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The Cooling, Ecological Rewind

NYCHA complexes in the Upper West Side are situated in historically redlined areas. Heat is experienced more in these areas due to disincentivization of public cooling infrastructures such as trees and parks. The Amsterdam Houses serve as my case study in UWS – the buildings are made of bricks that have high heat retention and the complex is also surrounded by taller buildings and skyscrapers where heat is trapped in the complex. To offset anthropogenic influences that instigate the Urban Heat Island Effect, my project proposes to activate the roof areas of Amsterdam Houses as cooling areas via trees and landscape (which also house programs such as urban farms and lookouts). More than just a cooling entity, the landscape is a reflection of the Manahatta, where the Amsterdam Houses were once were – marshlands and wetlands will be experienced by both the NYCHA residents and the public. This landscape also acts as a memorial to the Lenape land and to its historical flora and fauna. The rooftops will be accessed by a public elevator and a leisurely route by its residents: a retrofitted ramp and a vegetation corridor that wrap around the NYCHA buildings.