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Urban Research (UR) 
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Gowntown: A 197-X Plan for Upper Manhattan


Gowntown: A 197-X Plan for Upper Manhattan


By Terreform

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Gowntown investigates the impact of Columbia University’s massive expansion into Upper Manhattan and proposes strategies of transformative leverage to generate broad community benefit and counter a spreading urbanism of trickle-down and gentrification. Terreform’s multi-scalar design is grounded in a planning paradigm focused on carefully crafted – as well as spontaneous – institutional, social, and environmental connections, inspired by the public possibilities of one of the world’s great concentrations of educational, medical, cultural, and community assets. Gowntown is addressed to all the people living, working, and studying uptown, presenting a collection of ideas that radically bridge the familiar – and too often hostile – divide between gown and town.

Gowntown grows from a spirit of critical optimism and open possibility. How, we wondered, could Columbia’s enormous infusion of capital and energy be productively extended beyond the boundaries of its site? How might this actually enhance the prospects of those already living in the surrounding neighborhood of Manhattanville, in Upper Manhattan, and in the city as a whole? And how might the project activate a genuinely shared economic, environmental, social, educational, cultural, and morphological transformation that leaves no one out? Gowntown has some suggestions!

Download the introduction.

Terreform is a nonprofit urban research and design center that operates as a “friend of the court”, authoring alternatives that seek to raise expectations, enhance debate, and challenge conventional wisdom.


180 pages, full color, softcover, 8” x 11”, ISBN 978-0-9960041-0-7, printed in the United States, 2016.



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