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Made in New York – Exploring The Potential Of Vertical Urban Industry

Part 2 Project 2014
Stuart Beattie
University of Cambridge Cambridge UK
In the past few decades the world economy has seen a global shift of industry eastwards to the emerging markets of China and India purely for economic efficiency but not innovation. The rate at which urban populations are expanding will impact upon how we perceive the strategies of sustaining our cities with regards to supply and demand. The rise of global cargo shipping has seen the ability of local industries to move their production to areas of low labour, tax and land costs. However, the onset of rising labour costs in East Asia, higher transportation costs, a weaker dollar, rising U.S. productivity and cheaper energy are only enhancing the argument for more localised production that is closer to the consumer.

This project explores the possibility of an alternative to inefficient horizontal industrial sprawl by considering the prospect of a new vertiginous architectural typology in the form of a vertical factory devoted to the stabilisation and re-integration of manufacturing in inner city New York. Arrayed along the post-industrialised Brooklyn coastline, the industrial cluster, composed of seventeen uniform vertical factory towers, would cater towards the neglected light manufacturers thus acting as a physical and economic buffer to nearby development-led residential construction. The project is seen as not just another egotistical attempt to surpass height or imposition but for the project to serve as an example for the city, an industrial paradigm or archipelago to be read as one single entity within the eclectic skyline of New York.

In addition to a declining manufacturing sector, not aided by recent re-zonings or passive policy measures, the pressure on manufacturers to relocate in the face of development-led socio-spatial conflicts will only grow exponentially with a burgeoning population and an ever increasing reliance on imports. By reconsidering the potential for a new industrial spatial paradigm, it could dramatically alter how we perceive strategies of making and consuming ultimately as an instrument for the retention of the local manufacturing base culminating in a more economically diverse, stable New York.

Stuart Beattie

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2014
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