Roy Strickland – fresh food for new york

The COVID19 pandemic reveals systemic inequities across the United States. These include health care, economic opportunity, housing, and fresh-food access. In New York City, a ring of COVID19-infected neighborhoods encircles Manhattan—the most affluent borough—and crosses the outer boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn, locations of low-income communities of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans as well as immigrants from around the world. And within these neighborhoods, public housing projects—built as part of America’s 20th-century government-sponsored urban renewal—have been especially hard hit. Aging and poorly maintained, without services that are enjoyed by richer neighborhoods, the projects are centers of COVID19 co-morbidities including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease that flourish in “food deserts” with poor access to fresh food.

This section of Institutions Studio explores concepts for a food market as a means for creating a healthier neighborhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn, location of the highest concentration of public housing in the United States. It also investigates opportunities for new systems of food production and delivery that can contribute to the neighborhood’s self-reliance and economy, leading to design concepts crossing architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture. This expansive design approach is possible because Brownsville’s housing projects often cover less than 20-percent of their land with buildings, leaving open spaces that may be reconfigured around markets, food production, and related activities.

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Student Work

Autumn Bender – “Brownsville Co-op

Food insecurity rose astronomically in 2020 affecting all areas across the United States but mostly that of food swamps and deserts where access to healthy alternatives has been systematically lacking for long periods of time. Brownsville Co-op project investigates a multi-scale fresh food market concept for Brownsville, NY, one area that has faced effects of malnourishment present through rising conditions of obesity and diabetes. Across the larger urban scale, Brownsville Co-op explores the utilization of vacant plots in New York City, often directly located in connection to areas of need. Called the Adopt a Grey Space Program, this promotes local cultivation of healthy produce to dissolve high delivery costs, utilize local labor, and provide quick distribution of food to families in need. On the neighborhood scale, Brownsville Co-op proposes a multi-use community building designed near one of Brownsville’s three train stations and located on the corner of one of the many public housing sites in the area. The program highlights spaces designed for community connectivity; a main market is implemented to sell produce grown on site in the third level greenhouse, a community engagement space is designed to promote educational and engagement opportunity of all ages, and a ‘build-tofit’ office floor is included to promote the establishment of varying local business sizes and boost local economy.

Renwei Liu

The concept consists of a comprehensive market next to the Brownsville community. At the time of the new COVID epidemic, it solves the problem that many community residents cannot obtain fresh vegetables and food. At the same time, it hopes that the market can be combined with the local railway transportation, which is particularly important, addressing the needs of the population, while activating the local economy. The atmosphere of the night market is fully considered. It is hoped that this project can also improve the dark atmosphere of the local community at night, and bring safety, vitality, and happiness through the market.

The concept proposes a decentralized market complex, breaking the traditional big box shopping experience and returning to the old market era. The market is distributed along the elevated train track through the difference of the goods sold in the market, making the sidewalk under the track a place for people to communicate and gather.

By using a vertical transportation core to connect different markets and the elevated tracks, the concept introduces non-market functions such as restaurants, shared kitchens, shared learning spaces, etc., to create a multi-functional spatial experience while it serves as a landmark building to attract surrounding residents and passengers on the train to gather inside it.

The fragmented market construction minimizes the damage to the site, retains some original event venues, expands the area of public space, and provides a location for people to exchange activities.

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