How can Meanwhile Use interventions deliver real social impact and support ESG objectives? We demonstrate how in our real-time study of East New York, in anticipation of construction related to the planned Interborough Express (IBX). To learn more, go to


Following the publication of its latest research study, BDP has identified the potential for East New York to benefit from innovative “Meanwhile Use” interventions, in anticipation of construction related to the Interborough Express (IBX).

BDP has designed multiple successful Meanwhile Use projects in the UK and Toronto, and recently conducted a study of potential opportunities in New York City. Meanwhile Use refers to the temporary use of vacant spaces as a catalyst for creating more vibrant, active and purposeful communities while the traditionally drawn-out entitlement and development process takes place.

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With the IBX currently under environmental review and poised for construction, East New York is primed for a new era of growth and development opportunity. However, like most transit initiatives, construction of the IBX is likely to create an extensive period of disruption for the neighbourhood. BDP believes that a development process that proactively incorporates Meanwhile Use during these disruptive years can mitigate some of the harmful impacts on the community.

BDP’s findings are summarized in a recently-published online study, called ‘reGeneration’ that identifies a range of short-term Meanwhile Uses for temporarily empty structures or vacant lots in East New York, with a focus on increasing community health and wellbeing.

Rosalind Tsang, head of BDP’s New York studio, explains: “Our research has led us to understand how temporary uses for development sites and existing, underutilized buildings can rapidly bring much-needed services and amenities to communities and provide opportunities for positive connections between real estate developers, land owners, investors, residents and local businesses.

“reGeneration is a Meanwhile Use study that brings better streetscapes, increased social interaction, quicker access to healthy food, enhanced environmental comfort and preventative healthcare amenities. The study explores a range of interventions that can make a real difference to the overall health and success of our communities.”

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In the study, BDP shares its real-time analysis of the East New York neighbourhood, examining development opportunities around the IBX which will connect many underserved communities within Queens and Brooklyn.

Tsang continues: “Major infrastructure projects like the IBX provide opportunities for existing neighbourhoods to grow and connect and if done properly, they offer significant investment, including new employment opportunities to local residents and support for existing local businesses.

“And by engaging with the community in East New York and local, charitable organizations, we now have a greater understanding of the immediate needs of the people who live here. This will inform the meanwhile and legacy designs for these sites to create social cohesion, more inclusivity and better health and employment prospects while the IBX and surrounding developments are being designed and built.”

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BDP’s reGeneration study took place over six months, leveraging publicly available open-source data via the Spatial Equity NYC tool, in addition to New York City’s open source data page for city planning and streetscape design, and the NYC urban health data page. The next stage of the study involved further analyzing and verifying local issues through collaboration with two community organizations, East New York Restoration LDC and United Community Centres, which are working towards reducing health disparities and act as hubs for youth leadership and community engagement.