Capstone Courses and Projects

Manhattan Community Board 1

World Trade Center Neighborhood Livability Plan Prepared for Manhattan Community Board 1
Community Board 1 asked the Capstone team to create a livability plan for the neighborhoods surrounding the World Trade Center site. Even before the tragic events of 9/11, the Community Board has worked to develop, grow and improve Lower Manhattan. The project study area includes the neighborhoods below Chambers Street between Broadway and West Street in Lower Manhattan. Given that the focus of rebuilding has been on the World Trade Center site itself, our charge was to focus more on the areas surrounding ground zero to better connect the site with the larger community. Our goal was to create a plan that would yield a vibrant, mixed-use community which functions as a center of business, culture, tourism and residential living alike. The plan addresses issues of overall accessibility, pedestrian, mass transit and vehicular transportation, residential construction and conversions, retail development, open space, cultural and educational facilities, and streetscape design.

Independent Research

9/11: The Response to the World Trade Center Attacks
This research paper compared the experiences of recipients and non-recipients of aid from the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks on September 11, 2001. It hypothesized that there are distinct patterns of aid and exclusion from aid that help to clearly reveal an increasing bifurcated social and economic class structure in New York City (NYC). On one side, there is a contingent of a global financial elite that lives and works within NYC. On the other side, there are low-wage service workers, undocumented immigrants, and entire immigrant communities and other marginal groups, who have suffered from both the direct and indirect impacts of the attacks, but have received pitiful forms of assistance when compared to their counterparts. The response to the WTC attacks has mainly served the interests of the global elite based in NYC, whether in planning, economic and community development, or security at the expense of other City residents.

Independent Research

9/11 and The Department of Design and Construction
In addition to the taking of lives and the destruction of the towers, the attacks on the World Trade Center, created a leadership vacuum. Fortunately, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), a little known city agency, was able to quickly organize the clean-up effort that began almost simultaneously with the collapse of the two towers. This research paper looks into the unique characteristics that allowed individuals at the DDC to bring order and leadership to the chaos of Ground Zero.

Independent Research

After September 11, 2001 - The Impact of Terrorism on Lower Manhattan Business Relocation Patterns
On September 11, 2001, business in Lower Manhattan changed in a way that no one ever expected. The attacks destroyed and damaged approximately 40 percent of Lower Manhattan's commercial space and immediately cost downtown the temporary loss of 114,000 jobs. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) reports that of the 1,134 businesses that were displaced, 823 firms left Lower Manhattan and resettled in 881 locations: more than 192 moved to Midtown Manhattan, 96 to Manhattan's Valley, and 21 elsewhere in Manhattan for a total of 309 Manhattan destinations above Lower Manhattan. In total, New York City retained some 811 firms with 81 percent of their employment (92,100 jobs). In addition to New York City, Jersey City and Hoboken, New Jersey's two prime waterfront cities, gained 103 firms from Lower Manhattan, while Long Island picked up 25 firms. While numerous research organizations have compiled and analyzed these statistics in greater detail, little is known about why individual businesses actually decided to relocate outside of Lower Manhattan. After holding interviews with some of the businesses that relocated and analyzing past information about particular business relocation decisions, this research paper intends to report and analyze the specific concerns and reasons businesses had for leaving Lower Manhattan.

Independent Research

Notes from the Underground: The Mass Transit Response to Terrorism
Public transportation security became a main focal point after the September 11 attacks. How public transportation agencies responded to the attacks provides unique case studies for transportation planners and managers. With transit systems open and accessible to terrorist aggression, these agencies must come to terms with complex policy issues and make a noticeable shift toward reflecting the new context in which Americans live. This paper reviews recent trends in public transportation, offers insight into how select transit agencies have responded to past terrorist incidents, and finally recapitulates the latest responses by public transit to the events of 9/11 in the New York region. It is the intention of this study to use these agencies’ experiences as a framework for further evaluation and to examine how public transit managers and planners can contribute to terrorism preparedness in the future.

Independent Research

Transportation: A Crucial Component in Shaping the Future of Lower Manhattan
Transportation is a key determinant in a region’s economic health and potential for future growth and development. As planners, architects, government officials, and citizens’ groups delve into the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan following the attacks of September 11, it has become clear that the transportation network is the first crucial piece that must be put in place to shape the region and provide an anchor for development. Not only does the transportation network need to be constructed underneath whatever future development occurs on the World Trade Center site, but the framework for the improved transportation network must be in place in order to keep the businesses in Lower Manhattan from leaving and help drive future development. Currently, $4.55 billion of the $21 billion federal recovery package has been allocated specifically for developing the transportation network serving Lower Manhattan. With the myriad of transportation plans and projects being proposed, a strategic analysis is necessary in order to assure that both economically and socially responsible decisions are made. This paper, begins to analyze the major transportation proposals for the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan.