Under the Elevated 2013–

The first phase developed design and policy recommendations, in partnership with the NYC Department of Transportation, to transform the neglected public space under the city's elevated bridges, highways, subway and rail lines, into valuable community assets. The partnership continues in a second phase to launch several pilots. The first pilot in Sunset Park will be a collaboration with Industry City.

  1. Phase I
  2. Phase II
Under the Elevated Project Umbrella Image
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Project Outputs

Under the Elevated puts New York City at the forefront of the growing national and international trend of reclaiming aging elevated transportation infrastructure and the spaces—or “el-space”—associated with it. The first pilot installation in Sunset Park features large custom planters for capturing storm water runoff, and better lighting and a walkway for safe and pleasant pedestrian experience. NYCDOT plans to develop a citywide program to transform this derelict land across the five boroughs, most of them in underserved neighborhoods.

The Sunset Park El-Space Pilot Launched

May 2018

What will be the El-Space Sunset Park Pilot?

January 2017

Under the Elevated: Experimentation Before Implementation

August 2016

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Under the Elevated: Experimentation Before Implementation

Project Activities

We’ve met with community members to understand their vision and priorities for the future of Sunset Park. This incredibly diverse and vibrant neighborhood has been a gateway between the industrial waterfront and upland immigrant communities over the modern history of NYC. We launched our first pilot on May 17, 2018, to improve the ‘el-space’ underneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street and 3rd Avenue in Sunset Park. The installation features large custom planters for capturing storm water runoff, and better lighting and a walkway for safe and pleasant pedestrian experience.

Activity Photos (16)

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Photo: Sam Lahoz

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El-Space Fellows Quilian Riano and Tricia Martin explain how the Sunset Park pilot transforms the Gowanus Expressway underpass at the launch on May 17, 2018.

Photo: Claudio Pappapietro

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Claudio Pappapietro

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Claudio Pappapietro

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Claudio Pappapietro

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Anita Ng

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Anita Ng

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A community pop-up workshop featured samples of proposed pedestrian safety improvements, swatches showing potential paint colors for the highway structure, samples of new lighting fixtures, a new planter, sample gravel colors, deck tiles, and mock-ups of other elements.

Photo: Joseph Huennekens

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An urban design workshop underneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street led by El-Space Urban Design Fellow Quilian Riano focused on ways to improve safety and connection.

Photo: Liz Ligon

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El-Space Lighting Fellow Leni Schwendinger is leading a lighting workshop discussing the nighttime experience in Sunset Park and beneath the Gowanus Expressway.

Photo: Liz Ligon

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El-Space Lighting Fellow Leni Schwendinger is leading a lighting workshop discussing the nighttime experience in Sunset Park and beneath the Gowanus Expressway.

Photo: Liz Ligon

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El-Space Lighting Fellow Leni Schwendinger is leading a lighting workshop discussing the nighttime experience in Sunset Park and beneath the Gowanus Expressway.

Photo: Liz Ligon

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El-Space Lighting Fellow Leni Schwendinger is leading a lighting workshop discussing the nighttime experience in Sunset Park and beneath the Gowanus Expressway.

Photo: Joseph Huennekens

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El-Space Landscape Architecture Fellow Tricia Martin is leading a green infrastructure workshop underneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street.

Photo: Joseph Huennekens

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El-Space Landscape Architecture Fellow Tricia Martin is leading a green infrastructure workshop underneath the Gowanus Expressway at 36th Street.

Photo: Joseph Huennekens

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The Community Advisory Board for the El-Space Sunset Park Pilot in session

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