Green Infrastructure Design Build Studio: Nourishing NYCHA – Building Up Brownsville: Cultivating Community

Students | Sebright Browne, Luis Diaz, PanktiMehta, Aishwarya Mukund, Joseph Dakota Pelly, Kats Tamanaha
Faculty | Ray Figueroa-Reyes, Elliott Maltby, Gita Nandan
School of Architecture, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment

With NYCHA building blocks in Brownsville, BK in focus, and Green City Force and Universe City as additional clients, the project cultivates community based on the four pillars of water, food, health and wealth. With green infrastructure interventions like rain gardens and permeable paths that manage stormwater, in amalgamation with community gardens and urban agriculture, a circular economy is set up that also creates many green jobs. Numerous design interventions promoting resilient community growth are proposed.

The elementary components of water, food, health, and wealth are combined via the project in Brownsville and channeled towards the community development to multiply the benefits and supplement co-benefits which would form a circular system, making the interventions proposed by the project resilient and self-sustaining.
Students mapped the existing conditions and services like parks, demographics and wealth distribution, community health, community gardens and zoning relevant to the development and overlaying the proposed recommendations and nodes of major interventions.
The major interventions that are recommended through the project are rendered to create a vision of the possible landscape of the NYCHA block that could be achieved, incorporating running pathways, food production, and water management.
A rendered site plan depicts the locations of the rain gardens, solar arrays, pathways, greenhouses, rain plaza and urban farm; all the design interventions that will transform the community of the NYCHA block through productive and performing landscapes.
A section is cut through the proposed stormwater management infrastructure. The flow of water is diverted into green infrastructure and landscaping, and away from the sewers by the funnel plaza into the storage tank, and infiltrated via rain gardens and permeable pathways.
A circular system of the proposed urban agriculture and community solar kitchen that will not only provide fresh produce and healthy meals but also harness rain water and help generate green jobs.
Each target pillar (food, health, wealth, and water) is addressed through multiple interventions, leading to ecosystem service provisions and other health and wealth outcomes, helping address historic deficits in the NYCHA campus and surrounding Brownsville community – such as food access, stormwater runoff, mental health, and unemployment.