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(Un) Fortify

Segregation caused by gentrification over the last decade is particularly evident for the inhabitants of Chelsea-Elliot and Fulton public housing in the Chelsea neighborhood. Developments like the Highline have catalyzed the widening of the income gap, leaving poorer residents in constant anxiety about an uncertain future. Before the onset of urban renewal, West Chelsea was home to immigrants and middle-class working families. Today, poorer residents of public housing located in the center of the neighborhood, find themselves surrounded by high-end developments. While around 255,000 New York families are on NYCHA’s waitlist, major tech companies such as Google own premium real estate in lower Manhattan, of which 18% currently lies vacant. With the shift to remote working, this significant empty space can be repurposed to create public housing and help resolve the city’s growing housing crisis. Pier 57, occupied today by the Google campus stands in isolation from the rest of the city. Its internalized operations provide neither inclusive dialogue with the environment nor the public. This calls for reimagining the pier as the site for new affordable social housing that helps relieve the housing deficit through radical intervention.