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Pittsburgh CTI

Magliano Civic Center

Inwood Squiggle

SITE: Inwood, NY

YEAR: Urban Design Grad - 2018, Semester 1

UNIVERSITY: CUNY Spitzer School of Architecture


The Inwood Squiggle is a masterplan that uses a path that wraps around the entirety of the neighborhood. The path promotes an inclusive community by having intergenerational hubs placed throughout the neighborhood. Along the path, there are programs such as housing, commercial, civic, and recreation. The masterplan will also consider the flood risks that Inwood is prone to by creating a hill park along the waterfront’s edge.


Inwood is a northern Manhattan neighborhood that is inhabited predominately by people of Latin descent. Inwood’s population age is extremely diverse with ages split evenly between the youths and elders. Inwood has a unique layout due to the zoning restrictions that keep the neighborhood's buildings at 7 stories or lower and has a street grid that is rotated from the rest of Manhattan. Inwood is subject to flooding due to the rise in sea level. Inwood Hill Park protects the west side of the neighborhood due to its topography, but the east side is a subway rail yard that is subjected to flooding. The Squiggle intends to wrap itself throughout Inwood's infrastructure, enhancing and protecting the existing communities and cultures within the neighborhood.

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Figure 1: Inwood demographics study taken from the "Inwood NYC Action Plan"

The Masterplan

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1. Existing Urban Environment

Commercial "U" Street

Flood Zone

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3. Connected activity zones with squiggle path. Extended diagonal grid into the flood zone.

Existing buildings along squiggle

Street grid extension

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5. Intergenerational hubs placed at vacant lots around squiggle

Existing buildings along squiggle

New hill park buildings

Intergenerational Hubs

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2. Activity zones created throughout Inwood based on existing infastructure (Housing, Commercial, Civic, Recreation)

Activity zones

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4. Hill parks are created for the community above the rail yard while protecting the area from flooding.

Existing buildings along squiggle

New hill park buildings

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6. Green spaces along squiggle and hill park

Existing buildings along squiggle

New hill park buildings

Intergenerational Hubs

Green space

Above grade green space

Squiggle Program


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Recreation Section

Recreation Section

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The Inwood Squiggle will create a dynamic walk throughout the neighborhood as it connects all the different building typologies within the neighborhood.  The multiple building typologies and changes in elevation which make Inwood such a unique neighborhood are all highlighted along the squiggle. The program being connected along the squiggle will be classified as housing, commercial, civic, and recreational spaces.

Metro Hill Park Section 1

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Commercial Section

The hill park acts as a reshuffling of the existing area. This area is a part of the commercial zone currently in Inwood but will be gone due to the sea level rise. The commercial hill park will demolish the existing buildings, extend the recognizable Inwood diagonal grid, and create a unique layout of buildings that are tucked under the topography. The tenants of the demolished buildings will be relocated into these new buildings.

The squiggle above the metro acts as a community space for the neighborhood. An outdoor market, orchard, and a beach area are all program pieces along with the added buildings above the metro. The buildings have apartments, commercial spaces, and greenhouses that are open to the public.

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Commercial Hill Park Section 2

Housing Section

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New buildings will be constructed along the squiggle that will act as spaces for community engagement. The new buildings include affordable housing, a marketplace, a school, a theater, and a rec center. These buildings will be classified as intergenerational hubs as they offer programs for a wide range of age groups and ethnic backgrounds within Inwood.

The new hill park, as they offer spaces for the community much like the intergenerational hubs, will act as protection against flooding and the rising sea level.

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Figure 4: Hill park during a sunny and rainy day

Figure 2: One of the new intergenerational hubs; marketplace


Figure 3: One of the new intergenerational hubs; educational center

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