With NYC population to surpass 9 million, architects dream up housing, transportation projects

Photo via Crain’s New York/Gensler

With city planners expecting the population grown in New York to surpass 9 million by 2025, officials need to start getting creative about how to absorb the additional residents.

Crain’s New York asked 12 architecture firms to imagine new infrastructure projects to help house and move these new New Yorkers. From re-purposing existing tracks to create a rail line to rezoning the area around Newtown Creek for industrial use and affordable housing, these firms envisioned a city where 9 million people could live, work and play.


Gensler, a design, architecture and consulting firm, proposed a high-powered 15-mile rail line from Jackson Heights to Brooklyn Army Terminal. They would repurpose existing freight lines to allow for a light rail and commercial development.

Photo via Crains New York/Gensler
Photos via Crains New York/Gensler


FXFOWLE designed their project with the outer boroughs in mind. An estimated 83 percent of new residents will live in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx during the next 25 years, according to Crain’s New York. FXFOWLE designed a suspended tram to connect the five boroughs and New Jersey.

The 57-mile “halo line” would run through the George Washington Bridge, Bayonne and Verrazanno Bridge and would not be subject to the increased flooding. It would provide a new route to LaGuardia Airport and the system would be within a half-mile of 1.7 million residents.

Photos via Crains New York/FXFOWLE
Photos via Crains New York/FXFOWLE


Designers at Skidmore, Owings & Merril want to fix the notoriously congested Brooklyn-Queens Expressway by creating the first “autonomous electric superhighway.” The highway would generate its own power to move vehicles and the section near Cobble Hill would be buried to create housing. The remaining elevated portion would be whittled down to three lanes and replaced with boulevards, parks and commercial and residential development.

Photo via Crains New York/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Photo via Crains New York/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Other firms suggested expanding train lines, expanding the Javits Center into a hotel, residential, convention and park complex, creating public plazas underneath elevated infrastructure and adding multi-use buildings to schools yards.

To check out all of the designs, visit Crain’s New York.