Throughout the 19th and 20th century, New York City was a massive receiver, producer, and consumer of peoples, goods, wealth, and culture. It was an urban jungle, a melting pot, and a global port.
As real estate values escalated and industries withdrew from the waterfront edges of the city to be replaced by private development and parks, the primary mode of delivering materials and goods to and within the city resulted in the constant flow of individual trucks from the global ports located in the surrounding boroughs and New Jersey.
‘Empire Port’ envisions a future New York without cars and more importantly without trucks.
A near frictionless medium – water – becomes a new medium of the urban grid, an inverted port – steering goods, materials, people, and nature into the city.
The major bridges, no longer conveying cars and trucks into the city, become mega-gantries, allowing Post-Post-Panamax vessels to unload onto barges that infiltrate the city.
What new typologies would facilitate or be generated by such a new infrastructure? And how would existing architecture of the city become adapted to receive it?
What new eco-terrains and public spaces could be integrated with the re-invention of a new material logistics infrastructure?
The project will begin with the conceptual development of new infrastructure for transporting and processing material goods into and out of the city.
Upon establishing diagrams for the future material supply and distribution chain for Manhattan, this team will design the integration of the new material transportation infrastructure into the fabric of the city.
The team will be broken into smaller groups of approx. 3 people per group, charged with different design investigations for developing the infrastructure:
- The bridges as mega-gantry, material processing and transport hubs.
- Canals and/or electrified rail corridors through the island to support material barging.
- Architectural typologies that interface with the new infrastructure.
- Integration of eco-terrains and public spaces with the proposed infrastructure.
Topics to be incorporated/re-purposed in this design investigation:
- Short Sea Shipping
- Canal Barging
Begin May 31 – Review Jun 6:
May 31 - Jun 6: The team will meet twice per day at MIT for a mid-day session and an evening session
May 31 - Jun 1: Group development of new material logistics infrastructure system
Jun 1-4: Subdivided group development of key project characteristics
Jun 5-6: Image Compilation & Review
Jun 7: Final Printing
One of the big problems in Manhattan are the big lorries that come in every day to deliver goods and remove waste. The lorries cause troubles: pollutes the air, are noisy and make a mess. So Group 5 wants to reduce the amount of traffic on Manhattan Island. According to them, water is the key. It’s a crucial and vital material as a way if transport to deliver goods to Manhattan. Ships are therefore better than lorries and they can carry much more.
On the other hand, you have a lot of abandoned infrastructure. The trend is to turn these into parks, like the High Line. Group 5 thinks this is not a good development, turning abandoned infrastructure into green is not a plural solution, and that is what they are looking for.
Put this all together, Group 5 wants to inject water into Manhattan Island by proposing a canal system. How does it looks where the water meets the buildings, the public spaces, the underground, when water disappears and become visible again? And how can you project as much functions as possible on the canals?
What if lorries can’t enter Manhattan any longer? Group 5 proposes a plural structure, in which transportation and recreation is combined, by projecting a canal through Manhattan and putting infraports into the city. These infraports are transfer points for goods and people and are located on spots where car knots used to be. Goods from all over the world go to Port Newark (16 miles from New York), here the goods are transferred to smaller vessels that will sail into Manhattan. At the infraports the goods are transferred again, this time in small electric vans. Old garages become warehouses for the goods. Along the canal is a network of parks, every park has an atmosphere that suits the neighbourhood, like puddle parks in residential areas and plaza ponds in high rise areas. The new canal also opens up new possibilities to enter buildings. The material that comes free when digging the canal, will be used to make dykes to protect Manhattan from rising sea levels.
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