WHAT: 40+ Ideas for an affordable tower 5, World Trade Center
WHEN: May 2022
WHERE: Citygroup, New York City
Twenty years after the September 11 attacks, 130 Liberty Street (Site 5) is the one parcel of the World Trade Center (WTC) master plan left undeveloped. On this publicly owned land, Silverstein Properties and Brookfield Properties, working with Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), have proposed a 900-foot-tall mixed-use tower with 1,200 residential apartments. If built, it will be the only residential building on the 16-acre WTC site. Under the current plan, 25 percent of the apartments (300 units) will be rented under market rate and designated for tenants earning below 50 percent of the area median income. Given the severe lack of affordable housing in downtown Manhattan, a group of residents and activists, called the Coalition for a 100% Affordable 5WTC, have mobilized to argue that the Site 5 tower should be composed of entirely affordable units. The developers behind the current proposal claim that this degree of affordability is untenable, given the enormous construction and labor costs of building a supertall tower in Lower Manhattan. Countering this, the community coalition, which has significant political support, argues that providing deep affordability at a publicly owned site purchased with federal funds is a crucial political and symbolic gesture. (It also advocates for a tenant preference for 9/11 survivors and first responders.) In support of the coalition, Citygroup and the New York Review of Architecture (NYRA) invited designers to imagine an alternative, fully affordable vision for 5WTC. Participants in this exercise were required to insert their proposal into the perspective image used by KPF. In addition to appearing in this exhibition, the 100 percent affordable proposals are featured in issue #28 of NYRA and were collectively submitted as a public comment to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The images will further be used as advocacy tools to support the community coalition in its effort to make 5WTC fully affordable.