Located only a few hundred yards off the southern tip of Manhattan, Governors Island is perhaps one of the most important but least known public spaces in New York City. After hundreds of years as a military and Coast Guard base, Governors Island is being re-opened to the public. Urban Strategies was part of a large interdisciplinary team charged with preparing a redevelopment framework for the island. Our team worked with the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) to achieve the goal of making the island an outstanding destination with great public spaces, heritage attractions, as well as educational and cultural facilities.
With fortifications dating back to the late 18th century, Governors Island has an exceptional inventory of heritage buildings. The redevelopment framework sought ways to reactivate this inventory of historic buildings with new uses. Additionally, significant infrastructure challenges were a major focus of the work. The redevelopment framework evaluated a series of options for the island while seeking to resolve contentious issues such as determining the appropriate program of uses, the optimal systems of access and circulation, and achieving the re-use goals for the island while maintaining a high level of historical integrity. The plan also established the framework for an outstanding new public open space for New York City that connects with other waterfront parks initiatives underway and allows residents and visitors to access the waterfront in ways that are impossible elsewhere in the city. Specifically, we created a General Project Plan to guide future development on the island, and crafted a comprehensive series of Design Objectives to ensure a high quality of buildings and open spaces.
In 2016, Urban Strategies was retained to create a Site Planning and Development Framework for the Governors Island Development Zone and Historic District. The project will provide the necessary plan and design guidance for the anticipated development of future RFEIs and RFPs, and will encourage a wide range of appropriate uses and activities to augment the island and its unique sense of place. Our team is contributing precedent research, urban design analysis, and identifying development requirements and scenarios; as well as contributing to optimal procurement and business strategies, site plans, massing scenarios, and site specific design guidelines.