Prospect Park is building a composting toilet and putting to use an obsolete building. The Pump House, an unused building tucked away in the center of the park, is not connected to the New York City sewer system so traditional restrooms are not possible but with park use on the rise more restroom facilities are needed, especially in this more remote area of the park.
The toilets will not look or smell unusual, the noticeable difference is that special foam is used to flush. Christian Zimmerman, lead landscape architect at the Prospect Park Alliance, expects that the composted waste will be removed every five years and taken to a landfill, although he hopes that the laws prohibiting the use of this manure within the city will change in the near future. By utilizing composting technology the park is able to provide an amenity where it was needed most while also helping the city reduce the volume of sewage sent to the treatment plants.
The number of composting toilets is on the rise in New York City; The Bronx Zoo, the Queens Botanical Garden, and the Hollenback Community Garden in Brooklyn are already using composting technology.
A composting toilet facility is in the plans at Freshkills Park which is one part of an array of sustainable practices used in the parks’ development.
Solar power is a growing energy source on Staten Island. Freshkills Park, already an alternative energy source from the methane harvested at the site, will be using solar power for many of its structures in the future. But the future is here at an office building on Edward Curry Avenue in Bloomfield in the form of solar panels that provide shade for your parked car. No more searching for the only tree in the parking lot, now shady parking spots are created by solar panels that are working double duty: producing energy and providing shade.
The solar panels, installed by American Solar Partners, shelter 25 cars and provide roughly 5% of the power for the 80,000 square foot office building. The office building has other energy saving and resource conserving systems that earned it an Energy Star Rating, such as occupancy sensors, LED lighting and motorized solar shades that move with the position of the sun throughout the day.
The permitting process has begun for a North Park Photovoltaic Shade Structure which will provide shade for visitors sitting on benches while also generating energy for the overhead lights throughout the parking lot.
Links to similar stories:
City requires portion of energy to come from solar: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Lancaster-CA-Becomes-First-US-City-to-Require-Solar\
More on solar parking lots: http://cleantechnica.com/2010/08/03/solar-power-transforms-parking-lots-into-green-job-generators/
Freshkills Park CELEBRATES National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry Month which means it is time for the fifth annual Freshkills Park Haiku Contest! We will be celebrating by asking you to share your impressions, experiences, thoughts and ideas of what Freshkills Park is, will be, and what it means to you- in haiku form. A haiku is a type of poem written in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables for a total of 17 syllables. For example, here is one of our winners from a previous year:
The bike paths I will ride on
My old love letters
Email your haiku, along with your name and age to email@example.com by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 29th
Prizes will be awarded to the top youth winner as well as the top three adult winners. If you are under 18, please indicate that you are submitting as a youth entrant. Submit for a chance to receive exclusive Freshkills Park merchandise. To learn more about Freshkills Park and to stay up to date on the latest news, visit the Freshkills Park Blog at www.freshkillspark.wordpress.com and ‘like’ us on Facebook.
Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium in Times Square is hosting a contest titled “Materials Matter Amazing Art Challenge” for New York City art students. The submissions for the contest are due in April and selected students will have their work exhibited at Ripley’s. A recent New York Times article highlighted one teacher’s creative interpretation of the prompt to develop works of art from unconventional materials. Jennifer Merdjan, an art teacher at Bard High School Early College in Queens, is having her students make their submissions with recyclable materials.
By using this uniquely environmental spin, Ms. Merdjan’s students are presented with the opportunity to rethink waste products and develop novel approaches to reuse. Some of her students’ projects include a chandelier made from hamster tubes, a handbag sewn together with bicycle tire tubes, and even a dress made with 1,134 plastic straws!
Freshkills Park, built on the former Fresh Kills Landfill, can be thought of in the same vein. As a repurposed landscape and a work of art, Freshkills Park is a prime example of what can come from creative planning and restoration.
Canal Park in Washington DC, situated between the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, was originally a canal before it was paved over in the early 1900’s for a multitude of uses, including use as a lot for idling buses. The area was converted into a park in 2000 and shortly thereafter, in 2004, the non-profit Canal Park Development Association sponsored a sustainable park design competition for the site. OLIN, a landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm was selected to design the park.
Construction on Canal Park began in 2010 and the park opened in November 2012. The new design includes many sustainable, innovative features. Among these are underground cisterns that collect “grey water” runoff from the park and neighboring blocks to be reused in park fountains, toilets, ice skating pond and irrigation. Additionally, geothermal wells have been installed to provide heating and cooling in park amenities.
The transformation of Freshkills Park involves a similar commitment to sustainability. The Owl Hollow Fields, under construction at Freshkills Park, will have a geothermal-energy-heated, green-roofed comfort station designed by Sage & Coombe. Schmul Park, which opened in 2012 and is located in the Travis neighborhood of Staten Island, also includes many sustainable features. The comfort station designed by BKSK Architects features a rain garden and throughout the park there are native plantings and permeable pavement in order to mitigate surface stormwater runoff.
Both Freshkills and Canal Park are model examples of 21st century sustainable parks.
(via City Parks Blog)
(all images copyright : JD)
(image source: American Forests)
The conservation group American Forests has just released a ranking of the top 10 best U.S. cities for urban forests, and New York City made the list! After an independent collection of data on the 50 most populous American cities, a panel of technical advisors from the U.S. Forest Service ranked the cities based on their overall commitment to improving and expanding urban forests, green infrastructure, and environmental resources.
