Visions of a City Tech Campus: High Profile Universities Battle to Develop a Neighborhood Changing Campus

Published on Nov 8, 2011


One of three NYC neighborhoods could be going through major changes in the next few years if some big-player universities go forward with plans to develop a huge new city tech campus, spurred on by Mayor Bloomberg's offer of (basically) free real estate AND $100 million worth of city-funded infrastructure.

Residents of Roosevelt Island apartments could soon be sharing their East River home with a fabulously futuristic multi-billion-dollar Engineering and Applied Sciences school, courtesy of either Stanford or Cornell Universities, both of whom are currently engaged in pitched public-relations battles to win city approval for their vision.

Meanwhile, residents of Manhattanville apartments might soon become even more well-acquainted with Columbia University, who wants to build their Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering within their already massive Manhattanville Campus.

Not to be outdone, New York University wants in on the city's offer too, and is proposing turning an MTA building on Brooklyn's Jay Street into their Center for Urban Science and Progress, adding a new population seeking Brooklyn rental apartments.


Cornell's plan for Roosevelt Island, the rendering for which is pictured at top, plays the energy-net-zero card to the hilt. As DNAinfo explained recently, in Cornell's proposal the main building, a 150,000-square-foot monster, would be "oriented toward the sun’s arc to capture solar power to generate up to 1.8 megawatts a day—enough to supply 1,400 American homes. The school would also use thermal power, tapping into the earth’s heat with a 4-acre geothermal field of 400 wells, for an additional energy source." Very cool.

Stanford's 10-acre plan to become neighbors with Roosevelt Island residents, pictured above, would also be extremely eco-friendly, using 50 percent less energy than what is already considered efficient, and would grow over the course of thirty years into a multi-billion-dollar complex, essentially become a living laboratory for green technologies.

Either way, whether it's Cornell or Stanford who moves in and creates a new city tech campus, the southern end of Roosevelt Island--and, due to spillover effect, the retail landscape and public transportation options for all residents of Roosevelt Island--would certainly change, and most likely for the better.


Meanwhile up in Manhattanville, Columbia University, already one of New York City's biggest land-owners, also wants some of the city's free real estate and discounted infrastructure, with the promise of expanding their already under-construction uptown campus by three more buildings.

Columbia's proposed 1.1 million-square-feet Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, rendered above, would serve 2,500 graduate students, taught by 167 faculty members, with a focus on "new media, smart cities, health analytics, cyber-security and financial analytics."

And residents of Downtown Brooklyn apartments might have even more New York University in their lives, if the mega-school's Center for Urban Science and Progress, which would take the place of the old MTA building on Jay Street and is imagined below, gets city approval.


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