BIG/Julien de Smedt, David Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Heatherwick Studio, Hood Design, SHoP Architects, Weiss/Manfredi, and West 8.

Intent of moving beyond the wall of the Van Alen Institute’s gallery, the exhibition was presented on Pier 40, a highly trafficked site on the waterfront with an accessible and engaging installation design that doubled as its own recreational space, with furniture and a café for visitors. A dynamic public program of roundtable discussions, lectures, tours and big urban games helped generate activity and exchange in the space. The Good Life remains the most visited exhibition in Van Alen Institute’s history.