The Greatest Grid Competition
Given the girds ability to organize urban form, Enhanced Grid, proposes to do nothing with New York City’s existing fabric but rather reorganize its aging infrastructure. Originally set to tame chaotic growth, the grid has proven resilient through its adaptation, removal, setbacks, scale change, and now hybridization – the next logical step is to move it downward. By instituting an ordered, efficient, and adaptable underground network, growth and change can occur organically according to future advancements and societal demands.
Enhanced Grid redefines Manhattan with seven, north-south and eight, east-west corridors just below existing streets. These corridors compile and upgrade infrastructure while creating new forms of public space. Divided into three zones: Public Space, Transportation, and Utilities; the corridors absorb program like parking and self-storage, alleviating density and creating capital through additional real estate. Existing streets are replaced with a perforated smart surface that captures energy and allows light to fill the public space below. Subway lines are transformed to run directional making transit more efficient. Further, the utilities are stacked in a vertical shaft optimized for access and change. So when energy is no longer transmitted over great distances but rather captured and stored locally, batteries can systematically replace cable lines and buildings can simply plug-in.
Physical infrastructure is the last urban layer yet to be design beyond functionality. Its integral to any city’s vitality and a heightened public awareness is important. New York has evolved within the grid’s framework to form a dynamic metropolis, a living museum of culture and experimentation. By taking a step downward it will ensure an enhanced and vibrant future.