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Responsive Infrastructure – Re-establishing the Streets of Manhattan

Part 2 Project 2012
Natalie Chelliah
Leeds Beckett University, UK
Responsive infrastructure combats the paradoxical problem of lower Manhattan's future; a city with a footprint slowly sinking into the ocean while its population consistently expands. Less space, but more people. An new city infrastructure is created that not only elevates the previously 2D sidewalks into a 3D matrix of interconnected bridges, but also provides endless possibilities of inhabitation and use.

If the 2 dimensional grid of Manhattan represents the early 20th Century's mechanistic, reductive view of nature and our place within it, the suspended city then redefines our relationship to the earth and the environments we have constructed. The dynamic network is the new model of all complex systems and life. Unbound by its restraints to the earth, the city enters a new stage of evolution.

With sea level rise and flooding as the main driver, the proposal addresses both this growing population and the future effects of climate change on Manhattan. The scheme creates a new neighbourhood within one of the severely affected areas, where a series of small interventions are introduced to replace what would be lost, and reinforce what could be saved; from one particular site. Following this the other affected areas of the city would be addressed, and the same theories and philosophies could be applied to relieve them.

Natalie Chelliah


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