Guidelines for sustainable NYC parks released

The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Fellows of the Design Trust for Public Space have prepared and released a manual called “High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC.”  It’s a comprehensive design and construction manual for sustainable parks and open spaces and will henceforth guide the design, construction and maintenance of New York City parks, in alignment with Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030.

The “Guidelines” will ensure that NYC’s parks clean our air and absorb storm water, reduce the urban heat island effect, provide habitat, and address the challenges of climate change. This manual contains hundreds of best practices including:

  • Keeping rain water within parks for the use of plantings rather than sending it to sewers.
  • Increasing the resiliency of plantings by considering the soil, the effects of climate change, the plant type and future maintenance needs.
  • Designing to save labor, reduce operating expenses and decrease the frequency of capital replacement.

This is a fantastic guide specifically for New York City parks, but would also be useful to any parks system interested in integrating sustainable practice into the core of its operations. There is also a great section of case studies at the end of the document that features the ecological restoration of Pennsylvania and Fountain Avenue Landfills, Bronx River tidal marsh restoration efforts and the 5 Boro Green Roof complex, among other projects.

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