November 2017
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MAS Urbanists Get Inside Look at Possible Futures Downtown


“What if you could live, work and raise sheep in the same building?” is just one of the provocative ideas raised by the proposals commissioned by the Downtown Alliance in the newly installed exhibit in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. Chris Reynolds, MAS Urbanist and Assistant VP of Planning for the Downtown Alliance, and representatives of the firms Beyer Blinder Belle and ARO/Architecture Research Office recently led a group of MAS Urbanists on a special guided tour of the exhibit.

The Downtown Alliance, also known as the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, commissioned input from architects, urban planners, and artists for this outdoor exhibit, imagining the changes that might lead to a vibrant future for “Greenwich South,” an area roughly bounded by Broadway to the East, West Street to the East, Liberty Street to the North, and Battery Place to the South.

The outdoor exhibit identifies the problems that have historically challenged the neighborhood, and provides solutions and suggestions for a vibrant future, including:

Intense Mix of Uses: Make sure the district is a mix of residential, retail, commercial, and tourism uses.

Reconnect Greenwich Street: The World Trade Center unfortunately cut off Greenwich Street, severing the Southern part of Greenwich South from the Northern half. A new “Lower West Side” could be born — possibly connected by a light rail in the future.

Connect East and West: Right now, Battery Park City is cut off from the Financial District.

Build for Density, Design for People: The Alliance wants to make sure that the district stays “dense”, but that all development be humanizing and green.

A Reason to Come and a Reason to Stay: Encourage permanent public art and vibrant culture. Make the area a 24/7 destination for the thousands of tourists, workers, and students who converge in Lower Manhattan every day.

The proposals, which ranged from the simple (the installation of bike racks and the redesign of Edgar and Trinity Plazas) to the fantastic (a hot air balloon could float above the neighborhood projecting an imprint of the surface of the Moon) were fascinating, and it was a great and thought-provoking evening for all MAS Urbanists who attended. We thank the Downtown Alliance for walking us through the challenges ahead for this neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.

Targeted at young professionals, the MAS Urbanists bring a new generation of leadership to the MAS. Urbanists experience the city through a variety of special educational and social activities, which provide insight into and enjoyment of the city’s architecture, design and culture.