After decades of contention between residents and politicians, the Bloomberg administration will announce on Wednesday plans of constructing a six-acre complex by SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects over a ten year period. Nine vacant lots in New York City’s Lower East Side will be erected into a mega-development of retail, office, entertainment, cultural and housing units. The complex will be located in rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, once home to working-class Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans and Ukrainians, and has struggled to preserve affordable housing against an encroaching luxury market. In response, developers have collaborated with local community groups agreeing that half of the projected 1,000 apartments will be for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families.
However, is this enough to sustain a balance of varying incomes?
In an attempt to activate a vacant storefront in New York’s Lower East Side, the miLES Storefront Transformer – a 6ft cube designed to “program any storefront” – is a versatile, movable set of furnishing and amenities designed by Architecture Commons. Seven individual pop-up interventions, curated by a collection of creative minds, would inhabit empty shops between November 4th and December 22nd 2013 if their Kickstarter campaign is successful.
Manhattan Mountain, by Ju-Hyun Kim, is a design speculation over five of the most debated plots of vacant land in New York City. Collectively known as SPURA, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, the five parking lots on the Lower East Side, just South of Delancey Street near the Williamsburg Bridge, were once the site of tenement housing until they were acquired by the Urban Renewal Plan in 1965 and demolished. Since then, the other lots that suffered a simular fate and have been developed into various iterations of low-income and mixed-use housing developments. But, for nearly 50 years these five sites have remained vacant as a continued debate rattles the community boards. As the debate rages on between low-income housing developments, mixed low-income and commercial housing, and strictly commercial housing, these five lots serve as parking. This is the largest undeveloped city-owned development south of 96th street.
Ju-Hyun Kim’s speculative proposal serves as an alternative to the current state of the land. Read on after the break.