"If they could not lower the drainage system, they would have to raise the city. Starting in 1849, the City Council passed a series of ordinances requiring that the grade levels of streets be raised anywhere from four to fourteen feet. The process took two decades and required that large buildings weighing many thousands of tons be lifted by dozens of men turning dozens if jacks in unison so that new foundations could be built underneath. Many owners chose simply to move their buildings to new locations, and it became common to see large frame and masonry structures rolling through city traffic."
- William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis
Midterm presentations are today, and I'll put up some images from that later on.
Our early proposals for the Bronx-side bridge site included multiple pedestrian safety improvements and new connections to the existing green space cut off (and created by) the Major Deegan Expressway. In the bottom right is a new ferry/waterbus landing to complete a new blueway connecting the Harlem River communities with the East River and Hudson River.
Since this was created we've gotten more ambitious and creative with what we want to see on the site - as planning students we've struggled to break away from constraints on feasibility, ownership, and cost - to simply design without limitations. It's been a good exercise (and refreshing!) to abandon our traditional concerns for this project.
thanks to Lindsay for pointing out this article from the New York Times. Daniel Hauben is a painter in the Bronx who was recently commissioned to paint a series of murals for Bronx Community College's new library.
The painting above more or less encapsulates where we're working on the river.
We just finished our first week as a group, and put together a few diagrams of some of our recommendations for the Harlem River site. We got lots of feedback and we're starting the next iteration. If all goes well, we should have something new to present each week.
Last night our studio presented preliminary models outlining some of our ideas for the Harlem River site.
The work represented our last efforts on our own to develop our ideas about how we'd like to see the site. The point was to think big, sketch broadly, and convey a clear idea. The class responded with a broad range of techniques and styles, but I got the sense that we tended to circle around many of the same ideas: connections, access, ecology.
I did what I could to get photos of everyone's models, but I apologize for the cell phone quality.
Our first project for the beginning of studio was to start developing a visual language for our site, describing some existing conditions. My group, Land Use, focused on how land use decisions attracted or repelled visitors to the Harlem River (spoiler: it mostly repels).
Our approach was a little different than some of the other groups, but so far the work of my classmates has been impressive. More to come.