Jan 29 2014
Fall 2013 Studio: The South Bronx, NYC
Rhoda Tsado

Hebatallah Elgawish

For the 2013 Fall Semester, MAURD students were divided into five teams of two to take on New York City’s five boroughs as a laboratory for urban design techniques. The focus was to develop innovative solutions that address the economic, social and ecological elements for each site to create a resilient community that adapts to socio-political, environmental and economic forces.

The Bronx team, consisting of Hebatallah Elgawish (bottom) and Rhoda Tsado (top), had a vision to confront South Bronx’s classification as a “food desert” (area lacking fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods). The project introduces Urban Agriculture as a development strategy, along with a set of tactical formal and programmatic interventions that attempt to mitigate the area’s anthropogenic and ecological challenges. The Bronx team proposed placing an urban farming system over the Metro-North Rail Corridor by leveraging the development air rights above the tracks.

With a phased development timeline that begins with integrating green infrastructure into the existing urban fabric, and zoning amendments to accommodate agriculture use through a network of greenways, the project ultimately creates food security through the reliance on a local food system. Access to healthy food, creating diverse economies, introducing renewable sources of energy such as bio-digesters, all generate robust, redundant systems that are key to a resilient city. This type of organic planning which focuses on community engagement and a holistic approach to urban regeneration, builds social structures that strengthen the fabric of the community.

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