Emergent systems within social, cultural, and/or political contexts evolve from limited sets of parameters that are unique to their agency and conditions. This limited scope of information drives and demarcates their rates of growth, their rates of degradation, their functions and their shifting morphologies. However limited and isolated, many of these systems are capable of achieving a high degree of complexity while retaining their independence. The existence of these systems, regardless of typology, complexity or proximity, can also be limited by their mutual isolation. This lack of integration may serve to sustain individual systems within their specific levels of agency and performance but may also serve to restrict their mutual enhancement via the integration of multiple systems and the perceptions they evoke. By proposing the development and deployment of a robust network of data collecting sensors and applying specific filters to the information that they create, we propose the emergence of heightened collective awareness of the pressures acting on Newark that would otherwise go undetected – pressures that when disseminated collectively, play an active roll in the social, cultural and political context of Newark. Thus, the effects of these individual systems can be interwoven to create a responsive fabric of information.
Predicated on increasingly specific information, contemporary culture continues to perceptually reinvent itself through novel integration, expression and representation of information. The perceptual degree to which it actually is changing has been, in large part, become simultaneously empowering and deceptively exploited. There are extensive and growing numbers of resources that are designed to track all conditions acting on a ‘site’ – site being topological, physiological or psychological. Simply put the ambitions behind tracking all of these ‘conditions’ [orbiting] can vary from concern for public safety and security to, conversely, concern for the safety and security of economic and political interests [orbited]. Although the development and deployment of tracking technology is also controlled by these ambitions, the empowerment they provide also operate under varying levels of agency and transparency.
There is evidence—stuff that exists. The stuff exists, but it doesn’t matter to anyone, except perhaps to the thing that created it. And in that case, it has only a singular meaning for that individual.
The original creator of the evidence does not matter. What matters is the meaning given to the evidence (and, perhaps, by extension its creator) through observation and subsequent reconstruction by the detective. The evidence only has meaning to the detective once it is traced by him. The act of tracing, or constructing meaning, transubstantiates the evidence into trace.
Tracing is a process of discovery. The revelation of meaning through observation and construction exists in the process; it does not inhere in the evidence. The tools that the detective uses for tracing—the decoding machine, translation device, the scope—shapes the meaning. So does the mind or hand that wields it. The observer is not passive behind the scope; his eye is inseparable from it, fused in the relation of tool and mind.
Newark's present problems are vast and far beyond repair by any conventional method. Newark began as a thriving industrial city in the early 1900s, however, most of its employers left the city decades ago. After years of political and social dysfunction, more than a quarter of its residents live below the poverty line. Newark used to be a thriving manufacturing center, and at its peak, around World War II it was a city of 450,000. In 1967 Newark was the scene of various riots that resulted in deaths and millions of dollars in damages. This led to the title of America’s “worst city” and by then its population had decreased to 280,000. Corruption, crime and unemployment have been a persistent problem in Newark: 5 of the last 7 mayors have faced criminal charges, in 2008 Newark's unemployment rate reached 14.3 percent the highest since 1994, and while there have been efforts to reduce crime in Newark, it continues to be well above the state and national averages.
Newark’s proximity to the sea and the Passaic river basin has resulted in repeated flooding due to river overflows and heavy storms. Annual expected damages in the basin due to flooding are over $161,000,000 and there have been 10 federal disaster declarations in the last 42 years. Since 1900, 26 lives have been lost, $6 billion dollars in damages and if a flood equivalent to the one in1903 was to happen again it would result in over $2,240,000,000 in damages.
Sea level rise is a reality that is and will continue to impact Newark’s coastline. Recent studies of sea level rise along the New Jersey coast show a rise of 3 to 4 mm/yr, however this number is predicted to double in the near future and continue to rise due to global warming. In addition to its location, the engineered nature of a large area of Newark’s land has become a cause of concern considering the hazards posed by sea level rise and severe coastal storms.
Increasingly it is being recognized that engineered shoreline stabilization is economically inefficient and ultimately only a short term solution. Instead, flexible adaptation strategies that recognize and plan for the dynamic nature of coastlines should be promoted.
Can Newark’s imminent flooding and sea level rise be turned into a controlled system that redefines Newark’s geography and becomes the framework from which a restructured and rehabilitated city will emerge?
