mx.org propose the industrial commons: a means of sustainably managing urban growth mx.org propose the industrial commons: a means of sustainably managing urban growth
feb 01, 2017

mx.org propose the industrial commons: a means of sustainably managing urban growth

 

jobs are growing in new york. so is the cost of living. but does growth have to mean displacement? that’s the question mx.org (comprised of urban designers despo thoma, thad pawlowski and amritha mahesh) are asking. their solution, developed during a residency at the institute of public architecture, suggests a new mode of governing and method of implementing that focuses on regulated zoning districts and unique building typologies. 


does growth have to mean displacement?

 

 

entitled ‘the industrial commons’, mx.org’s proposal aims to examine the ways in which small business can be supported rather than excluded in areas of rapid economic growth. taking the gowanus region of brooklyn as their example, despo thoma, thad pawlowski and amritha mahesh aim to shift the future of neighbourhoods from profit driven development to mission driven growth. in mx.org’s proposal, every new construction would have to be developed and maintained by a mission based non-profit entity, that would allow small businesses to own a stake in the success of their community. this entity is responsible for the permitting and monitoring of uses within their property, adjusting to the needs and flexibilities of the community in question.


mx.org’s proposal aims to examine the ways in which small business can be supported rather than pushed out 

 

 

a lot of the plan is based on regulating unit size. a maximum lot size discourages the assembly of large parcels and allow more players to share in the inevitable increase in the value of the land (sorry mega-mart). by also requiring a minimum unit count, mx.org intends to diversify and distribute wealth to a number of business owners from the very start. understanding the importance of scale and the need for support however, each block in the district is allowed two ‘anchor’ industries that need not comply with the minimum lot size and unit count. these anchors will benefit the smaller businesses by providing large potential markets.


a lot of the plan is based on regulating unit size.

 

 

moving away from the notion that zoning itself should mandate use or performance, mx.org proposes a local use regulation plan be put in place by the non-profit. a public circulation system would be provided in the front court of the buildings, creating a dynamic public space where small businesses and artists could have both a permanent home, a collaborative community, and a built in market. to the rear, each unit is provided with a second means of egress, utilities chases, and a winch for the hauling of goods. a system of contiguous easements would form a rear service core, shared and managed by the agreement of the owners.


a public circulation system would be provided in the front court of the buildings, creating a dynamic public space

 

 

‘this model of development would provide a diversity of unit types for small businesses,’ explains the group. ‘units on the ground floor would be great for retail while the upper levels would be great for artists. the back service areas would provide a shared, private space reserved for loading, unloading and other back of house operations that make businesses work in the city. ‘bridging gowanus’, a recent planning effort led by the local councilman’s office, urges designers and policymakers to protect industrial jobs while maintaining and adding affordable housing. mx.org suggests that these goals are both possible and entirely compatible, if we rethink the laws of growth in our city.’

 


is there a way to encourage job production while distributing the value increase in the cost of land?

 

‘this model of development would provide a diversity of unit types for small businesses,’ explains the group.


the concept is focused on the gowanus area in brooklyn, an industrial zone with a blue collar residential core 


by also requiring a minimum unit count, mx.org intends to diversify and distribute wealth from the very start


every new construction would have to be developed and maintained by a mission based non-profit entity


units on the ground floor are suggested for retail while the upper levels are suggested for artists


mx.org’s concept aims to protect industrial jobs while maintaining and adding affordable housing

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: peter corboy | designboom

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