Gateway National Recreational Area

The Van Alen Institute, the City of New York and the National Park Service held a national competition to re-imagine the uses, functions, and narrative that might give new direction, meaning, life and sustainability to this massive national resource surrounding Jamaica Bay. Most of the parkland today is underused, in decline or otherwise damaged by its urban and industrial history. The centerpiece parcel, Floyd Bennett Field, remains little more than a closed airport.

Civitas’ proposal was selected for publication in the Institute’s competition presentation book. The proposal suggests developing a series of structural sand spits to create a chain of stilling basins and biological treatment wetlands to improve the quality of the immense amount of urban runoff that enters the Bay annually. Through a system of pathways, bikeways, multi-use sites, and recreational activities the entire site would be linked into one connected but varied experience. Ongoing monitoring of improving water quality and habitat restoration would involve local schools with the Park Service and City Parks Department to provide a living laboratory for the education of young New Yorkers and the development of best practices for reclamation of similar urban estuaries.

Client: Van Alen Institute + The National Park Service
Partners: None
Completed: 2008
Budget: Not established
Location: New York, NY