City University of New York (CUNY) York College
Open Space Design and Facilities Master Plan
Jamaica Queens, New York
Size: 57 Acres
Perkins+Will recently completed a ten-year master plan for York College, located in Queens. The master planning effort concentrated on a number of themes. The campus sits near a mix of land uses and mass transit options so special emphasis has been placed on exploring opportunities for enhanced street presence, community connectivity and public/private partnerships. A focus of the open space effort has been to knit the campus back into its surrounding community – a relationship that was severed in the 1970’s under urban renewal.
With a large amount of “under-developed” land within its campus, York College desires to improve connections and stacking within existing facilities, maximize land use for new development, improve the quality and variety of outdoor space types, and ensure pedestrian safety and security as its campus grows. Strategies include enhancing streetscapes by adding boulevards and medians, including distinctive paving at intersections, incorporating “rain garden” planting in lieu of storm sewers, and selecting new sustainable street furnishings that improve image, identity, sense of community and sense of place.
Planning for the first funded project - a new “Academic Village” - melded dining, student gathering, support services, and academic/conferencing spaces. Enterprise Zones for research and teaching partners included facilities to add academic space for nearby FDA and K-12 partners. Additional development strategies address renovations to the out-of-date Academic Core. Community outreach via arts and recreation facilities were a third planning component. Open space complementing these building sites includes redeveloped pedestrian spines and courtyard oases for gathering and study.