Newark’s continuing rise in water, will ultimately affect how people move, how they interact and how they communicate. This will result in a general restructuring of the city and its communities. Through specific and controlled interventions the city’s geography can be modified to suit a landscape with rising water levels while simultaneously reshaping Newark’s urban fabric.
The creation of a controlled and interconnected system of bodies of water throughout specific areas (those most in need of restructuring due to high crime rates, high number of vacant lots, and lack of open space and education) will give Newark the opportunity to evolve and gradually restructure itself as the water level rises. This will not only provide a preventive system for water level rise, it will also provide the opportunity for a new beginning where the city becomes a living memory of what it once was, and of what it now is.
At a local scale, a factory worker is defined by the monotony of their operations; however these seemingly banal actions have a direct and drastic impact on a global scale. Although an exceeding amount of trained workers in Newark exist, stagnancy threatens the rapidly growing demand for local and global exchange due to the port’s drastic contamination and inefficient freight infrastructure. These two major social and economic hindrances must be realigned in order to avoid a collapse of the local system.
Drawing upon Debord’s theory of detournement to subvert convention, a new significance can arise for the city. The proposed new industries would heavily draw upon old methods to incorporate global efficiency, however contextually they would act and appear very different. By redefining the purpose, scale and location of the distribution centers, improved social values would be established for the Newark’s citizens.
To remedy the crisis of isolated and inefficient distribution, a seamless infrastructural network would need to optimize the areas transportation system creating a link between local and industrial zones, while supporting spaces for new distribution centers to be conceived. This redefinition would enable the worker to realize their skill potential in a way that provides tangible improvements to the city in the realm of their trade. The proposed factory network would be made possible by remediation of the polluted media. The acting prototype would monitor vapor and detect the given parameters, finally to respond by remediation. This would ultimately clean the land in order to enable utilization and allow for growth.
Barren lots and abandoned buildings are inherent to city infrastructures; it is vital in such a space starved world to better utilize them to reflect the needs and wants of their surrounding communities. They must transition from secondary problems to primary functions. This can be done in Newark by exploiting the underutilized spaces for their positive attributes. They lend themselves to the implementation of hybrid program systems formulated through the study of a set of model systems. Once the model for a new system in programmatic insertion is established, it will be able to proliferate throughout the city. The fact that these spaces exist throughout the city means that the intervention is able to serve larger areas of need as opposed to isolated sites. Through our study of displacement and vacancy we are interested in establishing new forms of dwelling and recreational spaces that will be more successful than the models currently in place in Newark.
Michael Dolatowski and Katherine Kania
The objective of our thesis is to create a city-wide campus for the citizens of our city to engage in a public discourse and exchange. This will be accomplished through a pedestrian infrastructure that will facilitate an infiltration of the archives of New York City in an effort to aggregate these institutions and result in a sense of distributed ownership of the cultural/social capital that they contain. We envision a system that allows for public access to this form of non monetary capital, and by doing so makes the potential gains in all spheres of life greater. Through a distribution of public spaces and the implantation of connective tissues between them, we can create a system that will trigger transient personal experiences of togetherness and exchange. We need access to the city’s body of knowledge to extend that knowledge into a fluid body that will inhabit un-programmed spaces of the city.
Online universities have physical campuses that are not bound by geography and are capable of reaching a much broader group of consumers, and thus provide a provocative model for our intervention. These models are often controversial and ethically debatable as they use a set of devices aimed at the accumulation of capital through the exploitation of students/consumers rather than working towards the social value of education. However, the way in which they accumulate real estate and use it as a means of distributing education and gaining agency is a model that helps clarify our desire to distribute cultural capital within the city through acquisition of new territories as satellites for existing institutions.
We also look to recently-developed car-sharing networks such as Zip Car to define a business model with a set of protocols we want to engage. These networks take a material entity, challenge its previous mode of operation, and reposition access by subdividing, aggregating, and redistributing agency and perceived ownership in a way that is viable for a growing community. In a similar way we have begun to define a logic that takes the static body of cultural, educational, and institutional fabric of the city, and redistributes it through a network, making its intangible contents a fluid body that will inhabit the potential of un-built space. The maximum allowable F.A.R. in New York City is a territory that can be activated to accept this new body and allow it to find its form. The territories offered by F.A.R. form a virtual landscape in the city that is defined as a limit on the fabric’s capacity to house additional built environments. This F.A.R. has not been exhausted and its residuals can be conceived as the volume that we want to modulate and distribute taking from the previous stated zip car protocols.
