City of Refugees
The Post-Industrial Reinvention of Brooklyn creates a growing urban frontier between the rich and the poor of society. The neoliberal shift of the city created a system of uneven development in the city and this economical model strengthens the exclusion of the urban poor. These people become urban nomads, migrating into the economical least attractive neighborhoods. Economical ghetto’s are forming themselves at the outskirts of Brooklyn. One of these economical ghetto’s of the poor is East New York. The city has always tried to integrate these groups into the urban tissue of Brooklyn with a wide range of initiatives like the zoning laws and public private initiatives but the ideal state of integration has never been found. A lack of Economical impulses makes that these groups never get out of these isolated situation, and are never allowed to make an economical jump in society. We can question if there still is a place to stay for the economical excluded in the neoliberal city?
I want to think in a way that social exclusion becomes a strength instead of a weakness for these social groups. By isolating these groups not only physically but also economical, a new way of city organization can emerge. A self sustainable block that doesn’t need the city, only for the influx of it’s inhabitants. Within the walls of this enclave agricultural activity, referring to the historical economy of the area, takes place to be the self sustaining economy of this community. The combined use of landscape and architecture makes an isolated oasis.
The peninsula condition of the site naturally creates a state of isolation. Thinking how to use this condition in a way to address in how far the enclave deals with the larger context of the city is one of the challenges. The other peninsulas of the Jamaica Bay have all used this condition to form social strong local communities, but the Belt Parkway still provides a necessary economical connection with the rest of the city fabric making them commuter towns, suburban car-driven neighborhoods. The economical and ecological sustainability of this type of living ideal is highly questionable, but the associated lifestyle is a very strong identifier. Combining a design of architecture with the design of an economical model can address this situation.