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THREE LARGE-SCALE URBAN DESIGN EXAMPLES

In the map on page 173, Battery Park City (BPC) is the shaded area. To the immediate right of the shaded area is West Street, which ran along Manhattan's waterfront until the creation of the landfill on which BPC is located. The World Trade Center site is the large box to the immediate right (east) of West Street at approximately the north-south midpoint of BPC. The large notch in the BPC landform at the same latitude as the World Trade Center site is the BPC boat basin.

The ground plan of Battery Park City, built on 80 acres of landfill on Manhattan's west shore. The large open area to the right of the mid-section of Battery Park City is the site of the World Trade Center.

Above, a view across the boat basin with a mass of office and commercial space just beyond. Below, part of the esplanade viewed looking north. The New Jersey shoreline is visible across the harbor to the west.

A residential area viewed from the esplanade.

Battery Park City represents a large and highly successful urban design effort done under public auspices. The development organization, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), was set up as a public benefit corporation by the New York State legislature in 1968. Its purpose was to develop 92 acres to be created by landfill on the Hudson shore of Manhattan adjacent to the World Trade Center and the city's financial district.

Streets, blocks, open spaces, utilities, a 1.2-mile-long esplanade along the Hudson River, and the allocation of land uses were all laid out by the project's designers.

The buildings, designed by independent architectural firms, conformed to height, bulk, and other guidelines provided by BPCA.

One characteristic of major urban design efforts is the long time horizon. BPCA came into being in 1968. Funds were obtained through a bond issue in 1972, and the landfill was completed in 1976. Work was suspended for several years because of New York City's financial difficulties, and BPCA was reorganized in 1979. In 1980, construction of the first building began.

Battery Park City is now largely complete. It contains a resident population in the 11,000 range living in approximately 6,000 units.2 It also contains a mass of office and commercial spaces, much of it visible in the photo on page 174. There is also a boat basin visible in the photo and beyond that a ferry terminal to accommodate trans-Hudson ferries, largely for commuter use. The riverside promenade shown in the photo offers splendid views of the Hudson and is very heavily used. Altogether, BPC is a highly successful development.

 
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