The first citizen-built and longest temporary bridge in New York City history, Citizen Bridge is a floating pedestrian bridge to reclaim the city’s waterways as public space. As a 1400 foot span from Brooklyn to Governor's Island, Citizen Bridge is designed to create an intimate experience of being with the water, rather than seeing it from the shore, above from a bridge, or in transport by boat or ferry.
Citizen Bridge is about the collective power of citizens to reshape their cities, from the waterline up. Where large pieces of infrastructure are instruments of political will, Citizen Bridge is an act of community goodwill. The bulk of the work on this project has been volunteer-based with over 200 individuals—from kids to writers and boat captains—giving their expertise and time to help the project advance.
Between the changing climate and expanding city population, the waterways present a unique opportunity now. With increasingly urgent predictions especially in coastal cities like New York City, water will impact our future in many ways. As populations rise, personal space and public space will decrease. The waterways are not viewed as a resource yet they a space and place to turn to that’s free to everyone. Citizen Bridge is the bridge to that potential.
Because of current waterways usage, Citizen Bridge can only be installed for 24-hour span. However, we aren’t doing all this work for a single day: we aim to return year after year. Inspired by NYC’s Summer Streets program that closes 9 miles of Park Avenue to weekend automobile traffic, Citizen Bridge is aiming for Summer Waterways, where locals and tourists alike can have new experiences on the waterways, free from large commercial marine traffic. And because the climate change challenges facing New York City aren’t unique, and citizens all over the United States and beyond have become disconnected from their waterways, Citizen Bridge also aims to travel to waterways beyond Brooklyn.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (May 2016)