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.
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)
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.
Previous studies have shown that trees are associated with lower crime rates and a new study in Baltimore affirms this finding, showing the link goes beyond a correlation between the two factors. In other words, it’s not just a matter of wealthier neighborhoods having lower crime rates. The study controlled for socioeconomic factors and found a 10% increase in trees “roughly equaled” a 12% decrease in crime rates.
More and more evidence points to the significant return on investment from trees – citing cooling effects, air quality benefits and lower crime rates.
Come August, Staten Island is set to become an even more bike-friendly borough. The Parks Department is in the process of completing a two-mile bike path that will connect the neighborhoods of Great Kills and New Dorp, both of which lie on the other side of Latourette Park from Freshkills Park. The path will run parallel to the southeastern coast of the Island and will provide bikers, runners and walkers a more protected and bucolic alternative to traveling along the roadways. This bike route will be a welcome complement to Freshkills Park’s own 3.3 mile New Springville Greenway, set to be completed by 2013. Eventually, the route will also include spaces for “outdoor gyms” as part of city-wide fitness initiative, BeFitNYC. The creation of this path also represents an important new partnership between several city and state agencies in order to more efficiently improve the quality of New York City’s parklands for visitors and local residents alike.
(via SI Live)
As work on Manhattan’s Second Avenue subway line progresses, those viewing the massively scaled operation may wonder, “where does all the excavated dirt and rock go?” In the past, the ‘muck’ from expanding subway lines and other construction projects has contributed to the building of Ellis Island, Governors Island and Battery Park City, among other city landmarks – including the expansion of the Manhattan shoreline. Crushed rock from the 7 train extension was used in the construction of Owl Hollow Fields at Freshkills Park on Staten Island and material from the Second Avenue line is being used in the construction of the Ferry Point Golf Course in the Bronx. Material from the Long Island Railroad expansion under the East River was used in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Additional waste is processed and sold for construction and landscaping by private companies.
(via City Atlas)
The future of green infrastructure within the New York metropolitan region just got brighter: NY State and City officials announced this week that over $2 billion in public and private investments would be committed to ecologically-sound techniques for the management of stormwater runoff and sewage overflow. Techniques to be implemented include densely-planted green roofs, porous pavement surfaces, and vegetated bioswales, all of which will collect rain water and redirect it from overtaxed combined sewer systems. Billions of gallons of sewage overflows are discharged into New York’s waterways each year during periods of even light rain, a result of antiquated municipal engineering known as combined sewage overflows.
An inter-agency initiative to design and implement bioretention swales – in other words, vegetated tree pits – is currently being run by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and our own Parks Department. The division plans to construct over 100 plots across the city’s sidewalks, medians, and outfalls by the end of the year. Several pilot bioswale plots have already been planted throughout the city, including several near the Gowanus Canal.
Bioswales and other green infrastructure strategies, in their merging of economic and environmental benefits, represent a significant commitment to the adaptive management of cities responding to a future of climate change-induced challenges.
(via Capital New York)
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 have announced NYC-based design firm HWKN as the winner of the annual Young Architects Program (YAP). The eye-popping project, titled Wendy, is composed of nylon fabric treated with a nano-particle spray that will neutralize airborne pollutants. Over the course of its summer installation period, Wendy will clean the air to an equivalent of taking 260 cars off the road.
Now in its 13th year, YAP has challenged emerging architects and designers to develop concepts for a temporary, outdoor installation to be displayed in PS1′s outdoor courtyard, working within guidelines that address environmental issues. Wendy will be up between Late June and September 2012. An exhibition of the five finalists’ designs from this year’s YAP will be on view at MoMA over the summer.
The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) team recently announced the release of their Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, a free resource they hope will prove useful to “all designers, homeowners, urban planners, students, artists, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and anyone else interested in a clean energy future”.
The 70-page document provides dozens of renewable energy generation technologies within major categories such as solar, wind, water and biomass. This first edition defines each system and provides its conversion efficiency when applicable; a second edition will include pros and cons, lifecycle carbon costs, and more detailed diagrams of the technologies.
The guide should come in handy for those working on the 2012 LAGI design competition, which of course is being held for a site within Freshkills Park.
Earlier this month, the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) ideas competition, in partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation, opened with a call for large-scale artwork proposals with the ability to generate renewable energy for New York City. The design site: Freshkills Park.
Sustainable energy has been a key part of the conceptual master plan for Freshkills Park from the start. Currently the methane gas that is generated by the capped landfill is being purified and sold to a local utility in amounts capable of heating 22,000 homes. The competition addresses the potential for aesthetically-minded renewable energy generation above the landfill cap as well.
As the design brief notes:
The expansiveness of the design site at Freshkills Park presents the opportunity to power the equivalent of thousands of homes with the artwork. The stunning beauty of the reclaimed landscape and the dramatic backdrop of the Manhattan skyline will provide an opportune setting from which to be inspired, and it offers the perfect environment for a showcase example of the immense potential of aesthetically interesting renewable energy installations for sustainable urban planning.
Registration opened on January 1, and submissions will be received until July 1, 2012. A jury will then select the winning entry based on the judging criteria explained in the brief. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in October, followed by a public exhibit of qualified entries. The monetary prize award ($15,000 First Prize, $4,000 Second Prize, $1,000 High School Edition Winner) will not guarantee a commission for construction; however, LAGI will work with stakeholders both locally (NYC) and internationally to pursue possibilities for implementation of the most pragmatic and aesthetic LAGI designs.