New York City and the world are very different places than when Columbia built its Morningside Heights campus more than a century ago. Today, an urban campus isn't defined by gates and walls, but by weaving the university into the fabric of city life. As a result, certain planning principles for Columbia's gradual growth in Manhattanville over the next quarter century have remained essential:
An open and welcoming environment
The 17-acre redevelopment will be a multiuse center for teaching, academic research and the arts and will include new retail, cultural and community facilities along Twelfth Avenue, Broadway and 125th Street. The plan will transform what is now a largely isolated, underutilized streetscape of garage openings, empty ground floors, roll-down metal gates and chain-link fences on the blocks from West 125th to 133rd Streets into a cohesive, reanimated center for educational, commercial, and community life.
Revived street life and stores for local consumers and local business
Stores, restaurants, and other community amenities will fill the ground floors of buildings along West 125th Street, Broadway, and Twelfth Avenue. In leasing these spaces, the University will maintain its long-standing policy of favoring local entrepreneurs serving local consumer needs.
Every street will remain public and open to pedestrian and vehicular traffic
New buildings will be set back and sidewalks widened on cross streets opening onto Twelfth Avenue, improving access to the new Hudson River waterfront park. New trees, lighting, street furnishings, public art, and publicly accessible open space will invite people to the entire area.
Human-scale urban design that honors the past
New buildings will not only be open to the public but will also look and feel open because of transparent glass at the street level. They will be designed in consideration of the distinctive architectural features of the historic Riverside Drive and Broadway viaducts. The University will continue to promote responsible environmental stewardship in construction and energy efficiency in new and renovated buildings.