This course, entitled “Learning from Long Island City,” will immerse students in the real-time urban design challenges currently facing one of the country’s most rapidly developing neighborhoods. Once a city of its own before the Consolidation of New York in 1898, Long Island City’s history is as a mixed-use neighborhood with a significant natural, industrial, architectural and artistic heritage, much of which still thrives today. And yet, as development pressures become more widespread, the character of the area is fast changing.
Leading arts institutions such as MoMA/PS1, SculptureCenter, the Noguchi Museum, and Socrates Sculpture Park establish Long Island City as a vital cultural district. Manufacturing businesses are an active part of the area’s commercial profile, while two new Business Improvement Districts attract additional ventures. The core population of Long Island City—approximately 65,000 in 2017—is predicted to grow to 100,000 by 2022. New high-rise residential construction serves permanent residents as well as tourists. Long Island City Partnership reports that 35 new hotels have been built in the neighborhood within the past 5 years, while another 45 hotels are in the planning or construction phase. New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) is finalizing construction of Phase II of the Hunter’s Point South development in Long Island City. When fully built, this southern zone of the neighborhood will include 7 new residential high-rise buildings, as well as two new schools, roadway improvements, and a 30-acre waterfront park.
As urban designers, we will enter into this dynamic environment and engage the many stakeholders who are shaping the future of this fascinating neighborhood. Students will analyze masterplans as well as responses prepared by community boards, business associations, and local affinity groups. For the final project, students will prepare urban designs and spatial analyses to promote positive outcomes.