Our goal is to create a space of stimulation, intellectual exchange, delight and wonderment, a space that is engaged and informed by the citizens who use it, facilitating a wider distribution of social/cultural capital and enriching the public discourse.
Images and videos from the midterm review of Spring 2011 Carla Lores and Michael Yarinsky
During the 1800’s, yellow fever, cholera and typhoid outbreaks in New York City’s main water source caused the need for an upstate watershed system to allow the city to grow. We are nearing a similar crisis threshold again. With a greater population in the city, there is a greater strain on supply infrastructure such as water and sewage management. Along with this strain, there is also a decrease in the available territory to dispose of sewage and collect potable water. New York City’s Watershed is a site in crisis. Not only is there a larger demand for water due to the growth of the population, but due to further suburban development in upland areas, water catchment sites in the watershed are not as hygienic as once thought.
We chose to use a suburban site within the watershed; Carmel, NY. Connecting the parcels with the highest capacity to hold sewage with the least amount of risk of contamination while evading sites of high risk and limited capacity we created a provisional infrastructure that can begin to address the contamination issues of the site. This network can be used to direct sewage in greater quantities while the sites of high risk are left alone.
EVOLUTION OF THE SUBURB
If we look at how suburbia developed, we see that this living arrangement emerged as a response to the perceived filth of the inner-city. Among other things, disease, crime, and pollution were perceived as trademarks of the city. The problems associated with density and overcrowding of many urban centers were “solved” by leaving them, into less dense more hygienic zones. This hygienic mentality has and continues to be cultivated in suburbs. But beneath those manicured lawns and suburban smiles, the ugly side to suburbia is continually concealed. Residents fail to see the impact that their lifestyle has on either the planet or the local community
One major tool has led to the development of suburbia. As Reyner Banham has said, “(The gizmo) is a small self-contained unit of high performance in relation to its size and cost, whose function is to transform some undifferentiated set of circumstances to a condition nearer human desires.The minimum of skill is required in its installation and use, and it may be ordered from catalogue and delivered to its prospective user.” Suburbanites rely upon gizmos to create their own self-sufficient mechanized bubbles. With the drive to higher technology, gizmos have become more unstable, more user-alterable, and more multi-featured. Gizmos today are linked not to objects but to interfaces. This logic of networked gizmos can be used to generate a new system of material exchange for the suburb.
Passive Flow Landscape
Based on a topological study using sand and cavities to represent the density and area of groundwater contamination risk, a landscape was generated. The areas that are highest upland have the highest ground water capacity and lowest risk, and the areas downland have the lowest groundwater capacity and highest contamination risk. This relationship is key to the remediation strategy, by creating a topography that channels effluent water to these specific sites. Using this landscape and the provisional ground mapping, we propose an exo-landscape that sits above the ground level to channel water towards sites that are closest to the water table. Within this landscape, more active systems engage the processing of sewage.
In order to engage the constructed landscape a residential appliance aids in the pumping a household’s sewage into the thickness of the surface.
Reverse Flow Tower
Reverse Flow Towers are placed at the high points in the landscape, creating a negative pressure via the pumping of air. This pumping draws the sewage from the residences up, away from the sites of high contamination risk and towards the sites of highest fluid capacity for processing.
Biogas Processor and Depository
Below these tower sites are biogas waste storage and processing units. These use a combination of active pumping and filtration membranes and passive ground seepage to process the sewage into effluent water, releasing the filtered water back into the ground. The biogas method also generates methane which can be used to heat residences or processed into electricity.
Overlaid, these layers create a new material ecology within Carmel. Since the sites of highest contamination risk are protected, New York City’s Watershed is more protected than previously. Because the system is automated to deposit and process waste into the sites of highest capacity, the system as a whole has a larger capacity for sewage. The capacity after the system is in place, is so much so in fact that Carmel can begin to accept sewage from other areas, like New York City itself.
