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Friday, August 30, 2013

Design Trust Looks to Tap Potential below NYC Overpasses

Calling New York City "bustling" is an understatement. Millions of citizens and commuters shuffle across boroughs each day, using their transportation of choice: car, taxi, train, bus, bicycle, etc.  The public transportation options are considered the best in the nation, especially the subway. It doesn't matter who you are—in New York City, everyone rides the train as it zooms over and under the metropolis.

What many people overlook is the surrounding area taken up by these roads, tracks and bridges. There is a whopping 100 million square feet hiding beneath these overpasses, according to Irina Vinnitskaya of Arch Daily. These areas are usually ignored and tend to be filled with litter and parking spaces.

Under the Elevated is a new project by the Design Trust for Public Space and the NYC Department of Transportation. The groups are polling planners, architects, artists and cultural organizations to brainstorm ideas on how to better use this space. Once considered undesirable, these nooks and crannies could become wonderful public areas for art, recreation, music and more. The Foundation Architects are hoping that this project has similar success to the High Line at 20th Street, an aerial park that makes use of the former New York Central Railroad.

The movement is still in its infancy, although it's quickly gaining steam. What do you think could better serve these expansive areas? How could a designer or architect improve these community spaces and bring these neighborhoods closer together?

Photo courtesy Violette79/Flickr

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