Christina Belton, Taewook Cha, Brenda Curtis, Lia Kelerchian, Gentry Lock, Erika Matthias, and Shachi Pandey, EDAW-NYC
New York, NY
Agricultural Urbanism re-envisions the outdated form and function of the Grand Concourse as a grand civic space, one that engages the community, maximizing public space by bringing health and vitality to neighborhoods through localized food production. This framework anticipates a growing and changing community, galvanizing the Bronx into a sustainable, dynamic prototype for the future.
1. Goals for the Concourse and the Bronx
The Concourse was conceived as a speedway that wove together transit in an engineered geography of concrete overpasses and tunnels. The Agricultural Urbanism vision is guided by the principle of weaving multiple systems within the urban fabric of the Concourse, expanding multi-dimensionally on its existing character. Layering agriculture, transit, and dynamic public space in ways that harness topography, natural systems, and the community’s cultural resources creates a healthy, holistic environment in a neighborhood continually defining its identity. The Concourse re-envisioned responds to and harnesses natural processes as a system that is greater than the sum of its parts: while taking up and cleansing air, compounds, and water, this Agricultural Urbanism releases them back clean alongside fruit for the urban biome.
2. Overall design philosophy
The framework for Agricultural Urbanism, identifies and meets many specific goals. Multi-modal transportation turns a vehicular-dominated landscape into an improved pedestrian experience, connecting fluidly to the surrounding neighborhoods and region. Social spaces set within the enlarged pedestrian and agricultural swaths create unique moments along the concourse that respond to the social, cultural, and economic dynamics of individual nodes. The health of the Bronx, once plagued by asthma and minimal access to fresh food alternatives, improves with the establishment of urban green swaths and associated produce markets. Entrepreneurialism is encouraged within the framework, supporting local economy and the development of community identity.
3. key physical features
-Re-defined right of way
-Extensive Agricultural plots
-Program at key neighborhood locations: gardens, farm stands, small gathering spaces, plazas, public art, performance spaces, play grounds, a signature glass conservatory, outdoor classrooms
- Stormwater management system
-Multi-modal transportation: multi-use bike path, sidewalks, Tram, connections to existing transit