The building stock is retained for present uses or for adaptive re-uses (Charter Principles 4, 5, 27).  New buildings are shaped with shallow floor plates for passive heating, cooling, and ventilating; these are also modeled to accommodate flexibly a variety of uses and do so over time: groceries, doctors offices, retail (CP 12, 26).  The blocks are small with a fine-grain to maximize the choices for pedestrians (CP 12).

     Second, the proposed intervention reverses the urban morphology with the canal as the backside to the canal as the neighborhood’s public space as a Canal Walk (CP 19, 23).  Related is the intention to overcome the border vacuum of Fourth Avenue separating Gowanus from Park Slope and the barriers of the MTA and the interstate highway separating Gowanus from Greenwood to the South and Red Hook to the southeast.  These pragmatic transit and social connections depend on the strategic development of Union and 9th Streets.  North-south connections are improved in the new street bridge at Bond Street and its connections south via Second Avenue (CP 5).  However, the local character of the block and street morphology and building and place types is recognized and cultivated (CP 6).

     Third, the increase of housing, with a particular intention of inclusionary housing, is characterized by four strategies: in north Gowanus, infill, stacked-flats and loft conversions that build on the attractive late nineteenth-century industrial character; second, stacked-flats and larger types inserted strategically in Industrial District North; and third, dense, multi-story apartment building types within the pedestrian shed of the underused 9th and Smith Street MTA station and the location of an urban collegiate campus to the immediate south (CP 7, 13).  The density exceeds the 60DUA recommended in Dittmar New Transit Town, 2004 (CP 15).  A greater number of work force housing opportunities are achieved in numerous dense housing types whose scale does not require structured parking (CP 13).

District and Neighborhoods

     There are institutions, strung apace along the canal, that create interest and legibility.  At the head of the canal and comprising the northern third of the Market Neighborhood is a recreation center between the canal as a water-play amenity and a municipal park in the adjacent eastward block.  An active plaza, with the public market fronting two important east-west crossing streets, is the center for the Market Neighborhood (CP 19, 23, 25).  Close to the south, in the southern third of the Market Neighborhood, is the adaptive re-use of the subway power generation hall as an arts venue (CP 16, 19, 23).

     The mid-point canal divide, with the Nevins Street pedestrian bridge, marks both the eastern component of the Canal Neighborhood and the bound of Industrial District North.  The particular street activity of small-scale, light manufacturing, including artisanal industry with retail and exhibit opportunities would characterize the Industrial District North.

     The Canal Neighborhood, here, includes a concert esplanade with a conservancy institution to the east and a music school to the west (CP 19, 23, 25).  The Luquer Street pedestrian bridge connects to the western half of Canal Neighborhood with its community hall and library, and an adjacent school.  Alongside the canal and at the southern termination of a shared, mixed-mode street is the 9th and Smith Streets Station also serving the Canal Neighborhood urban campus to the south (CP 19, 23, 25).  Likewise, well-connected via the 9th Street and pedestrian bridges is Industrial District South (CP 10).


     The shared space street is a feature in pedestrian and biking corridor that could connect at the north to Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza and to waterfront redevelopment making its way round the Red Hook peninsula with future potential for connection (CP 8, 10, 11).

Source: CNU IL Charter Awards


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