Manhattan Ridge: Affordable Housing for Commuters

Honorable Mention
2018 Skyscraper Competition

Zhenjia Wang, Xiayi Li
United States

Manhattan Ridge: Affordable Housing for Commuters

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is a divergent tectonic plate or constructive plate boundary located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge includes a deep rift valley that runs along the axis of the ridge along nearly its entire length. This rift marks the actual boundary between adjacent tectonic plates, where magma from the mantle reaches the seafloor, erupting as lava, producing new crustal material for the plates and holding the only connection between the separating plates from being apart.

NYC, as a metropolis, has offered so much promise of either career or day-to-day life. Being a hub where millions of commuting workers, local residents, and visitors interact with each other, during the day and at night, providing the city with an energy generated from the exchange of ideas and knowledge through social interactions, Manhattan’s status as transaction-maximizing place is made possible by its remarkable carrying capacity. However, the increasing load of Manhattan prevents people’s residence in this place, challenges local workers’ everyday commute, and makes New York Dream unattainable. Traveling to and from work should be easy, efficient, and allow you to focus on what matters: your job; while, based on a survey, full-time workers in New York City spend about two hours more per week commuting — an average of 6 hours and 18 minutes per week – which is almost like another 8 hours work day. Work longer hours. Spend more time on subways and buses. Can’t even afford to live here.

According to a latest survey, 82% of Manhattan-bound commuters take public transit to work from the city’s outer boroughs, or from Newark, Jersey City. In comparison, commuting trips among Manhattan residents is more multimodal in nature, since the lengths of commutes are more manageable, and residents also have better access to the city’s extensive taxi and limousine network. People who work in Manhattan deserve a home in Manhattan. Manhattan has been over exploited and one can hardly find usable land to build new residential buildings. By introducing new type of land resource to Manhattan, people will be given new type of space to reside and live.

Our proposal mimics the process of mid-ocean ridge’s production of new seafloor results from mantle upwelling, where new usable space be created out of none by being elevated over city traffic corridors (avenues, streets, roads, lanes) in between buildings. Like Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which ties the spreading plates back together, Manhattan ridge is the formation to bound buildings’ elevation closer, as a whole texture. Rift valley-shape streets space atmosphere, which is typical to City of New York, will be reformed and re-defined, where the existing of gap between high risers is weaken, while human-scale street space is opened up. The repeating circulation of plates spreading, mantle upwelling, holding plates from spreading; this geological activity symbolize our proposal of dynamic vertical space creation. Here, “plates spreading” represents wider traffic corridors are needed, which means heavier commuter load Manhattan needs to carry. As a result, system shall reach higher to accommodate more needs, which, in return, could be pictured as ridge reaches higher because of crustal material upwelling.

In this proposed vertical system, there are three levels of space: street level, which is maintained as is; middle mix-use level, which is created by elevated from street level on top of array of giant columns; and the last, roof top level, that aims to farming activities and relaxing entertainment events. Ideally, in this proposed new giant social life model, people would be able to work “next-door”, consume and recreate “downstairs” and live really closed to their workplace.


Manhattan Ridge: Affordable Housing for Commuters


Manhattan Ridge: Affordable Housing for Commuters


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.

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