The project brief challenged each group to establish a planning, zoning and development scheme for Mott Haven, a neighborhood in the South Bronx. Our team determined that Mott Haven was already a vibrant community, and had the potential for significant growth without substantial modification. However, the neighborhood lacked a cohesive plan to draw the activity on its periphery into its heart. To that end, the proposal unifies small pocket parks into one long path, weaving through the southern half of the study area. Inspired by the greenways in Philadelphia’s Society Hill, the design incorporates existing parks and vacant lots beginning at the Plaza Borinquen. This network, the Mott Loop, increases the walk-ability of Mott Haven and helps to break up the long avenue blocks. Supported by a Community Improvement District Corporation, each park will be carefully programmed and serve as a vital part of the network.
The Loop’s true strength is its modesty and scale. The project does not seek to channel Haussmann but rather returns to the true scale of a neighborhood. In a place where government initiatives have demolished entire blocks, the Loop builds upon an existing fabric, requiring little to no relocation. Instead, unites and enhances what already exists. By connecting the parks, both physically and visually, the proposal will create a cohesive public realm in the neighborhood. It is upon this spine, supported with a new comprehensive zoning scheme, that the redevelopment of Mott Haven will begin in earnest. Yet, the proposal does not end at the park but rather plans for and incorporates the future housing and commercial development that will lead to the future of Mott Haven.