Tags: urban planning

Tour Freshkills Park with an expert this Sunday

Over the course of the various stages of its history, a wide range of professionals have spent time working on or thinking about the Freshkills Park site: sanitation workers, engineers, equipment manufacturers, scientists, policymakers, architects, designers, artists, philanthropists. There are countless layers of expertise to mine in understanding the site. 


Staten Island west shore planning study released

In June,  the NYC Department of City Planning and the NYC Economic Development Corporation released Working West Shore 2030, a land use and transportation planning report that provides recommendations for decision-making along the west shore of Staten Island to developers, property owners, civic stakeholders and elected officials.


Robert Moses on Flushing Meadows Park

Another gem from the archives: an article in the Saturday Evening Post from 1938 written by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses extolling the then-in-process transformation of the City’s Corona ash dump into the stately Flushing Meadows Park.  We’re reminded of how much the outline of the story prefigures Freshkills Park, where Moses, himself, was the catalyst for landfilling operations, with the endgame of constructing housing, parkland and industrial space.


East River Ferry Service in full swing

The new year-round East River Ferry Service, provided by NY Waterway, offers passage between 11 stops in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Governor’s Island along the East River.  The scenic commuter service, now only a few weeks old, hatched from a City initiative to create more viable, private mass transit alternatives for the City’s growing waterfront populations, especially those underserved by bus and subway capacity.


Floyd Bennett Field to become major urban campsite

Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, a former civilian and military airport on the Jamaica Bay coast, is now poised to become New York City’s largest campground. The site was taken over by the National Park Service (NPS) in 1971 after being decommissioned for aircraft, and as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area has since played host to a variety of activities: organized sports, model and full-scale airplane hobbyism, motorcycle practice and Brooklyn’s largest community garden. 


Field Operations’ Race Street Pier now open

Last month, the City of Philadelphia celebrated the opening of Race Street Pier, a new waterfront public space designed by landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, who are also the designers of Freshkills Park and the High Line.


Reflections on active urban design

The Dirt runs a great interview with Joyce Lee, Director of the Active Design Program at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC).  DDC’s Active Design Guidelines, released last year, is a manual produced for architects and urban designers with the aim of designing buildings, streets and urban spaces that best promote health and activity. 


Schoolyards becoming community recreation spaces

City Parks Blog runs an excerpt of Peter Harnik‘s Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities on schoolyard parks, spaces reserved for schoolchildren during school hours and used by the whole community at other times.  Examples cited include:

  • The Boston Schoolyard Initiative, through which about $320,000 buys a each schoolyard a new drainage system, plantings, hard surface area, play equipment, fences, decorative art, and mini-landscapes for environmental education;
  • Denver’s slightly larger Learning Landscapes, which include a field, play structures, a hard-surface court and aesthetic upgrades for about $450,000;
  • Houston’s Spark (School Park Program), which spends between $75,000 and $100,000 per site to provide modular play equipment, picnic tables, benches, outdoor classrooms, gardens, trails, native plantings, murals and mosaics.

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.


Another landfill-park coming, just across the Hudson

32.5 acres of Jersey City’s 87-acre PJP Landfill, situated on the Hackensack River, is slated to be transformed into Marion Greenway Park, a passive recreational space, over the next two years.  The former Superfund site received chemical and industrial waste as early as 1968, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection assumed stewardship of the site in 1985, extinguishing landfill fires, installing a landfill cap and a landfill gas venting system. 


USDA’s analysis of American urban forests

A report produced last summer by the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station highlights the benefits of trees in urban environments, quantifies levels of existing tree cover in urbanized areas across the US and elucidates some of the issues and challenges involved with expanding urban forests (for the study, “urban forests” included all trees found within an urban region, such as on streets, yards, parks, etc.). 


NYC’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan released

On Monday, the City of New York released Vision 2020: The New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. The document will guide waterfront planning  in the City over the next decade.  It has eight overarching goals:

1. Expand public access


Michael Marrella on NYC waterfront planning

Our thanks to Michael Marrella and the crowd who attended his lecture last week at the Metropolitan Exchange as part of our  Freshkills Park Talks series.  After starting with a brief history of the New York City’s harbors and waterways, Michael walked the audience through the process of preparing Vision 2020, the update to New York City’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. 


Next Freshkills Park Talk: Tuesday, February 15th

The Freshkills Park Talks lecture series continues in Downtown Brooklyn tomorrow, Tuesday, February 15th, with Michael Marrella, Project Director of the Comprehensive Waterfront Plan for the New York City Department of City Planning.

Michael will be discussing Vision 2020, an update to the New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan that sets the new long-range vision for the City’s waterfront and waterways. 


AIA Urban Design Award winners announced

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced its 2011 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design, recognizing “distinguished achievements that involve the expanding role of the architect in urban design, regional and city planning, and community development.”  Honored projects are a design for expansion of Beijing’s Central Business District; a plan for reducing the carbon footprint of Chicago’s building stock; a re-stitching of neighborhood fabric in Louisville, Kentucky; a Low Impact Development design manual;  a plan for walkability in Farmington, Arkansas; and the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park, a public open space system designed to slow, absorb and filter surface water runoff in Brooklyn. 


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. 


On the Wind Turbine Syndrome debate

Over the past several years, a debate has played out among scientists about potential health impacts of wind turbines on the people who live near them.  Some neighbors of wind farms have claimed that low-frequency sounds produced by the rotor blades of the turbines are causing them to become physically ill—a condition being called “Wind Turbine Syndrome.” 


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


Field Operations tackle Seattle waterfront redesign

Landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations, designers of the master plan and early projects for Freshkills Park as well as of the High Line, have garnered another high-profile commission: designing a new nine-acre park on Seattle’s waterfront. 


At Sneak Peak: Expert-led walking tours

One of the things we’ve learned over the course of this park project is that the Freshkills Park site has been a part of many, many people’s careers: Sanitation workers, engineers, equipment manufacturers, scientists, policymakers, designers, artists, philanthropists—we are constantly astonished to discover a new realm of expertise on this site with which we’re so familiar. 


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