Between the Bridges: Beyond Infrastructure

The effects of climate change necessitate a radical rethinking of the role of ecology and infrastructure within the city. While the full magnitude of the problem is still unfolding, it is urgent to envision new systems for managing rising sea levels, increased storm surge, and increased population. The studio will develop an urban plan for an overlooked segment of lower Manhattan located between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The plan must weave disparate neighboring conditions while also expressing a unique identity that reflects a new strategy for the integration of adaptive soft infrastructure systems into the city. We are looking for multidisciplinary teams of landscape architects, architects and urban designers to work with us to develop a speculative proposal for the future of the city. The studio site is the 165 acre swath of lower Manhattan between the bridges, along the East river. The site is characterized by layers of urban planning and design histories that will be evaluated and analyzed in relation to future planning. In particular the studio will consider the urban condition in relation to infrastructure, jurisdictions, economics, ecological considerations, and the physical qualities of the site. This work will occur across scales from the geographic to the architectural in order to engage critical thresholds in the city. The New York City Commissioners Plan of 1811 was radical in its rethinking of the nature of the city: it was designed to maximize efficiency in economic and traditional urban terms. We are looking for an equivalent rethinking of the nature of the city in the age of climate change. The studio draws upon research developed for the Latrobe Foundation and the Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA. We strongly encourage the participation of students in the departments of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Urban Design.