The Sustainable City Task Force
Atlantic Yards
Hudson Yards
Javits Site

View of Manhattan from Downtown Brooklyn

Every aspect of PlanNYC 2030, whether it be land use, transportation, congestion, energy waste or air pollution, is related to the general issue of the comprehensive urban form, to which much more attention should be devoted if we want positive results. That means rethinking the relationship of the city's structures to one another and to sunshine. It also means interlacing a variety of urban functions with private housing around a lively public space where people will walk and meet each other.


Developments in the Bronx or Queens usually take the form of dreary housing, with at best a few shops at the ground floor. Instead, if we created real secondary urban hubs with a proper critical mass—dense, mixed-use neighborhoods, with housing but also offices, light manufacturing, jobs, services and leisure—they would ease congestion in Manhattan without having to resort to pricing.


What kind of dwellings can be offered? Let's start with a door to the outside, so residents will no longer need to settle in the distant suburbs in order to keep in contact with nature. Let's offer stepped housing, with privacy and views all at high density (a type considered by Henri Sauvage, Adolf Loos and Paul Rudolph).

Let's look to Patrick Hodgkinson's Foundling Estate, and Neave Brown's Alexandra Road—both in central London—with their conservatories and gardens on all floors.

Patrick Hodgkinson's Foundling Estate, central London, provides successful gardens and conservatories on all floors. 

However, the estate is cut from the general urban grid by a few steps. The central space is therefore dead.

Neave Brown's Alexandra Road, London, has only half of the dwellings facing south

In our proposals for parts of Paris, Edinburgh or Aomori, we have endeavored to fit passive solar design into a dense mixed-use urban context, with a flowing urban grid and a "crown" of solar terraced housing facing south. Let us now experiment passive solar urban design in New York.

Unlike the examples above, the Sustainable City Project lets 

the urban grid flow through and turns all the dwellings towards the sun.

Study for a grid with arterial, local streets and a variety of plazas (plaster model - JL Msika)