Revitalizing the Urban Extents, New York, United States
Dattner Architects

New York City is projected to grow to 9 Million people by 2030. Besides a million additional citizens, it continues to function as the hub of the regional and national economy, attracting large numbers of commuters, businesses, and visitors. Multiple traffic reducing measures such as congestion pricing are being considered for the Manhattan’s Central Business Districts (CBD). Our proposal focuses on increasingly crowded, but far less examined neighborhoods on the Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens waterfronts. 
Many of these areas are underserved by the city’s current subway system, a need only partly answered by bus lines. As the population of these areas grows, even increased bus service struggles to keep up with demand, and many informal ride-hailing services have sprung up to supplement it. Both introduce considerable amounts of traffic, congestion, and pollution to the streets. More recently, ferry lines have been introduced to provide direct links across the East and Hudson Rivers. This is a welcome development, but a challenge remains to link the waterside network to other forms of public transportation. Our proposal is intended to remedy these gaps in the transit system and address the increasing problem of street crowding and quality of life concerns in outlying, but lively areas of the city. We also see an opportunity to decentralize the CBD and stimulate local economies by encouraging transport links between these outlying neighborhoods. 
We propose the deployment of an efficient alternative form of public transport that reduces street level traffic. It also strengthens the City’s new Ferry routes by improving waterfront access and linking them to other existing public transit routes. The proposed 165-mile network is composed of 220 boarding stations. Arial pods carrying 10-12 passengers each–the equivalent of a large minivan—will operate on a schedule coordinated with the ferry system. In time, as vehicular traffic diminishes, portions of the streetscape surrounding the ropeway system could be turned over to pedestrian and community uses. 
The aerial based network also enhances the resiliency of transportation infrastructure in the low lying, flood prone neighborhoods along the city’s waterfront. As all the equipment is located well above ground, the network would be able to withstand the potential physical and environmental damage typically suffered by surface and below ground systems in a Hurricane Sandy type event. Largely silent, and run by electric motors, the network also reduces the noise, emissions as well as roadway wear and tear associated with other transport systems.
Implementing public transport routes away from the street surface via waterways and skyways, encourages a cleaner, and socially engaged streetscape. Simpler construction, smaller up-front and operational costs make this an attractive option compared to expensive extensions of the existing underground network. With a more robust, varied and resilient transit system, we envision neighborhoods thriving with diversified job opportunities, and local amenities.
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