The estimated capacity of the system to process sewage is 13,000,000 ft3 per day. This amount of sewage processing is adequate for approximately 250,000 New York City dwellers, who use approximately 52 gallons of water per person per day. The city in America has traditionally been seen as a support mechanism for the suburb, we propose to turn the tables and have the suburb begin to support the city in a more commensal arrangement. In this arrangement, the city is allowed to grow and the suburb is allowed continued growth even though it has already been territorialized by the city.
With our project we hope to blur the boundary between clean and contaminated, urban and suburban to degrade the hygienic culture of the suburb and to create a greater connection between the city and the suburb.
Images and videos from the first review of Spring 2011
Carla Lores and Michael Yarinsky
By Hiram Rodriguez and Tai-Li Lee
Hydraul Data-phora/Hyper Data-topia
Visualized by colorful liquid crystal, sensitive capacitive surfaces, while physically constructed from layers of electronic circuits, silicon layers, fibers optics, hertz, and optimal algorithms, existence of the Internet infrastructure is either imagined as complicated surfaces and algorithms, or incomprehensive signals sparkling and transmitting under some pipes, tunnels or processing agents. Despite keyboards, mouses, touch panels, and bills, Internet is commonly conceived as neither tangible nor responsible – It’s the ultimate abstraction and escape of the physical world.
A soul without body is soulless. Its abstraction and lightness therefore finds no formal and physical conclusion.
We aren’t surfing the web soullessly. Indeed, each soul of our clicks weighs almost seven grams of carbon dioxide. Foretold by the Moores’ Law, with a technical capacity growth rated 1.5 per years, the Internet never ceases its hungry; with expending demands, weight of its infrastructure had already exceeded its environmental responsibility. Data Centers,as one of its most essential elements, consumes hundreds times more electricity than ordinary buildings. In New York City particularly, with a population of eight millions and fifty mega-bytes average bandwidth per person, a total 430 tera-bytes of data is processed each second. Its size equals to entire memory of 359 persons, and its energy consumed is ten times more than a typical nuclear power station in the United States.
On the other side, the rise of network security problems and infiltration agents such as Wikileaks, also questions the necessity of concrete-armed data processing/storage infrastructure such as the AT&T Lone Lines Building at Thomas Street. As its security and efficiency becomes more representational in years, New programmatic relationship between network user and infrastructure is needed.
By standardizing data center units and reconfiguring them with degree of mobility, infrastructure is able to reach higher performance with less environmental impact.
By distribution data center units, and hybridizing them with existing urban mobile infrastructures, infrastructure is able to form new relationships between information and programs.
By Hydraulic cooling technology, such relationship folds further into different programmatic possibilities. Data center Infrastructure is now filtering waters and reducing its heat-production by distributing hot water to local community and utilizing cooled water for vertical farms/plantation.
By vertical farms/plantation, Data center infrastructure is even able to generate higher efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide level.
By Carla Lores and Michael Yarinsky.
The suburban periphery presents a stark alternative to the city; it seemingly operates as a refuge in the outskirts, hidden away and severed from the public nature of the dense city. In this realm, one can pursue a certain sense of freedom and separation from the city-center. These peripheral environs operate as outlets for the city, providing potential escapes.
Traditionally a city could only grow as a large as the support area surrounding the city allowed. This threshold that generated the star-like pattern commonly seen throughout Europe does not exist anymore in modern cities.¹ With the advance of technologies of distribution, storage, and disease control, the modern city has been allowed to grow at a blistering rate without most of the spatial limits that constrained the growth of the European city. The capacities of water and sewage management, though, continue and will continue to hold a limit on the modern cities’ growth.
New trends are prospecting the inevitable decay of what we now know of as suburban culture. People are abandoning their homes in the suburb, seeking asylum in the city.² Can the environments left over from this exchange be re-purposed by the ever-growing city – the body in need of relief?
¹ Peter M. Allen, “Dynamic Models of Urban Growth,” in Cities and Regions as Self-Organizing Systems, (Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis, 2007) 29.
² Christopher Leinberger, “The Next Slum,” in The Atlantic, March 2008, accessed September 20, 2010, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/the-next-slum/6653.
