PROGRAM: Aikido Urbanism

SITE: Coney Island, NYC

CONTEXT: New York City, USA


Coney is and will remain a MUTANT appendage at the farthest shore of New York City. Coney is an agglomeration of all of it’s histories and should continue to simultaneously move each agenda forward. Coney will continue to evolve through mutations— this vision will accelerate it’s hybridity.

After Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City, estimates predict that Coney Island will mostly be submerged over the course of the next thirty years. If this is a given, Coney Island should embrace these forces alongside the forces that have defined it throughout its own diverse history. Coney Island and Jamaica Bay as a networked refuge for people and creatures as far from the city as possible.

PLACE: Maps throughout New York’s history reveal the continually unstable condition of Coney Island

LEGACY: The Amusement Era; endless day, the edge of NYC, freeforall, electric bathing, freaks, fires, taxidermy

MOSES: Robert Moses; parks + parkways, displacement, public housing, safe fun

WILD: Elephant execution, SeaRabbit, flooded aquarium

Coney Island floods from the back bay and will inevitably become an archipelago regardless of storm surge protection. Tie these islands together with buildings and allow it to change and accepts this new change of identity.

Allow flooding—use debris for archipelago. Build new flood-proof housing over time while allowing the islands to mature and grow.

PHASING: (2020) Cut + dredge a canal to create a new archipelago (2050) Develop extents + archipelago (2080) New coney

Coney Island from Brooklyn across the newly flooded back bay to the North. A new postcard for the city.

1: AIKIDO: Redirect the momentum of the attacker (rising water level) into a productive outcome—accept the loss of land by creating new resistant land.

Shift the debris to the islands and allow redevelopment and natural island growth through the accumulation and enrichment of sediments from the tides.

New buildings will be layered hybrids of housing, ecosystems, and workplaces. Vertical and floating massings are desirable among the islands.

As land is lost, new land is replaced above any foreseeable water level surges. A lifted city of platforms makes the most sense.

Housing is propped up to always be safe from water level rise while parks and landscapes collect, manipulate, and react to shifts.

A continuous housing building staggers across the main district with hopes to add on to it over time. It connects to the train station, historic districts, and ballpark.

Linear park/housing development type—the park is understood as a continuation of the boardwalk.

2: MUTATE: Blend program and ecosystems and accept the new identity and outcome of these hybrid scenarios

The New York City aquarium is reimagined as an integral urban program. Hydroponic pools, water parks, and aquariums are interspersed throughout the islands provided jobs, hybrid overlaps, and attracting tourism and leisure.

Curated wildlife and real wildlife collide and selective capture and release is performed throughout the archipelago.

A section across the city shows the prototypical differences between the lifted housing, ground level aquatic zones, and Aikido islands.

(1) Housing (2) Aquatic Hybrids (3) New Zones

3: EDGE: Establish Coney as a process of sequential extensions that move and establish Coney Island as a layered city.

Rewild the archipelago with species that have left the area. Eliminate people and then slowly introduce them back into the ecology. Rinse and repeat.

New development will restore the destroyed ecology of Coney while allow inhabitation on a new raised level.

Establish a baseline relationship between the now flooded territories of the old Coney island with the newly established islands.

Maintain a wild zone free from the city. Evoke the unchecked freedoms of the original amusements but with landscapes instead of structures.

The edge of the archipelago—natural ecology restored + mixed with follies for public exploration + inhabitation.