Garden City for the Garden State

Housing Master Plan for Elizabeth, New Jersey \\ Critics: Yehre Suh and  Lee Weintraub \\ Studio Project with Rebecca Dorff \\ Spring 2013

Elizabeth, New Jersey is a major transportation center, bordered on the east by Newark Bay and the south by Arthur Kills. With an industrial “backyard” on the east and residences in the west, Elizabeth is a diverse city in which economic growth has yet to catch up with its populations needs.

Looking at Elizabeth in multiple scales, we designed a master plan along with neighborhood and block strategies that sought to revitalize this unique city into the produce capital of the tristate area. By introducing green infrastructure, our master plan seeks to create multiple centers that disperse economic nodes, “Agrohubs,” into each neighborhood. These economic nodes are connected through the “Green Corridor,” using the old rail line to introduce a new pedestrian greenway that connects the agrohubs through bicycle paths and car sharing stations.

On the neighborhood scale, the design sought to use vacant lots and strings of foreclosed homes as an opportunity to create pop-up community gardens and a new two-family housing prototype. The infill strategy encourages the idea of a “backyard collective,” adjacent backyards can become specialized growing centers that are accessible by the people of Elizabeth. On the block level, new high-density residential buildings and commercial zones are established along the river that serves as the epicenter of the backyard collective. At the multi-family building, units are designed to accommodate hydroponic growing while new live-work spaces support artisans, farmers markets, workshops, and apiaries.

With this multi-stage master plan, our vision transforms Elizabeth into the Garden City for the Garden State.