Tatiana Choulika—Project Design Manager at James Corner Field Operations for our upcoming project in the southern portion of the Freshkills Park site—gave a great presentation on that design two weeks back at the Arsenal. Our thanks go to her and to the large crowd that came out to learn about South Park. We’re very excited about this section of the park and FO’s design for it, which responds to a variety of expressed local and regional needs and desires while carrying through the principles set out by the 2006 Freshkills Park Draft Master Plan.
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. Working in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, CUP worked with students at City-as-School and through the Parks Department’s RECYouth program to research and produce the video.
(via Urban Omnibus)
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. The video above, which featured at Gallery RIVAA, doesn’t provide the larger international and infrastructural context of the full exhibit, but does provide a look at the history and operation of the pneumatic tube system. It also offers the reminder that no matter how elegantly designed the disposal system, garbage is not pretty.
An illustrative lecture by William Reed AIA, an architect at the Integrative Design Collaborative as well as Regenesis, Inc. and Delving Deeper who is a nati0nally recognized expert on the practice of sustainable design, delivered in March as part of the Boston Society of Architects lecture series. Reed speaks about the need for “whole-systems design,” the design of built projects that aims for both integration and co-evolution of built structures and natural systems in given development site, community or region.
Two new discoveries that offer podcasted ruminations on landscape architecture practice and projects: LANDCAST is a collaboration between landscape architect and blogger Christian Barnard and documentarian Adrien Sala and positions itself as “the voice of contemporary landscape culture”—an NPR-like program about emerging topics in landscape issues; Terragrams, hosted by landscape architect Craig Verzone, is a series of long-form interviews with prominent landscape architects about their work and the ideas that inform it. One of the early episodes is a 2006 interview with James Corner, principal of James Corner Field Operations, that focuses on the firm’s work on the High Line and Freshkills Park.
The second annual New York City Wildflower Week actually runs for nine days, starting tomorrow, May 1st and running through the end of next weekend. The various cultural partners involved in organizing Wildflower Week are offering a host of (mostly) free programs all over the City to encourage New Yorkers to learn about, experience and reflect on the sustainability of native plants, particularly. Offerings include lectures, workshops, tours of gardens and green roofs, cooking classes and children’s events.
Information and reflection on plastic marine pollution continues to increase: as if the Great Pacific Garbage Patch weren’t cause for enough distress,the Sea Education Association (SEA) recently completed a two-decade study on the Atlantic Ocean and reports that a large volume of discarded plastic also floats in the North Atlantic Gyre, trapped together by ocean currents and causing harm to fish and bird species inhabiting the area.
If you’re interested in learning more, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, director of research and education at California’s Algalita Marine Research Foundation, will be speaking at the American Museum of Natural History this Sunday, March 14th, about his research and about the impact of plastic marine pollution in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
Sunday, March 14, 12pm
Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, first floor
The American Museum of Natural History
Admission is free with museum admission
And for a more fable-like, existential take on the journey of plastic to this watery grave, filmmaker Ramin Bahrani’s short film Plastic Bag is now viewable online. The film follows the lifetime of one plastic bag, from initial use to disposal and, eventually, out to sea. At 18 minutes long, it’s not just a public service announcement but also an art film. Fittingly, then, it features music by Sigur Ros‘s Kjartan Sveinsson and narration by German filmmaker Werner Herzog.
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. There is also a naturally occurring clay liner at the bottom of the landfill mounds at Fresh Kills, which keeps leachate from seeping into the water table (in sanitary landfills without clay liners, synthetic liners are now installed). A vast infrastructure is in place within the mounds at the site to collect and process both leachate and landfill gas–you can read more about it under the ‘About the Site’ tab on the Freshkills Park home page.
The No Impact Project was started by Colin Beavan, also known as No Impact Man, to see if his family could live a zero-waste lifestyle for one year in New York City. Through environmental education, the No Impact Project aims to empower others to reduce their impact on the environment (the No Impact Experiment, a “one-week carbon cleanse,” is featured in the video). Beavan’s organization has developed The Environmental Education Curriculum for Middle and High School Teachers, a set of five lesson plans available for free online, focused on the following topics: Consumption, Energy, Food, Transportation and Water.