This research focuses on the role and responsibility of design professionals within processes of gentrification and neighborhood change by focusing on the case of the recent reopening of the High Bridge linking upper Manhattan and the South Bronx, as well as improvements to its adjacent park. In particular, it examines how these developments largely excluded input from the local people most affected, those living in the adjacent Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx, which according to the 2010 US census was the poorest congressional district in the United States. The significance of the High Bridge, a pedestrian bridge spanning the Harlem River connecting the Highbridge neighborhood to Manhattan, lies in the bridge's history as a tool for implementing political agendas both through its closure to the public in the 1970s, and through its restoration and re-opening in 2015, when it may have helped spur the Highbridge neighborhood to become the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in New York City. The history of urban renewal, redlining, and recent investment in the restoration of the High Bridge and its impacts on the neighborhood of Highbridge has yet to be examined in context with the physical and architectural tools used by professional practitioners to enact these policies.
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Thesis advisor: Ferguson, Karen
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