The boundaries of a development

Atlantic Yards boundaries

Atlantic Yards boundaries

The approval of the controversial Atlantic Yards development has renewed my interest in political and economic boundaries. At a pivotal point in Brooklyn, this project will dramatically transform the character of the area by drawing new business and creating economic growth. The development promises to create a sense of place from an urban void—the yards, which are inaccessible to the public, and currently separate four communities.

Yet, there is an apparent tension between this planned place and the surrounding communities it promises to connect. The tension results from a collision of separate ideas as to what these places stand for, which addresses the core of what Brooklyn represents in the context of New York City. While the developer and the architect, Frank Gehry, have considered the residential low-rise character of the surrounding city, as with any new development, there is opposition to any change which may result, for a variety of reasons which shall not be explored here.

Instead, my interest lies in the boundaries of the area, within which this tension is inherent. The border itself is the interface between old and new, between reality and idea. It is an anticipatory space, in which one can experience the friction or harmony resulting from the collision of ideas—the idea of now, of what the place is, and the idea of possibility, of what it could become. Programmatically, boundaries shape any future development, yet also contain the memory of what a place used to be, or what it might have been. In addition to being a pragmatic device, they are a conceptual construct, a hypothetical framework. It is within this abstract shape that the concept of a place is evolving.

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