Regulatory policies are often conceived as the primary focus of criticism that is rooted in governmental deficiencies or market failure. Narrowly defined, regulation is set forth through a series of local administrative controls that deliberately preserve previous social and political climates by embedding them into the urban fabric with the intention of managing the form of the city. To this end, the problem lies not with regulation, in and of itself, but with the preserved tracts of the city that are carried through time and forced to exist in climates to which they cannot adapt. These tracts, or residual enclaves, are the physical manifestations of this form of regulation in the built environment, and serve as the primary focus of inquiry into the regulatory network.
Through an improved understanding of the effects of the enclave on the local community, a higher degree of community sustainability can be achieved that addresses municipal economic, environmental and community actions that extend beyond land use and planning. New sustainable regulatory protocols must be informed by past experience as well as a new understanding of human behavior, societal needs, and the limits of regulatory capabilities. The nature of these regulatory initiatives must be posited in a way that constructs and nurtures the residual enclaves as dynamic and robust, and functions in concert with the evolving social and political climates that it currently exists in. At this level, pieces of the past are moving simultaneously with current climates creating a situation that is limiting progress as it pertains to efficient sustainable regulation.
This project seeks to address the effects of the residual enclave by acquiring a new methodology and systems of intelligence to negotiate antiquated modes of regulation. In its current form, the enclave has become a stable fixture within the city and positions the inscribed communities to search for loopholes or illicit means to manage them. These illicit means behave as counterprotocol to the regulatory network and challenge the fundamental elements of its origin.
Conditions of urban decay and abandonment are beginning to spread through New York City at a rate not seen since the 1970s. 2008 was the first year on record that the DOB kept records of stalled construction sites and the foreclosure crisis has wreaked havoc on some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Landlords default on payments and renters who never engaged with dangerous mortgage financing have come to account for half of the cities foreclosure victims. Simultaneously the NYC Dept of Homelessness together with the NYC Housing Authority have been advocating for an approach which stresses permanent housing over the typical transitional shelter model.
With this in mind we propose a new type of transitional housing membrane which can be applied to the exterior of vacant buildings. The purpose of the membrane is too provide varying degrees of housing for a shelter resistant population while also aiding in the eventual renovation, development and re-occupation of the abandoned structure it is adjacent to. Through the use of a high tension system the membrane will be quite literally an index of the housing development process taking place in the South Bronx.
Deployed by the New York City Housing Authority, the membrane seeks to promote a way of life that is about the collective fulfillment and empowerment achieved through attaining housing ownership. Via a “rent to own” model, tenants can occupy space within the membrane before the building supporting it is even under renovation. This provisional form of occupation will eventually lead to a highly durable form of occupation and ownership as the renovation process unfolds and tenants build community while building homes.
Zakiya Franklin | Peechaya Mekasuvanroj
The Pavilion is designed to housing all forms of performing arts activities in different scales for the community. Our infrastructure itself is the physical art object, the medium, to be molded from the tools, being the users. The users of our infrastructure use their body as a medium to induce the changes that occur to the architecture. The outcome is a configuration that is a reflection of the user reaching the point of contentment with the space for their particular activity and scale. Certain mechanisms are used to gauge the activity levels that trigger the changes that occur within the infrastructure. These mechanisms are tools that we have identified that measure one’s personal satisfaction; density, frequency, movement intensity, pitch, and duration. The spatial configuration has two primary scales, the individual and the collective, and the transitions between them.
To create a market typology onto a site, does one propose to bring the archtypal storage to the site or bring the program to the pre-existing architecture? For this arguement to take place, the site in consideration is Union Square in New York, which currently plays host to several types of markets that manifest themselves throughout the year at different seasons of the year. All of these markets are temporary and have to consider set up and break down times each day they intend to be there. What the intervention seeks to create is an architecture that allows for a level of permanance in terms of storage that can cater to the markets that manifest on the site. The architecture for this proposal is not one of simply placing storage onto the site, but a systematic unpacking of spacial qualities that relate to types of markets and organize them in such a way that the flow logic relates to what happens on each level of the site. The architecture seeks to exploit the site in a way that relates to the way distribution systems are exploited in the movement and distribution of goods, as well as peoples and so called non-tangible items, such as property leases. The way the intervention unpacks and organizes itself onto the site relates to the level of exploitation and what type of spacial qualities are a result of those types of markets, in terms of spacial density, circulation flow and ability to distribute throughout the architecture. One other part of the proposal for bringing storage to the site is that the “units” can be active or inactive in regards to the market, meaning that when a particular area of the architecture is considered inactive is when it is not being used directly in relation to the market, it can unpack itself and adapt another program, depending on its location and relationship to other parts of the site.
