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The Common Urban Oasis

This project aims to encourage and foster a more equitable food environment for the Morningside Heights locals. Their accessibility to sufficient nutrition is compromised at the face of rising gentrification in the neighborhood, as local supermarkets are forced out and replaced by ‘higher-end’ supermarkets whose products and prices are more accustomed to higher income groups. In addition, as research suggests that merely 10% of each household’s food variation purchases can be associated with their access to nearby markets, education around nutrition needs and eating habits are just as essential to the provision of fresh and healthy foods.

Located adjacent to the 125th station along Broadway, the urban farming project occupies the spare FAR on the roof of an existing pharmacy and supermarket and is intended to perform, architecturally, as a gesture that connects infrastructures and alleviates the ground.

By growing and exchanging locally sourced foods, the intervention gives back to the commons under the schemes of equitable access to nutrition, provision of education, and job creation, through key programs such as a community garden/farm, community kitchen, and fresh food market, as well as utilizing its intimate connection with the train station for deliveries and transportation. It aims to primarily educate the low-income households’ caretakers of all racial groups in the community in the hopes that they would transfer their knowledge to the care-receivers. However, the experience is open to all.

Manifested as an urban oasis, the design not only serves as a catalyst for local nutrition equitability but also as an experiential garden. It is a getaway from its fast-paced urban environment that welcomes all to enjoy and, in turn, ‘harvests’ cultural exchange and raises awareness for the hardships of communities.