Gowntown sprung from the many questions raised by Columbia University’s expansion into Manhattanville. As urban universities grow, might there be a better way to equitably spread resounding impacts and resources to surrounding neighborhoods? Might there be a way to better connect higher education with all other levels of education and training? Might there be a better way to interface with community members and groups so that the evolution of these neighborhoods can happen on their terms? Might there be a better way for institutions, large and small, to be stewards of the natural world?
Gowntown proposes a planning paradigm focused on institutional and environmental connections. It uses Columbia University and the Manhattanville neighborhood as a case study in design and planning. The plan suggests that by improving the physical and social connections between educational, cultural and human service institutions, their collective impact on the communities they serve can be greatly augmented.
This project is published by Terreform's imprint, UR (Urban Research) as Gowntown: A 197-X Plan for Upper Manhattan (UR, 2016).