2020 Project

Team members: Claudio Barboza, Amadou Barry, Starlyn Martinez, Nairobi Mata, Sebastian Munoz, Bianka Pena, Mohamed Sako

While 100% virtual in 2020, including workshops and many meetings over Zoom, this cohort decided to look into ways to repurpose the Kingsbridge Armory building in the Bronx for a use that would better benefit the community. The 19th C. armory building has laid vacant on the corner of Kingsbridge Rd. and Jerome Ave. since the 1940s and is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Numerous attempts to repurpose the building have fallen short, and the young planners sought to propose their own solution.

The team investigated the history of the building, including its many past plans. They launched a survey in the community which reached over 240 respondents. The multilingual survey was not just translated into the languages the team spoke (English, Spanish, and French) but into Bengali and Arabic as well. They also held 3 community visioning workshops over Zoom, utilizing the breakout rooms feature, which reached several dozen more participants. They went above and beyond expectations to ensure community voices were heard.

Midway through the project, the team learned of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that was won by a coalition of community-based organizations lead by the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCC). At the time, a proposal to turn the structure into a ice sports center was stalled out, but still in progress. However, the legally binding CBA from this project also called for 50K+ square feet of community space, of which was not yet programmed. The young planners pivoted their work to focus on this community space and balance the existing ice center project.

The team's work was highlighted in an exhibit at the 2020 Hindsight Conference, and was also even featured in the Bronx Times. See below for their presentation and virtual model, prepared in the video game Minecraft, which displays their recommendations based on their robust community input. You can also read their final report below.