This research project is a conceptual masterplan for the ecological future of New York City. Areas of investigation include waste, water, food, mobility, energy and habitat needs. It examines urban infrastructure and urban resources on a colossal scale and tests the limits of the city's capacity to become fully autonomous and self-reliant. The research applies the economic model of resource exchange, not just to the production of goods and services, but also to the environmental performance of the city as a whole.
New York City can do much to reduce its own footprint. Key measures include harvesting energy from the sun and wind, greening the city to cool it down, collecting rainwater, reconstituting waste for habitation, growing large amounts of food, softening vehicles and giving streets back to pedestrians. Terrefuge also proposes: technologically advanced vehicles, re-imagining work on the basis of the continuous replacement of materials, restructuring neighbourhoods to provide all of the needs of daily life within walking distance, abandoning zoning by use in favour of ubiquitous areas, re-using aged buildings into new ones, and thinking about every single aspect of planning in design with the aim of maximal interdependence.
Transformation is proposed via a radical strategy: the reversal of figure and ground, of public and private property. The immediate transfer of half the street space from the vehicular to the pedestrian realm will mean that the old fabric will be replaced both by an abundance of productive green space and a new labyrinth of irregular blocks. Fast movement will be accomplished underground in a highly modernised subway and along the rivers and new cross-island channels and waste materials will be mined from trash dumps to build seven new islands the size of Manhattan using automated, robotic threedimensional printers.
Copyright Architects Terreform ONE + Terrefuge, New York, USA