A Project of the Bronx Museum
With the Design Trust for Public Space
We want to hear from you:
Sam Goodman, Urban Planner, Office of the Bronx Borough President
The hope for my Grand Concourse neighborhood is that it will become a place where people from divergent backgrounds with varied incomes, political views and religious beliefs live and learn together. Think about it, as community diversity advances, employment opportunities expand, educational institutions perform more effectively and people discover that the fears of one group can be placated by the knowledge and experience of a neighboring group. At a time when all kinds of folks are rediscovering the West Bronx, the grandeur of the Grand Concourse apartment buildings and the potential of this area's superb infrastructure, it is up to us to seize this moment.
Shin-pei Tsay, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives
I would love to see the Grand Concourse as a grand boulevard for the Bronx. It should be a connector, but the road should also highlight the numerous neighborhoods and identities along it. Right now cars and buses dominate - I'd like buses to receive priority and more room be given to pedestrians and cyclists. People should use the street as a place, rather than as an expressway. The Grand Concourse could be an amazing conduit through the Bronx - it just needs some care.
Junior Architect, Fort Lee in New Jersey
The Grand Concourse connected in the center of Queens, NJ, and the city, Bronx.
It means a lot of things to us. Layers of the roads in the Grand Concourse with Lower Concourse will perform important roles covering those areas as the main bypass roads. The community that made by gathering a variety of people from each area should have new technologies & network to next generations.
Also the water supplied from Harlem River will be able to lead the Grand Concourse to the green & environmental area through a circulation system. The combination of the water, parks and the efforts for green-community by residents will refresh the entire area and each person in the Grand Concourse.
Finally, the ideas & space we create will make the real neighborhood.
I am not familiar with the concourse, though the bones of it sound amazing.
I strongly suggest, reintroducing nature and gathering places for people to renew themselves, and it turn this fundamental shift will renew the community on an ongoing basis.
Having lived in the Bronx for 2 years and NYC for 10, it is my conclusion that the greatest issue with financially depressed areas is ownership. The majority of the apartment houses in the Bronx are owned by outside interests from Riverdale, other boroughs, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and beyond. The ONLY goal of these owner's is to maximize profit from their assets. In the 1970's when their assets were worth very little, many of these owners opted to burn down their buildings b/c the fire insurance was more profitable than the rental income. The same group of people who burnt down their buildings in the 1970's still own property in the Bronx today. They provide bare minimum maintenance of the buildings, continually increase rent, and chop up apartments to cram more tenants into buildings. If the Bronx gentrifies, the same group of owners who ran the Bronx to the ground in the 1970's will profit from it's renaissance having contributed nothing positive to the borough besides inflating property values and the tax roll.
This competition will lead many to generate pretty pictures of greenspace, classical and modern architectures, etc. However, aesthetics is not the issue on the Grand Concourse. The existing building stock is beautiful! The issue is making building owner's accountable for the level of upkeep of their buildings. It is about the city planting trees and maintaining and improving the infrastructure. It is about preventing outside disinvested interests from owning property in the borough. It is about making property affordable to those who already reside and are invested in the borough in so many ways. Only those who live in the Bronx should be allowed to own in the Bronx! You cannot generate a rendering of that but I promise you it would be a beautiful thing.
as like any other thing related to men: things change. seeing the bronx only as an 'urban situation' is a limitation. and discloses so much more than just the inhabitants.
thinking in geometrical dimensions will cause another architectural form which will lead to another question: what will the Bronx be in about 20 years?
a city is like an organism.
it needs space for evolving.
not only in the dimensional way, but more to flexibility and change.
The Bronx's new boulevard needs to be a centre of cultural, artistic and interconnected spaces. This boulevard needs to bring the life and history that makes the boro of The Bronx so unique to visit.
The Grand Concourse can be developed into a location that people can get off a bus, cab ,or train and experience The Bronx of today through new methods of getting to the Grand Concourse and enjoying the events and shopping without having to leave the boulevard. This idea of not leaving the boulevard will bring more business and tourism to the area around the boulevard.
The Grand Concourse needs the right mix of supply and demand. In order to revitalize the Grand Concourse of yesterday, the architects and designers of today need to provide an impacting idea that will change how people view the Grand Concourse today. I believe the Grand concourse can be the force that changes The Bronx for the better by becoming an area where people flock for entertainment, discovery, or experience a different atmosphere. This Grand Concourse can do this by being an area that hosts different parades, primarly the Domincan and Puerto Rican ethnic groups. By adding green space into the Grand Concourse, there could be small concerts or open salsa/merengue music dance classes. This will bring more visitors to The Bronx of tomorrow and become a destination that is more than a ballgame to Yankee Stadium.
Grand Concourse is one chance for idea of humanity to give to people more space to live out with picture create for human proportions. Eclectic tradition of USA history should be send in the future of Bronx position in real world culture. Gaudy messages for how to create open space for esthetic and function of life for people who live there , and also of dose who like to visit and spend material invest in one new world of change vision`s of different culture in the name of spirit that build American society is kind of vision that I like to imagine. Open light and green positions with water decoration`s is something that human sense for beauty deserve to be give from us like creators of architectural richness. Invest in better and more beautiful world and perspective is never losing money.
I would like to see public spaces be subservient not to corporate "spaces and identities" but to wider community of the Bronx.To a better communication between this multifaceted community, and for a better awareness and enrichment through energizing and exiting public visual means.
I Hope that the Grand Concourse can be transformed into the grand boulevard that it truly deserves to be. I personally want the medians of the streets to be like the ones on the west side Hudson river park with beautiful well maintained trees lining the boulevard in a neat and orderly fashion with flowers and other exotic shrubs in company with the trees. In the future I hope for more community and pedestrian space with a newer world class street that will be more attractive to tourists and the people of the Bronx alike. Maybe then we rename the street the Grand Concourse and boulevard. As it should be.
new york city
I agree with Richard Garey. Urban planning, architecture and art have to go beyond beautiful renderings, drawings, pictures or plans. Positive urban planning deals with social issues of ownership, proactive community involvement as well as the environment of the place protected by city laws that need to encourage a better life for all of those who already live in the borough and who have worked and fighted for the Bronx so long. Thank you for the challenge!
It's the best time for an urban planning project of this kind in New York City and the world.
All comments are opinions of the posters and not the Design Trust for Public Space. The Design Trust reserves the right to edit any comments posted on this site. All comments become the property of the Design Trust for Public Space and may be reproduced.
Intersection of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road, 2006. Courtesy Ruth Fremson/The New York Times.
Intersections: Grand Concourse Beyond 100 is a project of The Bronx Museum of the Arts
with the Design Trust for Public Space.