The extreme urban development in Manhattan led to the dissolution of public space. In fact, except for Central Park, the rest of the island lacks meeting places, recreation places and generally free areas for the community.
The uncontrolled privatization, as well as the set of neoliberal policies put in place in order to discipline public spaces exerting more control over it, resulted in the proliferation of so-called POPS, "privately owned public space", and BIDs, "business improvement district". The former are spaces where a limited set of activities is tolerated, the latter spaces improved in order to install new features and new sources of income related to the consumerism logic.
Of course, we usually think of public space as having peculiar characteristics, including being within the public property - not private - and being accessible to all. In these terms POPSs and the BIDs do not seem to qualify in this category. Yet, paradoxically, the New York experience elevated them among the spaces of greater value for the community of the city. It is true, in fact, that in many cases the private intervention saved whole districts of Manhattan completely lacking of areas to rest, relax and socialize.
The ethical question that arises at this point is whether it is right to associate the idea of community and urban vitality to the logic of the market, "educating" users to the association of the idea of consumption with the idea of public place, as if the consumption itself were a tax for its use. While forbidding democratic practices like protesting, as highlighted during the events starring the Occupy Wall Street movement at Zuccotti Park, POPSs and BIDs reveal their contradictory essence: "the range of improvements to the public realm provided [...] create controlled, exclusionary environments, ghettoising and polarising areas by displacing social problems into neighbouring districts".
With these considerations in mind, this analysis is not intended to demonize the existence of POPSs and BIDs through the exposition of their undemocratic nature, but it is intended to claim the State's participation in urban development in the form of introduction of free domain spaces available for the community. Having observed that the entire surface of Manhattan is built, the proposal is concerned with the vertical development of these spaces as a public extension of the private existing buildings. In other words, a public skyscraper built over another skyscraper.
The building is designed according to the "Infill" model, or rather as an architecture reduced to a flexible structure, customized by its users. This concept is promoted as a tool to encourage the participation of the inhabitants in the construction of their environment in contrast to the ethos of a hyper-designed architecture. Each skyscraper is a multi-level construction fastened to the preexistence, often a fragmented block. The new volume completes the preexistent one with a coherent and well defined urban form. Every neighborhood would be assigned at least one. In this way the residents could enjoy local public space without making use of transportation in order to reach it.