Tags: infrastructure

Urban Bikeway Design Guide released

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has released its Urban Bikeway Design guide, a very thorough and valuable desk reference for planners, engineers and bicycle advocates considering improvements to urban bicycle infrastructure.  The guide, which comes in PDF and web-based versions, draws from extensive literature search, case studies and real-life experiences, with input from a host of traffic engineers, urban planners and academics with expertise in this arena.


Study investigates plant-based landfill caps

Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), an arm of the US Department of Agriculture, have been working with the US Environmental Protection Agency and private consultants to develop a new method of landfill capping in which vegetation and compost replace conventional geomembrane and clay materials.  


Dana Gumb on sustainable stormwater management

Our thanks to this month’s speaker in our Freshkills Park Talks series, Dana Gumb, as well as to everyone who came out to see his talk at the Arsenal last week.  Dana explained a host of innovative approaches, implemented by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection within the Staten Island Bluebelt and other outer borough watersheds, to capture and treat stormwater as a way of restoring native habitats, beautifying neighborhoods, preventing floods and mitigating the environmental impacts of sewage overflow.


Competition to design NYC’s “sixth borough”

This year’s ONE PRIZE—an annual design and science award to promote green design in cities—is being awarded through a design competition centered around the development of New York City’s “sixth borough,” its bodies of water.  Organized by Terreform 1 and Planetary One, the competition aims to advance the City’s potential to develop the world’s largest urban clean technology corridor along its waterways and water bodies, as well its capacity to host a clean tech world expo in 2014. 


From pavement barrens to solar groves

Parking lots typically conjure up images of vast plains of asphalt half-full with vehicles baking in the sun.  But a handful of energy companies have begun to capitalize on these sun-drenched spaces without compromising their base utility.  Modular installations like EEPro’s Solar Carport and Envision Solar’s Solar Grove turn barren lots into solar farms via photovoltaic shade structures, generating energy while keeping cars cool and, in some cases, providing charging stations for electric vehicles


Construction details on East Mound landfill capping

One of the most spectacular sights for visitors to the Freshkills Park site these days  is the installation of final cover on Landfill Section 6/7, the East Mound.  Final cover (also called the landfill cap) is composed of a series of layers of soil, synthetic textile, plastic and grass and is complemented by construction of adequate and sometimes elaborate drainage systems and basins. 


Dan Doctoroff: a legacy in conversation

Urban Omnibus recaps (and streams) an Architectural League discussion between Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker, and former NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Dan Doctoroff.  The discussion covers a number of the controversial projects Doctoroff helped initiate before and during his tenure, including the City’s failed 2012 Olympics bid, the West Side Stadium project, the Atlantic Yards and congestion pricing


NYC’s water infrastructure explored

The Center for Urban Pedagogy‘s (CUP) playful and informative 2006 video The Water Underground is now available in full online at Places.  The 24-minute piece examines and explores New York City’s water supply, treatment and waste infrastructure, its history and prevailing controversies—the students interviewed engineers, plant superintendents, construction workers, marine biologists, urban divers, educators, and environmental justice advocates. 


Fast Trash and vacuum tubes, remembered

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/11804927]

The excellent “Fast Trash” exhibit—featuring Roosevelt Island‘s signature pneumatic vacuum tube garbage disposal system—closed this past weekend.  A series of public programs including screenings, walking tours and even musical theater helped to make the exhibit, curated by architect Juliette Spertus, into a real must-see. 


A weekend for New York City trashies

The “Fast Trash” exhibit is a gift that keeps on giving: two excellent organizations are holding awesome-sounding garbage-focused events at Gallery RIVAA on Roosevelt Island this weekend, piggybacking on the last week of “Fast Trash”‘s run.  On Saturday, May 15th, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) will screen two documentaries on New York City waste disposal: the rare and intriguing-sounding 1979 documentary Collection and Disposal, a Job for the Birds, and CUP’s own 2002 Garbage Problems.


Restoration of marsh islands in Jamaica Bay

The New York Times features a long-term partnership between the National Park Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers to restore the rapidly disappearing salt marsh islands in Jamaica Bay, the 26-square-mile lagoon bordered by Brooklyn and Queens. Now comprising 800 acres altogether, the series of islands in the Bay spanned more than 16,000 acres a century ago.


Newtown Creek Visitor Center opens tomorrow

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection‘s Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is already home of some of the most distinctive architecture in the City, the onion-dome digesters designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, as well as a lovely and serene Nature Walk designed by artist George Trakas. 


Exhibit on Roosevelt Island garbage system opens

Garbage on Roosevelt Island—the 147-acre strip of land lying in the East River between Manhattan and Queens—is disposed of through a remarkable system of underground pneumatic tubes that was constructed in 1975.  The Island’s 14,000 residents empty their trash into a series of garbage chutes which are emptied into the pneumatic pipes several times daily, carrying it at 30 miles per hour to a transfer station at the end of the island.


Gas Works Park, Seattle WA

Gas Works Park in Seattle, WA is located on the 19.1-acre site of a former Seattle Gas Light Company coal gasification plant.  The plant opened in 1906 and closed in 1956 when the City switched to natural gas.  The site was abandoned for several years until the City purchased it in 1962; a design combining elements of historic preservation and park design was commissioned from landscape architect Richard Haag in the early 1970s.


Sherbourne Park, another water treatment hybrid

As part of its waterfront redevelopment plan, multi-governmental agency Waterfront Toronto is currently in construction of Sherbourne Park, a $28 million storm water treatment facility and public park, near the Lake Ontario shore.  Much of the water treatment infrastructure will be visible to park visitors, making more transparent the purification process through features like an ultraviolet treatment pavilion, dramatic channelizing sculptures and biofiltration beds.


Mark Brest van Kempen

Bay Area environmental artist Mark Brest Van Kempen makes work that reflects on the relationship between human and natural systems.  Since the 1980s, Brest van Kempen has combined architecture, infrastructure and ecology in a series of projects at varying scales.  At the gallery scale, his installation Cleaning System (2000) monitored the passage of laundry wastewater through a filtration pond with plants, tadpoles and fish before it was channeled outdoors to water plants. 


James Corner Field Operations to design the Beltline

James Corner Field Operations (FO) and Perkins+Will have been selected as the lead designers of the Atlanta Beltline, a 22-mile loop of parkland, trails and light rail to encircle the core of the city and revitalize derelict rail easements


Dubai land art/power plant design competition

The Land Art Generator Initiative is hosting an international design competition to design outdoor public art installations that generate renewable energy–in Dubai.  While the United Arab Emirates has made most of its wealth by exploiting oil reserves, Dubai has become an international hub for innovative architecture and infrastructure projects due to its dizzyingly rapid pace of development. 


Fresh Kills, the sanitary landfill


An informative early-1980s video primer on the development of the contemporary sanitary landfill, with Fresh Kills as the prime example.  Some interesting footage of the landfill in operation.

Important note regarding the narrator’s concerns about the quality of drinking water in the vicinity of landfills: Staten Island’s water supply, like that of the rest of New York City, comes from upstate New York and not from the immediate environment. 


Current landscape and waterfront exhibits

A couple of exciting exhibitions and projects featuring the built and natural environments are currently underway at the MoMA and P.S.1.  The MoMA exhibition, “In Situ: Architecture and Landscape”, opened last April and will be running through February 22nd. 


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