Restoring the legacy of the Sea View Hospital Campus, Sea View Healthy Community is a proposed mixed-use, health-focused wellness campus integrating medical care, housing, retail, community facilities, and open space in a setting designed to prevent illnesses and promote healthy lifestyles.
Historic Sea View Campus
Named for its views of the water and abundant open space, Sea View Hospital Tuberculosis Campus opened in 1913 on the 25-acre hilltop estate of Charles Schmidt.
At the turn of the 20th century, the only prescribed treatments for tuberculosis were fresh air, rest, and a nutritious diet. In the summer of 1951, Dr. Edward Robitzek and Dr. Irving Selikoff began some of the first clinical trials with a synthetic chemical compound called isoniazid which ultimately led to the widespread non-toxic cure of tuberculosis at Sea View. In the late 1950s, with its first mission largely accomplished, Sea View began to dismantle its operations and turned its attention to aging, the newly emerging public health challenge.The Robitzek Building, a 304-bed rehabilitation hospital for geriatric patients, was opened in 1973 when much of the campus was being closed and outmoded. The campus was landmarked in 1985, and less than half of the 40+ structures on the campus are in use.
Developing the Model
In partnership with Staten Island Borough President James Oddo and New York City Health + Hospitals, NYCEDC identified and examined the Healthy Community model, assessing its potential to leverage Sea View’s unique natural assets and public health legacy to innovate new approaches for addressing the epidemics of the 21st century. Among the most challenging public health issues facing Americans today are those rooted in isolated and sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition, and neighborhoods that are disconnected from environments that facilitate physical activity. Research suggests that diseases such as obesity, drug addiction, hypertension, and diabetes could be reduced by better integrating neighborhoods into nature, enhancing access to healthy food, increasing physical activity, and promoting social interaction.
NYCEDC and NYC Health + Hospitals conducted a medical demand analysis of Staten Island to inform a wellness-based development plan for Sea View, what we call Sea View Healthy Community. The local healthcare needs, taken together with unmet demand for affordable housing options and accessible community-oriented retail, make the case for a health-focused, mixed-use development approach to the Sea View campus.
The proposed Sea View Healthy Community would be the first of its kind in New York City, and the first publicly supported model for a mixed-use, health-focused community in the nation. The framework is based on four key pillars:
- Physical Activity: Landscape and design that facilitate physical activity for a range of users and mobility levels.
- Access to Healthy Food: Neighborhood amenities that foster a more direct connection between people and the food they eat through features such as community farms, health food grocers, and farm-to-table restaurants and cafés.
- Social Engagement: Abundant public spaces that facilitate opportunities for interactions between residents and the broader community.
- Healthy Environments: Design features that connect the built and natural environment, including connections to the Staten Island Greenbelt.