The recommendations have been made as part of Neighborhoods Now, an initiative launched by the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute to support areas as they work to reopen over the coming months.
Arup collaborated with the Community League of the Heights (Cloth) and a team of designers that included Design Advocates, Woods Bagot, Stantec and Gensler. They have developed a range of revitalisation and community-building strategies for Washington Heights. The group partnered with community members including local business and property owners. The resulting recommendations are detailed in a final report anchored by three concept proposals designed to activate retail stores and restaurants and provide safe outdoor space for residents of all ages.
It was important to the team that the designs proposed for Washington Heights were not just conceptually sound, but also flexible, affordable and implementable, said Arup urban planner and project manager Zach Postone. “We wanted to provide a final product that went beyond high-level strategies and could give some tangible next steps to move elements forward,” he said. “Since one of the major challenges to implementation is navigating complex legal and permitting requirements, we wanted to map out the process as clearly as possible.”
To this end, the report provides detailed design recommendations, prototypes, fabrication instructions and implementation guidance sourced directly from city agencies, including the New York City Departments of Health, Parks & Recreation, Transportation and Small Business Services.
As the next step, Van Alen Institute and the Urban Design Forum will work with the four neighborhood teams to collect and collate their recommendations.
Arup’s work on the project was made possible by funding provided by Arup Community Engagement.