About two years ago a design team led by Benjamin Cadena submitted a proposal for a new master plan for the neighborhood of Red Hook when the Forum for Urban Design of New York set about seeking a way to spur sustainable economic development. What's interesting about this proposal is the way Cadena tries to unify sustainability with leisure.
"As sea levels rise and storm patterns become more severe, the low-lying Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook is at risk of severe flooding and imminent destruction. Looking past this bleak prognosis, an opportunity presents itself for Red Hook to redefine its future. Combining its infrastructure, leisure and transportation needs, Red Hook can transform itself into a sustainable neighborhood with a unique and truly progressive character. This proposal is a provocation. Attempting to couple both active and passive infrastructures, it asserts that there should be no separation between the impending pragmatics of our urban infrastructural needs and how our entire urban experience is effectively shaped. By making infrastructure readily visible in the urban environment, hybridizing its uses, and engaging multiple scales, a distinct, local and possibly more enriching city will emerge."
"A dam rises to surround Red Hook and provide protection from future flooding while creating, as a by-product, a new bicycle and pedestrian path. Circumscribed within this ring, a secondary inner loop completes the transformation of Red Hook into a bicycle and pedestrian safe zone; an island in a sea of cars. Stitching the two loops together, a network of bicycle stations not only provide adequate storage and bicycle services for commuters, residents and visitors alike, but are coupled with programs that introduce new uses and economic opportunities to this historic waterfront neighborhood."
"The marriage of infrastructure + leisure facilitates the realization of a vision, revealing new funding opportunities when resources are scarce and galvanizing political will where there is none. This proposal seeks to avoid superfluousness, waste, and ultimately irrelevance, and hopes to instigate the need to consider a truly integrated and holistic approach as we envision the future of any neighborhood and the city as a whole."
If you like to learn more about this conceptual proposal, there's a video right here
You can also visit the Forum for Urban Design for New York here
All images courtesy of Benjamin Cadena