Activating Green Networks Along the Bronx River – 2014

The focus of Sustainable Urbanization: New Designs for the Future City in 2014 was on the Bronx River Sewershed, an area studied under the National Science Foundation Coastal SEES grant led by the Urban Design Lab. The Bronx River is an important tidal passage which connects to the Long Island Sound and New York City’s East River, but was highly polluted throughout the rise of industry in New York City. The history of the Bronx River has been one of restoration and preservation after the age of industrialization and urbanization processes.

Students here were challenged to develop and test a new framework for the next generation of “high-performance” green infrastructure (GI) to mitigate the impacts of urban coastal zone pollution, while also exploring sustainable infrastructural systems, water development, design for sea level rise & climate change, and the search for design interventions that address marginality in the city. Students worked in collaboration with the Bronx River Alliance on three Bronx sites and their adjacent communities, Hunts Point Landing, Concrete Plant Park, Soundview Park, and were then asked to propose design strategies using a shipping container as a base form to activate their ideas for new green networks along the river. The students worked in teams and their final products were informed by lectures, site visits, digital modeling instruction, directed research exercises and their own creativity and talents.