Urban Operators: Red Hook

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Challenge: Foreground programmatic agendas and needs of the community to effect everyday use of neighborhood spaces.

Solution:  Creating places for urban initiatives by appropriating spaces [distribution container sites, parking lots, barren sidewalks and vacant lots].  The operator makes use of community oriented programs and activities ranging from games at the sports fields to everyday recreation [fishing along Erie Basin].  Occupying both physically vacant and conceptual temporally ‘empty’ [off-hour parking platforms] spaces, the operator extends its reach into the neighborhood.  A vertical element with seating at the base provides a plug in point for neighborhood food truck vendors.  Powered by photovoltaics, the operator triggers activity in various locations throughout the neighborhood.  Each user becomes familiar with the element in their typical neighborhood zone.  When moving through the neighborhood, residents recognize the element in different locations, encouraging the user to pause and engage the new location, potentially interacting with others who may be doing the same.

Whoever occupies the space, the operator invites a new dimension of everyday urban rituals providing a transformation range from the economic [daily lunch economy replaces weekly sports field] to the socio-cultural [restructuring social patterns and flattening differences].

Research performed while attending Columbia University Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design program with Melissa Williams.