Friday, August 7, 2009

Co-op City = Futureville... cira 1968

The West Bronx is home to Co-op City, an experiment in ideal living. Unlike most Co-op arrangements this is not a farmhouse in rural Vermont where Phish is the soundtrack to organic farming and aging VW Vanagons are used as storage sheds while children are allowed to name themselves.
What Co-op City is? What happens when you try to cram 55,000 people into under 65 acres of land. The entire complex is around 320 acres but just 20% of that land houses enough people to be the 10th biggest city in New York. It seems like a viable solution for middle class families to live and work in the city. On paper, the sheer number of bodies occupying these towers seems like a disaster waiting to happen. In person, a livable and comfortable neighborhood that resembles a college campus more than a the worlds largest housing complex.

It works because of the walkable nature of the complex, everything you'd need on a regular basis is within a block or two. It also works because they don't allow convicted felons in. Aside from bankruptcy issues that crop up about once a decade, this urban utopia seems to be a success. Which is surprising because when I read about it... on paper it looks like somebody trying to cram 10 pounds of shit into a 5 pound bag.

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