Should big box retail exist in New York City? The physical space required often prohibits such programs from existing in cities as dense as this, but perhaps the flow of goods and volume could be utilized to produce new land for these typologies to exist. If this were the case then no longer would big box retail cast the same political shadow it historically has. Instead it might offer a unique opportunity to channel the American consumer’s force into a land building operation. These images are from the Crisis Front Midterm Review and depict a range of studies that collectivity attempt to harness the power of global logistical flows and direct that energy into a tangible good that can be given back to the city. Currently the dredged materials form the Hudson River are carried out into the ocean and dumped because of their toxic attributes. However the toxicity levels are dropping and for the first time since an industrialized New York, the sediment collected from dredging operations has the potential to remain in the city and be utilized in a land forming process. With a system in perpetual growth and change like that of the shipping infrastructure and big box retail, coupled with a local material, a new dynamic between infrastructure and the consumer is on the horizon; one where you directly participate in the creation of new topographies.
Images from the first review of Spring 2010
Rebecca Caillouet and Roxanne Sadeghpour
The project as it exists thus far… Explorations in scenario planning and parametric system development.
Mike House and Victor Orriola
Excursions on Volume Erik Martínez | Shawn Sims
Images from the first review of Spring 2010. These pertain to studies of volume fluctuation within port infrastructures for their harvesting and application as possible land growth and extension.
System Exploitation Ashkahn Bazl
The trade of illicit consumables along different paths and points across the globe reveals an intricate system of overlapping networks through which these goods are stored, transported and distributed. Some networks are in place and revolve exclusively around the trade of one specific and many times disproportionately lucrative product, and others tend to facilitate movement of many goods falling under a general category. There are certain protocols that are observed within each of the networks by both operators, licit and illicit. The level of specificity pertaining to the particular consumable or set of consumablesdictates to a certain degree the types of protocol or counter protocol utilized in the construction of the illicit network.Points of transportation, exchange, storage and distributionof the consumables are all opportunities for the illicit networks to exploit the existing licit ones to continue their operations. The illicit networks often locate themselves within the context of a hyper dense, high traffic urban landscape. This type of urban context allows for areas of local camouflage that overwhelm the senses and as a result one does not notice the particulars when movingthrough these areas. It is within these hyper dense and high traffic zones of conditions that legitimate market conditions acquire a scale of ambiguity in terms of authenticity,legality and legitimacy that create spatial and infrastructural pockets for infiltration by the illicit trade networks.This allows for the simultaneous existence of both legitimate market and trade of illicit consumables. These areas of simultaneous existence present a zone within which to intervene. Since these types of conditions operatewithin the cityscape, it has an affect on the operations of the city, meaning that the illicit network does not have to abide to the regulations that the licit networks have to. However, there is an intelligence within the zones that both operate that allows them to indeed work simultaneously, and it is within these zones that an intervention proposalcan be made.The illicit networks use and exploit certain sets of protocolsto allow for their continual operation within the licit networks. In order to locate these areas of duality withinthe hyper dense urban context certain protocols and qualities have to be identified to make the connection that there is a zone of duality that exists. However, the continualexploitation of and operation within licit networks by illicit ones relies on several factors that also become transparent within the cityscape in regard to municipal and law enforcement practices. One instance would be that there is insufficient and/or incomplete evidence that is preventing law enforcement agencies from shutting down operations. In other instances the illicit networks are alreadyso far embedded into the legal or legitimate urban fabrics and practices that they are unable to be separated from each other. One context created when the networks become so far embedded within each other and there is an open disregard for the operation of illicit network practicesis that the illicit practices have an understood value to the licit ones. Meaning there is a creation of touristic, economic or cultural values that is undeniable to the identityof the city.The infrastructural proposal is to intervene in these existingzones to create a foreseeable continual existence betweenthe licit and the illicit networks. More specifically, intervene within the zones that seem to be far too embeddedwithin each other to take apart. The proposal is not to rip apart and shut down such operations, but make them more transparent to the public and have it become a fully legitimate system that the city can still embrace as an identity.