Under the Elevated

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Community Collaborator

Chinatown Partnership


Neil Donnelly, Graphic Design

Susannah Drake, Urban Design

Chat Travieso, Participatory Design

Douglas Woodward, Policy

Lead Sponsor
Buro Happold

Addtitional Support

Under the Elevated is also made possible through the generous support of:
NEA logo

NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs
New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency

In partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) the Design Trust is embarking on a plan to transform space under New York City's elevated transit infrastructure.

This new project, entitled Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities, will engage community leaders, planners, architects, artists and cultural organizations to develop strategies to maximize the function, use and spatial qualities of the millions of square feet of space underneath New York's bridges, elevated highways, subways and rail lines–from dark, litter-strewn expanses of parking under the BQE to arched gateways beneath the 1 train in Harlem.

Under the Elevated will produce design guidelines as well as programming and policy recommendations that will inform the trans-formation of spaces citywide and around the world.

In the early and mid-20th century, a massive transportation system was built in the City of New York, including miles of bridges, elevated highways and rail lines, creating a multi-layered city. These structures cleaved neighborhoods in all five boroughs. In most cases, the space underneath became neglected and dispirited.

Recent community-driven studies, guerilla art projects, and public demand for more plazas and open spaces have demonstrated the need for a comprehensive citywide survey and set of guidelines to make the process for designing and programming spaces under elevated infrastructure more accessible.

Under the Elevated will build on the success of the Design Trust's 2001 project, Reclaiming the High Line, in partnership with Friends of the High Line. This planning and feasibility study was credited with rescuing the structure from demonlition and advanced strategies for transforming an abandoned elevated railway structure on Manhattan's West Side into the vibrant public space it is today.

Advisory Committee  
Debra Allee
Founding Partner, AKRF

Michael Blaise Becker
Executive Director, Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project

Robert Balder
Executive Director, AAP NYC, Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

Jonathan Butler
Co-founder, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg; Founder, Brownstoner.com

Wellington Chen
Executive Director, Chinatown Partnership

Aimee Gauthier
Chief Program Officer, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

Andrew Kimball
President and CEO, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Robert Paley
Co-chair, Urban Land Institute New York Infrastructure Council; Director of Transit-Oriented Development, Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)

Linda Pollak
Principal, Marpillero Pollak Architects

Leslie Schultz
President, BRIC

Samuel Schwartz
Founder, President and CEO, Sam Schwartz Engineering

Russell Unger
Executive Director, Urban Green Council

Gregory Wessner
Executive Director, openhousenewyork (OHNY)

Special Thanks Press
Linda Pollak, Principal, Marpillero Pollak Architects, for sharing her research and expertise

Robert Balder, Executive Director, AAP NYC, Cornell University, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, for developing a related studio

"Under the Elevated: Fellows Named to Study Reviving New York City's Gritty Underbelly"
(June 13, 2013)

"Design Trust Embarks on Plan to Transform Space Under the City's Elevated Infrastructure" (May 1, 2013)

"NEA Spring Grant Announcement—Art Works
(April 23, 2013)

"Nonprofit Wants to Build Parks Under Train Tracks Overpasses" (May 2, 2013)

© 2013 Design Trust for Public Space, 40 Worth Street, Suite 603, New York NY 10013  212-695-2432   info@designtrust.org