The Living Market proposal is about retrofitting Long Island downtowns to support social diversity. The proposal envisions downtowns shared by affluent people and people on fixed incomes; people of varying racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds; teenagers and the elderly; married couples and singles; empty nesters and large families.
Mixed-use Marketplace in Downtown Hempstead
The Living Market proposes a mixed-use marketplace in downtown Hempstead, with shop/house cottage industries and food markets, parking lot markets, and community gardens. The Living Market merges housing with small-scale markets. The proposal views the marketplace as a place where people work and live, rather than a tourist destination.
The Village of Hempstead was chosen due to its great potential, with underutilized vacant land in close proximity to transit. Like many Long Island downtowns, Hempstead stands at the intersection of a segregated population: ethic and racial diversity are much higher in Hempstead than in immediately adjacent communities.
Design Strategies to Support Diversity
Three design strategies—mix, connection, and security—can be used to support diversity, as described in Design for Diversity: Exploring Socially Mixed Neighborhoods, written by Emily Talen. The Living Market uses all three strategies to promote social diversity in downtown Hempstead.
A mix of housing options—both owner- and renter-occupied homes, and different forms and sizes of homes, from single- to multi-family—can bring diverse people together within one neighborhood. The Living Market would make it possible for low- and middle-income families to own a shop/house in the downtown area. People who work at the markets—whether via a cottage industry, family-run business, or community garden—would live in affordable housing located in and around the marketplace.
Maximizing physical connections within a neighborhood or downtown—from safe street crossings to well-located parks—helps make diversity work by facilitating the coming together of multiple paths and activities. The Living Market would sustain diversity in Hempstead by integrating many aspects of daily life (live, work, and play) and providing opportunities for social interaction. The exchange of locally produced and grown foods and goods has the potential to be a common denominator connecting people of all income levels and backgrounds.
People need to feel safe in diverse neighborhoods—to feel secure about the mixing and connecting required of them in a diverse place. New mixed-use marketplaces would activate dead space—previously unclaimed land—and thereby enhance natural surveillance. Living Market houses directly connect to streets and public spaces. The Living Market is designed to make it relatively effortless for people to keep an eye on things, as part of their everyday routines.
The Living Market concept could be applied to vacant parcels and parking lots in downtown areas across Long Island, beyond downtown Hempstead. The proposal would spawn innovation, opportunity, and economic growth, and result in a richer human experience for Long Islanders.
Learn more about the Living Market by viewing the full submission to the Build a Better Burb competition: PDF