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Reclaiming the Gap

Throughout Midtown Manhattan, the rigid city grid is often interrupted by inconspicuous paths that intersect the blocks which form the grid. Once publicly accessible, these paths now exist merely as liminal spaces between commercial buildings: inaccessible, neglected, and filled with mechanical junk and material waste derived from years of unsustainable building operations. Taking these neglected gaps as a host site, this intervention seeks to blur the division between territories of infrastructure and territories for the public. A new system is proposed to reclaim the “gap” in three ways: 1) Revitalizing the gaps as pathways for pedestrian access, 2) Inserting a new infrastructure for localized material recycling of paper, glass, and plastics derived from the buildings, 3) Expressing this infrastructure as a performative experience that invites the public to participate. Visitors can obtain recycled material derived from the buildings on the block, or meander throughout the intervention and gain insight into the various processes and machinery required for material sorting and repurposing. As a proposed network of revitalized gaps throughout the city, the intervention reconsiders the relationship between public life and the infrastructure that sustains the life of New York City.