Today Regional Plan Association unveiled the final work of the winners of the Design Competition of the Fourth Regional Plan, visualizing how the New York metropolitan region could transform over the next 25 years to meet growing challenges and new opportunities. Launched in January with the generous support of The Rockefeller Foundation, the competition called on architects, designers and planners to demonstrate visually how policy changes, new investments and changing patterns of growth could transform different areas of the metropolitan region.
This initiative is part of RPA’s fourth regional plan, A Region Transformed, a comprehensive vision for the tri-state region that will be released this fall.
The design competition was created in collaboration with Guy Nordenson and Paul Lewis of Princeton University and Catherine Seavitt of City College of New York.
In March, a distinguished jury selected the four winning design teams and through a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, each winning team received $45,000 to work with RPA and a team of professionals to develop innovative design solutions for four large geographic corridors in the New York region.
Team: PORT + RANGE
By harnessing the character of the Highlands that stretch across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, PORT + Range’s designs create communities and foster ecosystem performance. As envisioned, the team imagines waterways and trails that would not only improve water quality and supply, but reduce flooding and provide open space. Through their design solutions, PORT + RANGE seek to support environmental well-being, increase access to public space, and better educate the community about environmental stewardship and farming ecosystem services.
Inner Ring/ Suburban
WORKac designed solutions for the network of inner suburbs that ring New York City, stretching from Port Chester, New York down to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The firm focused on transforming the region’s ‘corridor downtowns’ – stretches of strip malls, parking lots, and office parks – into an ex-urban ribbon of density and diversity. The corridor could see an increase in population density over the next few decades and could be greatly impacted by the arrival of self-driving cars and other technologies. WORKac proposes transforming parking lots and underused spaces into mixed-use residential complexes with a focus on integrating those spaces with nature.
Team: Only If + One Architecture
How could the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens look differently if the three boroughs were linked by the Triboro line, a proposed 24 mile passenger train line first proposed by RPA in the Third Regional Plan? Designers at New York’s Only If and the Dutch spatial planning firm One Architecture worked together to use the existing right-of-way and adjacent spaces to create a linear park and greenway along the proposed line to improve community health, a bike “superhighway” for commuter and recreational use, welcome new models for economic growth and job generation, manage storm water through sustainable features such as a reduction in asphalt, and create development strategies for large catalytic projects and small scale development that manages neighborhood growth and keeps value local.
Team: Rafi Segal A+U + DLAND Studio
How could the coastline of the region transform to meet the reality of rising sea levels? Rafi Segal + DLAND Studio developed designs that would create an environmental buffer to help ease the tension between vulnerable coastal communities and nature’s unstoppable forces. As envisioned, the buffer would relieve the stress on the coastline and communities by creating a space for land and water to co-mingle while providing space to live, conserve, work and play. The buffer would do this by receiving new residents at higher densities, protecting low-lying areas using the absorptive capacity of the buffer, and adapting to a more amphibious lifestyle in the zone — transforming the coastline into the new urban frontier. Using this approach, Rafi Segal + DLAND are hoping to educate coastal communities about a new reality through the development of tailored homes, neighborhoods, and cities all of which will be built to withstand and succeed in an amphibious future.
“Community involvement is a key factor in building stronger more resilient ecosystems; by bringing A Region Transformed directly to communities through this exhibit, residents have the opportunity to weigh-in on their future by assessing the creative designs and solutions to some of the most pressing challenges New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are facing,” said Sam Carter, Managing Director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “Through this exhibit individuals will better understand the challenges they face, the interventions that could protect and enhance their communities, and how they can become part of this change.”
“This exhibit not only presents the four design teams’ visions for the region, but also situates those future visions within the ninety-year history of innovative design of the past three RPA regional plans. Where the past plans focused on Manhattan and a center-to-periphery hierarchy, these new designs explore potentials within four typologically distinct geographic and ecological corridors that comprise the region as a whole, revealing more complexity and diversity,” said Paul Lewis, Associate Dean of the Princeton University School of Architecture.
Tom Wright, President, RPA, said: “Each of the RPA regional plans has produced iconic images of a city and region transformed by innovative design. Keeping with that legacy, the teams have done an amazing job at proposing innovative design solutions that can transform the New York region in order to meet new challenges and opportunities over the coming decades. We hope to build on their visionary work in the recommendations of the fourth regional plan to be unveiled this fall.”
The final work of these teams is showcased in 4C: Four Corridors: Foreseeing the Region of the Future, available online at 4C.RPA.org and at The Chapel at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways from August 5 through September 17, Friday – Sunday, 11 AM – 6 PM. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Secunda Family Foundation and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.