This is the first of a series of posts that will pretty much arise from me zooming in randomly on a part of Baba City and then exploring in a bit more detail what that part of the city might be like. Today, we focus on the area around a suburb called “Maplewood”. Here’s an overview of the area:
The first step of exploring what this place might be like is to get a general understanding about when it would have developed. My earlier post, which looked at the stages of urban development for Baba City, suggested that most of this area would have developed in the early part of the 20th century, except for a fairly thin sliver along the river in the far western part of the map above, which developed in the late 19th century, probably just preceding when the Metro Line went through.
The area’s central location plus its early-20th century development date suggests potentially quite an interesting eclectic mix of building typologies – somewhere of an ‘in-between’ of larger-scale apartments, joined terraced houses and standalone detached housing. Some of the more outer parts of New York City’s “five boroughs” may give us some clues about what this place would be like – perhaps particularly around the area of “Flushing“, because it is in close proximity to La Guardia Airport just as this area is close to a large airport. Here’s what a part of Flushing looks like from above:
So quite a wide range of different housing types and quite a mix of uses too I’m guessing.
When thinking about what Maplewood and its surrounds would be like and what role it plays in the city, I find myself thinking a lot about its nearby suburbs. Obviously we have the Airport to the east, which is a major employment node (both itself and the surrounding business park) but would also be likely to act as something of a nuisance to residents and probably means this isn’t the most extremely rich part of town. At the same time not too far west we have a river, and despite a motorway running along one of its banks, it seems fairly likely that the river is seen as one of the city’s top amenities – with significant development along its banks to take advantage of views down to it and of recreational opportunities along the river.
The Black Metro Line (explained in more detail here) is the main transportation link with the rest of the city, along with the motorway which runs next to the river. The suburb of Solaris to the north is a major master-planned community of the 1920s, probably developed as an expression of the Garden City ideology while areas to the south are probably progressively more intense, with Brightwaters near the airport likely to be feeding off the airport as a bit of a business centre itself. Fernville, Jaspering and Hoboken – major centres along the river – probably started life as separate towns but these days would probably contain quite a few high-rise apartment buildings in particular, due to the good access provided by the Metro line and the amenity of the river.
All up, I think this would be a reasonably interesting part of the city to life or work in. It would probably be a place that’s seen a lot of change over time and would continue to see change, as houses are turned into apartments, warehouses into offices and perhaps vice-versa. A little bit of everything might exist in this part of the city.