New York Considers

New York Considers

by Tess Taylor

On a November, 2001 weekend, before the first frost, hundreds of New Yorkers planted thousands of daffodils in parks around the city. Next spring, the blossoming bulbs will provide a memorial to the hard season the city has endured, and to the people we have lost.

It may take longer than that for decisions to be made about what should be done in lower Manhattan. As the grieving and recovery processes continue, it is difficult to determine how rebuilding should take place. The very decision-making machinery to permit action is only now under development.

Nevertheless, re-envisioning lower Manhattan is underway. The questions at stake stretch far beyond the future use of a plot of land or the shape of replacement buildings. Individuals involved in preliminary planning are poised delicately between the need to provide viable, carefully considered options for a business community hungry to rebuild and the need to respond to a ruptured community that is still raw with grief.

Planning an Approach

The disaster has torn at every strand of the urban fabric of a dense metropolis, and the complexity of the rebuilding process is a measure of the loss the city has sustained. Thinking about what might come next requires creativity and expertise from all sectors of the design community to address issues ranging from structural assessment, community building, and mass transit infrastructure repair to the very nature of memorial.