The incredibly steep slope of northern Italy’s Muro di Sormano (“Wall of Sormano”, a mountain road perceived as a “wall” by many determined cyclists) was a part of the course for the Giro di Lombardia from 1960-62, and is considered to be one of the most difficult cycling tracks in the world. Following these famed races, the road was closed for many years and fell into disrepair. In 2006, designers working to resurrect the site devised a clever way to integrate the site’s cultural history with the course itself.
Now re-opened as a public space for recreation, the Muro di Sormano is painted with striking stencils of local plants, viewing spots that contextualize the surrounding mountain peaks, and altitude markers to measure the climb. In addition, large-printed quotations from Italian cyclists inspire the site’s new users to push on despite the grueling topography. These efforts to graphically engage visitors effectively redevelops “the wall” into a narrative for the changing landscape.
The Freshkills Park development team at the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation is in the process of designing a 3.2-mile off-road bicycle and pedestrian path running north-south along the eastern edge of the future Freshkills Park site. We are hosting an open house tomorrow, Saturday May 14th, to talk about the project and to answer questions about it. All are welcome.
The path will begin at the intersection of Arlene Street and Signs Road and continue down the length of Richmond Avenue to Arthur Kill Road, providing connection to existing and future on- and off-street bike facilities along the way. Construction is expected to run from 2013 to 2014. It’s a great project, and we’re happy to get to share it. Please stop by if you can.
New Springville Greenway Informational Open House
Saturday, May 14, 2011 | 10am -3pm
Freshkills Park Staten Island Office
2240 Richmond Ave, at Draper Place
Dwell profiles Freshkills Park in its March 2011 “We Love New York” issue. Land Use and Outreach Manager Carrie Grassi features as the story’s heroine, speaking candidly about the site’s transformation. The writing and narrative of this piece, in particular, really resonate with our experience of the site and its shifting identity: it has a storied and contentious past, yes, and it makes for a complex sell, but it is also enormously beautiful, always evolving and full of such promise that it pushes us on in support of an ambitious vision.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international competition to design a new waste-to-energy plant for Copenhagen, Denmark. BIG’s winning entry—which will actually be built and will replace the existing Amagerforbraending plant—improbably caps the huge new facility with a public ski slope. The firm’s design focuses on what it calls “Hedonistic Sustainability – the idea that sustainability is not a burden, but that a sustainable city in fact can improve our quality of life.” Bunny hills, downhill slopes and moguls, designed by Topotek 1 & Man Made Land, will be built into the roof of the building, which will be covered in a ‘recycled synthetic granular’ material instead of snow. The building’s facade will be made up a grid of planters and windows that will make it resemble a mountain from a distance.
The waste-to-energy operation is not expected to release complex or poisonous gases into the the atmosphere, but its smoke stack will release carbon dioxide and water vapor in the form of smoke rings, one ring to mark each ton of carbon dioxide released into the environment. A lucid description of goals and design of the building is available on BIG’s site. Construction is expected to be complete by 2016.
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. More than 700 submissions were received and 27 projects won awards.
(via The Dirt)
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. Submissions are to make proposals for both a ‘blue’ transportation network—”a series of green transit hubs incorporating electric passenger ferries, water taxis, bike shares, electric car-share and electric shuttle buses”—and one zone of the expo.
In addition to exposure and participation in the Expo, the winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize. Registration closes April 30th, and Submissions are due May 31st. More details are available in the competition brief.
The Winter/Spring issue of the Freshkills Park newsletter, Fresh Perspectives, is up on the official Parks homepage for Freshkills Park. In this issue are a walk-through of the design for the first phase of South Park, a primer on composting toilets and how they work, and a history and guide to wetlands at the Freshkills Park site.
We put this newsletter out every six months and distribute hard copies to various parks and cultural institutions throughout the City, in addition to handing them out on our public bus tours of the Freshkills Park site. Digital archives of past newsletters are available on the homepage, under the ‘More Information’ tab.
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.
A beloved cultural landmark, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was the world’s first passenger airport and the site of airlifts during the Berlin Blockade. After the site was closed to air traffic in 2008, the city held a design competition to solicit proposals reimagining the site as a public space incorporating the existing runways and beautiful terminal buildings. Six finalists were selected from nearly 80 proposals, designing for activities like urban farming and beekeeping, a nature park, edible gardens, sports facilities and skate parks. The winning design will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
A new ferry equipped with emission-reducing technologies will soon make its appearance in New York Harbor, transporting visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The 600-passenger New York Hornblower Hybrid will be powered by a combination of hydrogen fuel cells, solar panels, wind turbines and diesel engines that meet EPA Tier II emissions standards. In addition to using sustainable energy, the Hornblower will be outfitted in a number of environmentally sensitive materials: recycled glass countertops, LEED-certified carpet and aluminum wall coverings, LED lighting and video screens, low-VOC paints for the boat’s exterior. The developers of the hybrid ferry have also partnered with the EPA in the testing of copper-free and other alternative paint formulas that might have lesser impacts on marine ecosystems. The ferry is being built by Derecktor Shipyards in Connecticut, and its construction is expected to be completed by April 2011.
While there have been no plans announced for a major overhaul of the Staten Island Ferry fleet, retrofits that started in 2005 have reduced particulate emissions, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide from several of the ferries.