The past week or so at work I’ve been engaged in analyzing the first built phase of a multi-acre redevelopment here in Chicago. A portion of the site actually overlaps with a redevelopment plan I worked on in school. My school project was developed out of sustainable principles, and I thought it would be an interesting way to analyze a controversial redevelopment in Brooklyn, NY: Atlantic Yards.Atlantic Yards - RenderingPedestrian FriendlyProximity to basic commerce and public transit are critical to any successful sustainable residential development. My Chicago proposal built on the existing local precedent of commercial street hierarchy, which allowed for easy pedestrian access to basic commercial needs, bus and train lines. There were also a number of railway viaducts that existed as community and pedestrian barriers that we developed solutions to reconnect the neighborhoods.Atlantic Yards relies heavily on its relationship to transportation hubs, as well as providing on-site commercial amenities.Transit MapAtlantic Yards is also intended to connect neighborhoods by transforming the current barrier of rail yards into a connective fabric of parks, residences and commerce.HousingIn the Chicago proposal I investigated, I focused on low rise, high-density prototypes, incorporating courtyard houses, town homes and 3-4-story walk up flat buildings.Architect Frank Gehry has developed Atlantic Yards 16 high-rise residential and mixed-use towers, arranged in a public park.Gehry ModelOne successful precedent for this approach is Detroit’s Lafayette Park.Open SpaceThe approach my classmates and I took in our development proposal was to make a garden city of sorts. Our open/green space was the spine of the project. All other elements (residential, commercial, industrial) are tied together with a park system that includes new and existing parks and new green streets, which facilitate pedestrian movement through the cityLandscape architect Laurie Olin has designed the open space that connects the multiple towers. The space is primarily public and encourages a wide variety of activities.Laurie OlinIn part 2, I will discuss additional sustainable measures, including landscaping and water treatment.

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