Harlem Community Rooftop Farm

Access to affordable housing and fresh, healthy food are often scarce in New York City. We have designed the Harlem Community Rooftop Farm to help alleviate the dearth of these basic needs in one Manhattan Neighborhood. This combined affordable housing development and community garden also provides much-needed green space and a reprieve from the busy streets below.

This community garden in Harlem redevelops the existing roofscape above Citarella to include farming that is publically accessible via a wide stair leading up from 126th Street. The stair is constructed of concrete and reclaimed redwood marking the transition from sidewalk to elevated garden. Once at the top there is a deck of reclaimed redwood shaded by small fruit trees that leads to a gradual downward slope with spacious low steps and benches for sitting, gathering and observing busy 125th Street. Rooftop planter boxes that are open for use by the community are supplemented by vertical farming walls which are maintained by residents of the affordable housing units in the adjacent building. The vertical farming panels are made of stainless steel and are accessible via balconies running the entire length of the south-west facing façade.

The Harlem Community Rooftop Farm seeks to build community through the collective growth of fresh-healthy food coupled with affordable housing. Community farms have been known to sprout gardening clubs, educational initiatives, youth programs, nutritional awareness and more. A green space for the community can cultivate social interaction, a sense of belonging and culture, better health and cleaner air. 

Find out more about Grow Studio, our urban agriculture design consultancy. . . 

In 2011, the Harlem Community Rooftop Farm was chosen as one of ten winners of By the City/For the City. The competition, sponsored by the Urban Design Institute, asked designers to respond to ideas for city improvements submitted by citizens of the five boroughs. The winners were announced during the first annual Urban Design week. 

Location: New York, NY