This initiative is organized around four “regional corridors” in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region which together represent the full range of design challenges presented by the fourth regional plan.
In conventional practice, a “corridor” is a linear geography organized around transportation infrastructure such as highways and rail lines or sometimes a natural feature such as a river. In this initiative, a more complex and expansive conception of “corridor” is used, one that engages a wider range of considerations, among them cultural enhancement, economic development, natural systems services, and species migration.
This exhibit not only presents the four design teams’ visions for the region, but also situates those future visions within the ninety-year history of innovative design of the past three RPA regional plans. Where the past plans focused on Manhattan and a center-to-periphery hierarchy, these new designs explore potentials within four typologically distinct geographic and ecological corridors that comprise the region as a whole, revealing more complexity and diversity.Paul Lewis, Associate Dean of the Princeton University School of Architecture.
The corridor concept allows for the development of designs that engage issues that are germane to the territory and transcend the limits of a given place. Design strategies can be typologically identified using cross sections that are specific enough to be grounded in real case study sites but also abstract enough to be shifted from one location to another along corridors with similar conditions.
Each of the selected teams will be responsible for two sites in a single corridor, as well as a corridor-wide narrative. The four corridors should be compatible with the purposes of the fourth regional plan and final exhibition and will require collaboration with the other teams. The four corridors are described below:
The Highlands Corridor extends across the entire region from the Delaware River to Northern Connecticut. It is a kind of upland “green belt,” dividing the region between its coastal and upstate areas. The Highlands is comprised of a nearly continuous natural swath of green open space traversing the region. It presents an opportunity to link open and protected park spaces, allowing for improved access and recreational connectivity for the public, but also providing pathways for wildlife and species that may need to migrate northward as a result of climate change. The Highlands Corridor also serves as a backbone to a series of stream valleys and riverbeds that would connect the the Highlands to the coast, offering “geneways” to help coastal species migrate upland.
The ring of inner suburbs from Port Chester and White Plains, New York, through Paterson, Montclair, Rahway and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, present excellent opportunities for reinvigorating urban communities, creating new jobs in the places that need them most, increasing the availability of affordable housing, and improving existing or potential public transit linkages. These “first-ring suburbs,” defined as the Inner Ring Corridor, are a critical component of the region’s future—sites where population density might increase, and where innovative design approaches will envision positive transformation.
The Triboro Corridor envisions the transformation of an existing freight rail linking the three boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. The addition of light rail service along this freight railway would allow for potential links to seventeen to subway and commuter train lines. Each station along the Triboro also presents opportunities for transit-oriented development and connections between new residential and workplace nodes. It would enable new outer-borough connections independent of radial links through Manhattan. The Triboro Corridor has the potential to link many poorly-served neighborhoods with new employment, cultural, and open space opportunities.
The challenges to the region’s coastal communities from climate change and sea-level rise, from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Montauk, New York, are varied but share many commonalities along the Atlantic coast’s New York / New Jersey Bight. Through recent initiatives both before and after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in 2012, many excellent proposals for the adaptation and increased resilience of coastal communities have been developed. These are largely location-specific, but many strategies may be generalized along the entire New York / New Jersey Bight Corridor. Research indicates that this corridor is the location of many of the region’s most socially vulnerable populations, and strategic planning is imperative.