Coney Island Research Questions

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Coney Island Master Dissertation Studio @ International Master of Architecture, KU Leuven, campus Sint-Lucas, Ghent. These are the research questions that all master dissertation students formulated last week.

Eva Meirsschaut

Sheepshead Bay has a long and rich heritage of a fisher’s village. Over the years, this culture has gradually been pushed back by commercialization and pollution in the water. How can the fishing tradition be reintroduced so that the fish industry flourishes again in Sheepshead Bay, without putting the recovering water biotope in further danger?

Hannes Decancq

There is a certain contradiction in discussing the development of a flood zone. Maybe people shouldn’t be living there at all.
What is the role of an architect and how do we produce space in such a place? The existing formulas of space configurations shift with the flooding of the neighborhood. How do we maintain the intrinsic richness of the streetscape and what are the social implications of this shift in collective space. We need to (re)define the use of parks, squares and streets and question certain stereotypes of housing, vegetation… We’re not only dealing with everyday ‘emergencies’ here but the occasional emergencies, like the floodings, put a huge strain on the community.

Charlotte Bolle

Coney Island counts several parking lots that are abandoned and not frequently used. How can we upgrade these in between spaces, and involve the Russian community at the same time?

Ruben Janssens

By searching for the overlap in different territories, an intervention (or a system of interventions) can offer a chance for all actors to appropriate the space, to bridge the gap in their memories, while also taking in account and integrating the social, environmental and climatological challenges the context offers. How can, by looking at the territorial overlap, a margin be created which is beneficial for all stakeholders?

Mateusz Szymanowski

By repurpousing unnecesary non-residential parking lots , a urban accupuncture can reshape the the local communities. Rising all planed structures, could save them from destruction, during a huracaine, provide roofing for temporary structures for the inhabiants but also improve social survillance in the area. Connecting coney with Manhattan, will not only provide thier inhabitants a shorter commute to work, but also give the rest of the city a chance to experiance something unusuall in their lives: silence.

Bruno Van de Calseyde

By boosting the community feeling through youth in an ecological community centre we could connect the different people in the neighborhood and maybe even the people of West-Coney (How?).
‘Ecological’ in the way that we should tackle the problems of pollution in the area, and create a fauna and flora friendlier area. What ecological measurement can we take/implement to enhance living conditions for plants, animals and humans?
The Flooding problematic is a issue that each one of us must consider. Should we fight the water, or accept the fact of floods?
How do we come to a fitting project, considering accessibility, permeability, collective use and general ‘looks’?

Michiel Vanmarcke

The COMMUNITY at Coney Island Creek Bay seems to lack a sense of coherency.
By interfering with a MARKET, that works through all SEASONS, I intend to bring COLOUR to the neighborhood and let the people INTERACT.
By mixing it with TRANSPORT, SPORTS and a CONNECTION between the new parks on each side of the bay, through the industrial TYPOLOGY and ACCESSIBILITY.

Mauro Calderone

Coney Island Creek appears today as a fragile, complex but fervent environment, offering an high potential of urban and architectural rethink. Our role as architects is to understand this place and find the rights solutions to improve it. Reconnecting this landscape of ‘unsureness’ can represent a better way for citizens to work and live in the area.
Focusing on what already exists, how can we redevelop the abandoned industrial heritage and convert it to a contemporary use? What should be maintained and what destroyed? How can we boost and increase the manufacturing system, employ workforce and provide jobs in the car repairing sector? Which can be a new way of reconfigure it dealing with the existent urban tissue? How will these interventions face water challenges and become flood proof? Will we be able to involve a community collaboration for the pursuit of a deeper redevelopment?

Lea Mittelberger

Coney Island is mostly known for its amusement park and the beach side. It used to be an attractive holiday destination for New Yorkers – close enough to reach it easily and distant enough to consider it as a vacation. Business is still depending on people coming from other places and is mainly established in the area around the amusement park, with slow business especially during winter times. The idea is that the architectural intervention is a cluster of vacation facilities that are reanimating also other parts of Coney Island as an affordable holiday destination and which are strongly connected with their surrounding in terms of streetscape and local businesses. A goal is also to establish all-year productivity.

Maroš Somora

History/economy/culture of city of New York was always connected with waterfront. Now this fact is not so noticeable, because of the scale of the buildings and the infrastructure that was build to protect and bridge the dry lands. In recent years hurricane Sandy gave us a remainder of fragility of this environment. The damage could be felt mostly in area of Coney Island. FEMA government funds helped to rebuild most of the neighborhood infrastructure and residences. Now there is a push to help the local businesses. How can architect step into this process? Is there a way to combine the resources from State with the local human resources to achieve prosperity for the neighborhood? Coney island Creek is an area with great potential. We can see revival of manufacturing industry that was historically always strong in this area. This part of industry gives all season jobs at this moment. Can a educational hybrid help the local industries to push their potential and become the second symbol of Coney Island?

Jamie Deceuninck

The westside of Coney Island has an strategic location in the space of New York but without using the great potentials of it. There are a lot of empty spaces that are currently bad used, for example, the storage of broken cars. Also the area around the creek hasn’t a good visual connection. How could we return this spaces to the people who live there and what role has the architecture in this case? The introduction of a new kind of architecture and the rethinking of use of spaces is necessary. The focus of this intervention is on the local people and will be the pioneer for a better sustainable future. This will have a great influence into the neighbourhood.

Jolien Lossy

Coney island knows a lot of boundaries. Tourist and also people of the rest of New York don’ t know the potentials of the island. An intervention is necessary to attract people. Not only during summer but also in winter.
Organic becomes an important part of New Yorkers life. Breeding own grocery on the main land of Coney Island will strengthen the site. New Yorkers will see what is growing on their own land and will have the possibility to taste and buy them. It will create jobs and will boost the economie. Will it bring people together? Will it give people another view on Coney Island?

Emilie Otté

How can we create a collective platform out of Coney’s intrinsic urban qualities that provides intuitive but layered answers to its zoning problems? By researching the Porch Cultus of diverse housing typologies found on Coney Island a spectrum of depth configurations can be established. Layering these approaches can offer a platform to inject healthy and effective interventions inside the urban fabric. By refreshing the collective mind on how they perceive, use and alter space it is possible to provide a sense of ownership and a layered range of accessibility to inhabitant as well as visitor. By valuing the way space is used and starting from the typology itself an architectural intervention is built on the foundations of territorial formulas. Therefore it tackles social, political and cultural problems all at once.

Thomas Heyndrickx

Could a new socio-spatial connection reorganize Coney Island in a manner that it not only improves the structural and economical capacity but reformulates the existing reality in total?

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