Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quickstart Proposal on Fri. 11/18.

Quickstart proposal on the future of the Prospect Plaza site in Crown Heights/Brownsville. 

The 'towers in the park' are a problematic typology. They represent the failure of Modernism and are often associated with a high crime rate, violence, drugs and concentrations of young and poor people. These areas with 'towers in the park' certainly have every reason to be redeveloped. 

Current approach is to demolish all these public housing towers, and replace them by the regular block of a more neighborhood-friendly scale. The city sells it public housing properties to private developers to rehabilitate the projects. Due to this privatization these new neighborhood-scale projects become also mixed-income, since this is more interesting for the developer. These actions often result in a decrease in the total available units, whereas the most units are at a market-rate, aimed for a higher-income than the former residents. Many of the former tenants will most likely never be able to return after such a rehabilitation of the area. These poor tenants are simply pushed to other poor neighborhoods.

Such approach has the purpose of upscaling the neighborhood. The city is in fact provoking and supporting a form of gentrification for a certain area. Is there no other option than erasing the history of the 'tower in the park' and removing the poor tenants to upscale a certain neighborhood?

By keeping the towers, I want to think of other ways of redeveloping this area with 'towers in the park'. I want to explore if it's possible to upscale the neighborhood, without pushing the poor tenants away. If rehabilitated, these towers could maybe function as a positive icon for the neighborhood.

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