Preserving the Soul of East Harlem’s Social Housing Projects


Personal Info

Name: Osman Ural

Nationality: American + Turkish

Institution / Company: UNC Charlotte, TU Delft – Studio Osmoz





-FINALIST of Non Architecture Award Competition | Category: Urban


Low-income areas of developed cities, such as New York, are increasingly under threat by gentrification. This creates a lack of affordable housing, marginalizing locals of these areas by either forcing them to live in the periphery, or be crammed into dilopidated social housing projects. When this problem is paired with neoliberal governmental policies that decimate social housing programs, these low-income families end up living in squalor, spatially manifesting the increasing divide between the rich and poor that defines today’s society. There is a great need for a method for countering the ill effects of gentrification by protecting these disenfranchised inhabitants. 

This can be achieved with a transformational framework that tackles issues of monofunctionality, scale, and safety that exist in social housing projects. This project acts as a rehabilitation blueprint that activates existing public spaces, increases their quality of life, and protects their rights to the city. The location of the proposal is at the King Towers in East Harlem, a neighborhood with major issues of crime, air quality, and poverty, which exists at the corner of Central Park – a litteral spatial realization of social inequality. For a rehabilitation intervention to work, there needs to be a proposal that is beneficiary to all parties involved. Each stakeholder has a motivation to work together and find the most optimum solution regarding various issues, such as responsibility, funding, and their role within a regenerated social housing project. Using an egalitarian approach such as this will nourish the “soul” of their public space.


Project Type: Housing, Social Housing, Public Functions, Commercial Functions, Landscaping


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