While many visions of a future New York showcase its lauded ability to grow upwards, architects Richard Garber and Brian Novello have suggested it grow outwards — into the water — to increase public space and harness hydropower.
Garber and Novello have proposed a series of mobile docking platforms that would be added onto New York's current docks to provide more green space, in a city best known for its greyness. Underneath the mobile platforms would rest a series of unidirectional turbines, designed harness power from the natural ebb and flows of the East and Hudson Rivers to power streetlamps in New York.
They told Metropolis Magazine:
Docking Stations literally "plug-in" to the conventional piers of New York City, extending them further into the river to optimize clean energy generation while increasing public green space and tidal pools for wildlife. Energy awareness is encouraged by increased visibility of the connection between water's edge and the city's interior.
Each docking stations — and Garber and Novello propose at least six — would generate enough energy, just by floating in the river, to power 350 LED streetlights. The top parts of the docking stations would provide public access in the form of micro-parks, in their vision.
With windmills falling more and more out of favor with environmentalists concerned with bird deaths, and oil and coal reserves becoming ever more depleted, could coastal communities like New York get back into water power? And if scientists develop a method of building atop New York's waterways, would it remain green space or become a haven for those wealthy enough to be able to afford the newest waterfront property?