The Future of New York City Infrastructure

In 1916, through the Building Zone Resolution urban law, the foundations of what is now New York City were laid. Compact, overcrowded and vertical, this is the city of skyscrapersthe capital of the world for many.

Have a skyline unmistakable, which, given the dynamic character of this city, is always changing. This dynamism is going to be our guide to try to approach the future of New York’s infrastructure.

The city of New York to conquer the sky

After the financial crisis at the beginning of the 21st century, New York was surpassed in the conquest of the sky by other large cities. Perhaps the most prominent are Singapore or Hong Kong. However, the North American city seems to have recovered and the situation is beginning to reverse.

Several projects have been started that seek to reposition it as the city of skyscrapers. These mega-buildings, many of which are still under construction, will exceed a chilling 350 meters in height. The most ambitious is the Central Park Tower, 472 meters.


Among the future buildings we find 111 West 57th Street; of 438 meters; the One Vanderbilt, 423 meters; the Two World Trade Center or 2 WTC, 403 meters; and the already inaugurated 30 Hudson Yards, with 387 meters of height.

These moles of steel and concrete will modify the skyline of the city as we know it today. Nevertheless, none of them jeopardizes the prominence of One World Trade Centerwith its 541 meters high.

Featured Projects in New York City

The ones we have mentioned they are not the only projects designed in recent years within the city’s urban plans. Some are already a reality, while others, still in execution, try to perpetuate the characteristic verticality of New York.

hudson yards

An example of this interest in perpetuating verticality is the Hudson Yards real estate project, in the west of the island of Manhattan. Its objective is to transform an “abandoned” spacea train parking area, in a complex with six skyscrapers, a shopping center, a school and a new cultural space.

The most outstanding element is the sculpture The Vessel, designed by British architect Thomas Heatherwick. This 45-meter-high sculpture is made up of 2,500 steps distributed in more than 150 flights of stairs. Dozens of viewpoints were built between these sections.

Another characteristic of this macro project, part of which is already a reality, is the effort made to respect the environment. It is designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissionsas well as to collect and filter tens of millions of liters of rainwater for reuse.

The High Line

There are less ambitious projects that seek to convert the city into a friendlier space for its citizens. An example is this project, which transformed an elevated section of an inoperative railway track into a linear park.

In this way, a vestige of the city’s industrial past was converted into a green space, a meeting place. With its almost 2.5 km, The High Line is today a small oasis within the city of New York.

Vertical city or sustainable city?

Many and diverse are the opinions that are held about the city of New York. Some point to the abandonment of public infrastructures (streets, bridges and highways), the obsoleteness of the railway system or the difficulties that people with fewer resources have in accessing housing.

Other people, on the other hand, highlight its value as a cosmopolitan city. For them, the great value of the city is its position at the cultural forefront, its ability to attract new residents and its generosity with them.

Without getting into debates, yeah it is worth reflecting on the sustainability of this megacity model. According to Chris Kennedy, professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, New York is “the world capital in annual waste generation”: 33 million tons.

Tokyo, with 12 million more inhabitants, generates 12 million tons of waste. New York’s energy consumption is also much higher than that of Japan’s capital. Thus, there are those who believe that the future of the city should not focus only on construction of luxury flats, shopping malls or office buildings.

The future requires a greater interest in the environment. The challenge is to create a more sustainable city where you can enjoy its wonderful cultural offer in a cleaner environment and where cosmopolitanism translates into more diversity and less difference.

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