LES from SCRATCH


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It was once impossible for New Yorkers to believe that the Lower East Side could be a booming zone of boutiques, bars and beautiful people, but it’s even more difficult to imagine it as a self-sufficient, green mecca. But a group of architects did just that when they envisioned “Loisaida NY 2100” (get it? Lowa-easid-uh). Terreform is a non-profit organization that includes Michael Sorkin, director of the Graduate Urban Design Program at City College of New York, and its executive director, Mitchell Joachim, along with a dedicated team of thinkers and designers. Last year they were challenged to come up with a city from scratch and a group of 14 built a section of the LES in seven days that displays a radical reinterpretation of what it means to be in a thriving metropolis. Streets are replaced with low-lying buildings and productive vertical farms and green spaces create a sanctuary where tenements formerly stood. Sure, it’s not gonna happen, but the optimism contained in the idea of a city that could house, feed and thrive on its own will inspire and provoke further radical urban change.
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