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06 November 2016

Crain’s Publishes C+GA’s Proposal for a NYC of 9 Million Residents

Crain’s NY ”Think Big” highlights C+GA’s vision for how NYC can accommodate a population of 9 million. We envision creating new land by activating and developing the space over existing sunken railroad lines and below-grade highways. The proposal is scalable to utilize these linear sites throughout the city. For this proposal we focused on the Bronx, developing air space above Metro North’s rail beds to increase housing and unite neighborhoods.

The Metro North rail cut is approximately 60 feet wide and 7 miles long. Using the development system represented in the article, we’ve calculated that this corridor could support up to 16,000 housing units for 46,000 residents, along with commercial, community and open space. The cost of building over the publicly-owned rail cut would be offset by eliminating the cost of land purchase; and the relatively short span makes a linear development cost effective when compared to large deck areas required at rail yards such as Hudson Yards in Manhattan. Prefabricated construction also minimizes disruption to the rail line below. In the late 1970s this concept was developed on a three block section when the New York City Housing Authority built the Morrisania Air Rights Housing near E. 161 St.

In addition, new land/new development covering the rail cut will unlock the potential of the adjacent blocks, now largely low-rise commercial/industrial buildings and parking lots. The elimination of train noise, and the through connection of now interrupted east-west streets, will make these blocks better suited for denser development. The new development’s residential, commercial and recreational spaces will stitch together the existing neighborhoods, replacing the barren streetscape of today along the rail cut with a pedestrian friendly experience.

Creating new land is one piece of what needs to be a multipart strategy across New York City; including up-zoning of the blocks adjacent to the former cut to spur private development and implementation of new housing types such as micro-units and co-housing models to house more people in the same square feet. Beyond our proposal for the Bronx this strategy can be applied at below grade railroads and highways throughout the city where there are an additional 100 miles of cuts, with the potential to support approximately 130,000 housing units for 350,000 residents.

See the published article here.