The top cities were selected because they recognize the important roles that trees play beyond beautifying urban landscapes. Among the other parameters considered by the U.S. Forest Service were community engagement around urban forests, new developments in energy conservation and stormwater management, and public access to green spaces.
“These 10 cities are examples of the type of dedication and leadership needed to improve the health and vitality of urban forests in some of the largest cities in the U.S.,” says Scott Steen, CEO of American Forests. “Whether it is achieving cleaner air and water, managing stormwater, reducing energy usage or stemming erosion, no two cities have worked exactly the same way to achieve their place on our top 10 list, but they each serve as a role model for others.”
New York City, which is more than half way to its goal of one million trees planted by 2017, has nearly 20% of its 300 square miles of land covered by parks like Freshkills Park and Central Park. With all of this green space it is estimated that more than 2,000 tons of pollution is removed from the air each year, a value of $10.6 million. New York’s commitment to providing easy access to green space is an example of the city’s dedication to sustainability, health, and the overall well-being of the people.
September 29, 2013 – Save the date!
Since 2010, the Freshkills Park Team, in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks and the New York City Department of Sanitation, has hosted an annual fall “Sneak Peak” to give the public an opportunity to experience the beauty of the Freshkills Park site and to witness its remarkable transformation. Freshkills Park’s fourth annual Sneak Peak will be held on Sunday September 29th, 2013 and will be free and open to the public as always.
Like last year, we are planning a day of family-friendly, outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. Last year, we drew our biggest crowd yet – over 2,500 visitors, 500 of which had an opportunity to take a kayak out on Main Creek. We added free bike rentals to the list of offerings last year and have already started thinking about new activities.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the event, or if you have any suggestions for making this year’s Sneak Peak the best one yet.
In 2010, two years after its closure, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was reopened to the public as Tempelhofer Freiheit, a large city park just two miles south of the city center. Since it’s reopening, little has been done to the airport’s landscape; existing walkways are largely disconnected and only minimal infrastructure and amenities are in place. However, with Gross Max and Sutherland Hussey Architects declared as the winners of the 2010 international design competition, and with Tempelhofer Freiheit selected as the location of the 2017 International Horticultural Exhibition, the new park will be well on its way to completion by 2017.
The planning principles behind Tempelhofer Freiheit combine themes of education, integration, efficiency, economy, health, and innovation, which will be evident in the repurposing of Tempelhof’s infrastructure. The southern portion of Tempelhofer Freiheit will include incubation space for clean technology businesses, the old terminal will act as a large event space, which may even include the New Central and Regional Library of Berlin, which leaves the center of Tempelhofer Freiheit available for year-round public use.
The ultimate goal of the designers is to build a landscape that parallels the individualism and dynamism of Berlin society. They propose that the best way to do so is to appoint curators to annually redesign the message of the park. According to the Wall Street Journal, the designers would like the park to function as an “outdoor living room” and “a contemporary prairie for the urban cowboy,” while reflecting the ideas of such diverse thinkers like Al Gore, Stephen Hawking, and Dolce & Gabbana. At over 900 acres, the former Tempelhof Airport will become a distinct recreational landscape for Berlin and an inspiration for innovative adaptive reuse projects all over the world.
An upcoming documentary entitled Landfill Harmonic chronicles the work of Favio Chavez, who is using trash to inspire his local community in Cateura, Paraguay. The documentary follows Chavez, landfill technician and director of the appropriately named Recycled Orchestra, as he constructs musical instruments made of trash sourced directly from the landfill. He provides these instruments to local youth both to inspire them and to try to keep them out of gangs – an unfortunate and all-too-common fate for many in Cateura. He also hopes to use the Recycled Orchestra as a platform from which to teach the importance of recycling, conservation, and the hazards of wastefulness.
At first, building the instruments was a difficult task for Chavez, a landfill technician with only basic carpentry skills. But over the course of four years, Chavez has perfected his craft, discovering which materials works best for each instrument. The film depicts how an oil drum and meat tenderizers can sound as deep and rich as a cello, and that music can be a force to change the lives of a marginalized community.
Like Freshkills Park, Favio Chavez and his Recycled Orchestra are finding opportunities in what is, to many, simply a blighted landscape.
Stapleton, a neighborhood of Denver, Colorado has released an innovative plan to turn the decommissioned Stapleton Airport into a 4,700 acre mixed-use sustainable development. The planning for this development started more than 10 years ago after the completion of the nearby Denver International Airport, which effectively replaced Stapleton International Airport. Currently, even with less than half of the construction complete, 4,000 of the 8,000 single-family homes and 4,000 apartments have already been purchased. Alongside the housing developments are 12 million square feet of office and retail space, nine schools, and 1,100 acres of reserved park space with 36 miles of trails.
Working with developer ForestCity, the Stapleton community has reinvented a problematic site. Stapleton will provide the city of Denver with a major infusion of residential, commercial, and green space. The redevelopment of Stapleton International Airport is part of a global phenomenon – around the world, from Austin, Texas to Hong Kong, cities are creatively reusing old airports.
Though Stapleton Airport and Freshkills Park have much different histories, they share the mission of writing an alternate future by transforming overlooked and underutilized spaces into local and regional destinations.