East 106th Streetscape Design Study

East Harlem, New York, NY

Client: Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ)

Denisha Williams, Project Manager, Community Meeting Facilitator, and Report Author for City College Architectural Center, 2005


At the recommendation of East Harlem community leaders, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone commissioned City College Architectural Center (CCAC) to help formulate streetscape design concepts for East 106th Street, in collaboration with local stakeholders. The study synthesizes concepts for the 106th “Cultural Corridor” of El Barrio, examining the full length of the street from Central Park to the East River. The core area of the Study is centered at the “Cultural Crossroads” of Lexington Avenue and East 106th between Park and Third Avenues. The study suggests strategies to express the existence of the Cultural Corridor and Cultural Crossroads within the streetscape, to enliven the length of the corridor, and to encourage pedestrian activity.


While a full-time staff member at CCAC, Denisha Williams served as project manager, community engagement facilitator, lead designer, and report author for the East 106th Street Study. She also supervised a team of student interns who helped complete graphics in various media for the community meetings and final report. The civic engagement included regular Steering Committee meetings over a six-month period, gathering and acknowledging a wealth of earlier analyses and planning studies on the area, conducting a Streetscape Design Workshop, devising and tabulating questionnaires regarding community priorities, and door-to-door outreach to local businesses.


The plan features a comprehensive Implementation Plan and a Jurisdiction Map of the area that enable stakeholders to initiate partnerships for action. The plan was ultimately endorsed by the full Community Board.