Lower Manhattan is one of the densest areas in the world, a forest of skyscrapers, teeming with residents, commuters and tourists. It’s an economic powerhouse: the Financial District and Midtown provide the majority of New York City’s tax base. So in planning for the city’s future, more downtown isn’t a bad way to go. That’s the thinking behind “Lower Lower Manhattan,” an ambitious idea to expand downtown Manhattan into its harbor.
• The neighborhood would be created by connecting Lower Manhattan and Governors Island with millions of cubic yards of landfill, similar to how Battery Park City was born in the 1970s
• 10% of the present day borough is artificial, created via landfill over the past 400 years. Much of that is at the island’s southern tip
• Over 20 to 30 years, the center estimates, LoLo would create 88 million square feet of development and generate $16.7 billion in revenue for the city.
• The landfill would come from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is dredging New York Harbor to maintain and deepen shipping channels. Over the next 55 years, the corps is expected to dredge 180 million cubic yards of material, with the vast majority winding up in landfills and abandoned mines across the country.
Before the current regulations for building on top of landfill, the method was often used to expand the city’s footprint, including for Battery Park City, part of which is built on the dirt from the original World Trade Center.
• It is a popular strategy in other cities around the world. About 250 million cubic yards of landfill was used to create the Hong Kong airport and 6.65 billion cubic yards to create land in Tokyo Bay. The Governors Island proposal is much more modest, using approximately 23 million cubic yards, according to the study.