Tasked with designing a network of urban interventions in the vicinity of Broadway in Manhattan that would eventually comprise a new shared "interior space" in the city (and required to represent it in all color block drawings), we began with research and mapping studies. I was particularly interested in what I call the "soft program" of a city – in other words, where folks congregate and begin to create spaces for themselves in the more informal gathering areas of their neighborhoods.
Initial mapping exercises showed that there were glaring disparities in the neighborhood, and observation of residents revealed a need for formalized community program. Thinking back on previous travels, I realized that I was inspired most by the possibilities that lay within garden, park and market program. I sought to design a hybrid urban farm and community center that was modular in design, cyclical in nature, and flexible enough to accommodate all members of the community.
The design aims to take advantage of an abundant typology in Inwood: single story commercial buildings. The urban intervention would sit atop these single-story commercial structures, take advantage of 360 degree exposure to sunlight for its gardens, and engage with the commercial program below in some way: for example, a restaurant below could sponsor a cooking class in a community kitchen above, or a grocery store could donate its leftover produce for an after-school feeding program.
The intervention begins to unfold as a secondary streetscape above ground – one that is able to hold formalized spaces for its residents to gather, and one that can be productive all year round.