Interboro is a New York City based architecture, urban design and planning firm whose work seeks to fully engage the economic, social and ecological dimensions of place. Their work crosses disciplinary boundaries to uncover underlying sociological and spatial dysfunctions and attempts to address them. Their portfolio includes architecture, planning, and urban design, but has also crossed over into communication design, legislative reform and branding.
Interboro first came to prominence with their project “Dead Malls, In The Meantime: Life with Landbanking.” The project was in fact a proposal for the Dutchess Mall in Dutchess County, New York. However, Interboro submitted something of an antiproposal. Through their research, Interboro identified the principal problem with the mall (and most malls): landbanking. Landbanking occurs where a developer allows a property to sit unoccupied and officially closed with the hope that the value of the land will rise for future sale. Interboro proposed in response a series of cheap, flexible moves that amplified the ‘microurbanisms’ of the site – it promoted the activities which were already ongoing. The programmatic functions (e.g. a fitness center, a sculptural park, a business incubator) were chosen as those that would arise naturally out of the sociology of the site. They were functions that were wanted or needed.
Interboro’s most recent project is a book: The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion, which is actually the sum of years of work leading back to the 2009 Venice Biennale. The book details the 156 ‘weapons’ that are used by designers and developers to either open or close a city – and how such weapons can be redeployed to create more inclusive communities.
We had a chance to speak with Daniel D’Oca of Interboro, along with Belinda Tato of Ecosistema Urbano on June 1 and later on June 8. Listen to the podcast here.