Manhattanville in West Harlem
University Growth Creates Good Jobs for People of Diverse Income Levels and Great Ideas that Make New York City a Global Capital
America’s premier universities are all expanding to pursue the new knowledge of our time, while continuing to support classic academic disciplines. It has long been clear that any vision of Columbia’s future is clouded by an overwhelming demand for space since the University has a fraction of the square footage per students of its peers.
Columbia’s proposed long-term growth in the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone in West Harlem will create the academic space needed for Upper Manhattan to remain home to one of the world’s top research universities.
By designing the space needed to maintain a major academic center within Manhattan, this plan preserves two things that have always been central to making New York special: good jobs across the economic spectrum and great ideas that come from a thriving intellectual community.
Columbia is already a major economic engine for West Harlem, Washington Heights, and other Upper Manhattan neighborhoods. Nearly one-third of non-academic staff lives in the local community.
Minority-, women-, and locally owned companies win more than a third of the University’s construction and maintenance contracts—worth some $65 million last year alone.
Find out more about Columbia’s economic contribution to New York City >
The proposed Manhattanville expansion would not create an isolated, gated campus. All streets would remain open to people and traffic. Improved sidewalks, new publicly accessible open space, and locally owned stores would create a lively, human-scale environment that links West Harlem neighborhoods to a revived Hudson River waterfront.
Right now, the four main blocks of the proposed expansion between Twelfth Avenue and Broadway are mostly filled with warehouses, parking lots, and auto repair shops.
The first phase of the proposed plan—between now and 2015—would include new, state-of-the-art homes for Columbia Business School; the School of the Arts; the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the University’s Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative; as well as a permanent building for the Columbia-assisted math, science and engineering secondary school—a New York City magnet public school where grades 6-8 will be for students from Upper Manhattan, and grades 9-12 will also draw high-performing students from throughout the city.
The second phase–with a target completion date of 2030–would include new buildings for interdisciplinary research in such areas as systems biology, earth and population sciences, the School of International and Public Affairs, as well as graduate student housing.
The goal of this long-term proposal, which goes through a variety of public approval processes, is to end the kind of ad hoc, unplanned growth that fails to provide a cohesive academic environment and often causes ongoing friction with the local community in favor of a transparent plan that permits the University and community to grow together in predictable ways for the next quarter century.
Find out more about Columbia’s planned expansion into Manhattanville >