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Ask: 48 Acres in South Brooklyn
YSoA, Spring 2022
Critic: Pier Vittorio Aureli, Emily Abruzzo

In 2008, NYC DCP identified decking over rail yards and corridors as among the few remaining opportunities for urban development at a large scale. Forty-eight acres of new ground above the defunct Bay Ridge Rail corridor in South Brooklyn provide a site to refigure the relationship between New York City, third sector develpers, and tenants. To develop this corridor, the city will maintain ownership of the deck but leases its air rights. Rather than losing long-term revenue by giving tax relief through 421-a, the city provides short-term construction subsidies to third sector development organizations. 

Giving primacy to third sector housing acknowledges that housing is not an end in itself, but a means for a dignified community life and for the constitution of political power. By lowering their rent burden and providing facilities for the socialization of domestic work, this development allows residents to work less and participate more. The open courtyards are convivial spaces for neighborly encounters, and general assemblies are held regularly in the ground floor commons. The design of the urban villa aims to support tenants within and beyond their communities, improving their immediate conditions and allowing them to organize a viable threat to private investment’s stranglehold on the housing market.

Collaborator: Adare Brown