2007-2008 - West Harlem, New York

In 2006, the New York City Housing Authority introduced an initiative to shoehorn up to 6,000 residential units for to low to moderate income families, along with a small amount of retail space, into parcels of public housing property deemed “underutilized” — primarily open spaces and parking lots.  In response, I analyzed the Manhattanville Houses projects in West Harlem as a prototype for this initiative, viewing this as a potential opportunity to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of slum clearance rampant in 1950’s New York City.

The plan looks at strategies for sensitively adding housing to the site by working with the existing fabric of the neighborhood to supporting the positive attributes of the ‘tower in the park’ plan of housing construction – light, air, views and greenspace – while restoring a sense of connection to the surrounding neighborhood and promoting a lively streetscape.  To this end, the Manhattanville Houses plan looks at cautiously remapping streets, introducing social services needed by the community, reexamining infrastructure, reintroducing a retail presence to the avenues and improving the landscape strategy to foster social gathering and support a gradient between public and private space.