Life in big cities today is certainly complex. On the one hand, many big cities are vibrant places, filled with museums and other cultural attractions, nightclubs, theaters, and restaurants and populated by people from many walks of life and from varied racial and ethnic and national backgrounds setting up living conditions that encourage innovation, collaboration and overall progress. On the other hand, the growth of these big cities has been very limited lately as these are extremely dense and there is little room for growth. This, in turn, drives costs of living up and makes it tougher and tougher to live in these highly developed urban environments. Due to the lack of lateral space in cities the project asks us to look above for opportunities to build upon our cities, however not in the typical “skyscraper” (Extruded Site Constraints) solution many of these cities already use and still face the same problem. Instead the project proposes a horizontal city above that incorporates many of the things big cities lack like affordable housing, farming for locally grown foods, the potential to expand cultural attractions and gathering spaces and a city prepared to deal with climate change.
The site chosen for the project is the city of New York. Historically, the place where the skyscraper first came into fruition. This city offers a great context on why the skyscraper model is probably not the answer as it demands a hierarchical approach to program and costs of living. The city’s lack of space, affordable housing and facing rising tidal levels makes it the perfect place to execute the project.
The project proposes a layered city built above the existing one.
The first layer or the “housing” typology is built of 5-6 story buildings that follow the city grid and anchored on cores that touch ground on courtyards, intersections, and sometimes take over sections of certain city blocks when possible. These have interconnecting walkways and sometimes roads that bridge between the new city blocks above. This forms the framework on which the city above is built.
The second layer, or the “agricultural” typology is built above the housing units and creates opportunities for everything from urban farming, allowing New York to locally grow their food (lowering costs of living), and parks and gathering spaces.
The third layer, or the “tower” occurs when the cores take over entire sections of city blocks and allow it to grow taller. These towers suggest office buildings, workplaces, factories, etc.
The fourth layer, or the “attractors” typology is built above the housing units and it allows the city above to incorporate urban cultural attractors like stadiums, museums, theaters, etc. these take on different forms and allow for more complex organizations.