Alliance for Downtown Releases Study Imagining a New ‘Lower West Side’

03/20/2012
Alliance for Downtown Releases Study Imagining a New ‘Lower West Side’

The Alliance for Downtown New York has released a visioning study to guide the transformation of 41 acres south of the World Trade Center from an isolated section of Lower Manhattan into a thriving, densely packed, round-the-clock neighborhood.

The study was led by designers from Architecture Research Office and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, with support from Morphosis, WORKac, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects, Coen + Partners, IwamotoScott Architecture, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, DeWitt Godfrey, Transsolar Climate Engineering, OpenGraphicDesign and Jorge Colombo.

It establishes a set of principles for reconnecting the neighborhood—at the southern end of Greenwich Street—to the many vibrant hubs of creativity around it. The result would be a “necklace” of neighborhoods down the Lower West Side of Manhattan.

The study presents immediate ways to encourage organic growth in the Greenwich South area in addition to long-term visions for what the area could be. Essential to the process is restoration of a through Greenwich Street northward from Battery Park.

“Revamping Greenwich South is the final step not only to developing a fully walkable, fully welcoming Lower Manhattan, but also to unifying the West Side with a single thoroughfare    from Battery Park to Chelsea,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance.

“The plan draws upon the essential components of what David Rockefeller saw as a vibrant Downtown,” said Robert Douglass, Chairman of the Downtown Alliance. “If these ideas come     to fruition, Lower Manhattan—in fact, the whole Lower West Side of the island —will become a more integral part of Manhattan.”

"I’m excited by the formulation of this group of world-class designers and urban planners," said Timur Galen, Co-Chair of the Greenwich South Committee.  “The plan is a ‘now’ and ‘then’ solution. It puts forth relatively simple transformative ideas that can be completed immediately, yet at the same time, plants the seeds for larger visionary projects that can be implemented in the future.”

Although Greenwich South represents a pivotal part of Lower Manhattan, its great promise has been obscured by carelessly placed infrastructure. It was first isolated from the rest of Lower Manhattan six decades ago when the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel was built on its southern edge. Its isolation was intensified by the World Trade Center, which came later on the north, and by West Street on the west, and by steep, narrow side streets to nowhere on the east.

The Downtown Alliance’s study recommends ways to reconnect Greenwich South with the neighborhoods along its edges—the Financial District, Battery Park City, the World Trade Center and Battery Park—as well as with the rest of Manhattan.

While a reconnected Greenwich Street would string together a series of arts districts and creative hubs along the Lower West Side, it would also lead to greater commercial growth   within the area of Greenwich South.

By connecting Greenwich South with Battery Park City to the west and the Financial District to the east, Greenwich South would become a crucial Downtown anchor district—the linchpin that holds together a strong group of Lower Manhattan neighborhoods.

The study sets forth five principles for influencing policy decisions and future development in the Greenwich South area.

• Encourage an intensive mix of uses.
• Reconnect Greenwich Street.
• Connect east and west.
• Build for density, design for people.
• Create a reason to come and a reason to stay.

“This study,” said Frank Sciame, Co-Chair of the Greenwich South Committee, “is just the beginning of what we hope will be an ambitious planning and design effort that will forever change the character of Lower Manhattan.”

For more information on Greenwich South, please see our Web site at http://www.downtownny.com/programs/greenwich-south and visit our exhibit in Zuccotti Park at Broadway and Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan.