A Sustainable &
Sustainability is a core principle driving the Master Plan.
Creating and preserving 87 acres of open space on Governors Island and making them accessible to millions of urban dwellers of course addresses larger goals for the livability and sustainability of cities. But sustainability means more than green space. These spaces must be designed to thrive for generations to come, taking into account the effects of climate change and taking advantage of environmentally sound, site-specific strategies and practices. The holistic approach of the Park and Public Space Master Plan results in new open spaces that will perform in an environmentally progressive way.
Climate change will bring rising sea levels and temperatures and intensified storms, with specific impacts for the region as identified by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). The creation of new topography on the Island specifically addresses these effects. The Hills and topography are shaped around the elevation of the projected 100-year flood in 2100. These raised areas, and the enrichment of soil conditions, provide sustainable habitat for trees and other plantings.
More than 1,300 new trees will be planted adding to the 1,700 trees already on the Island. Plant and tree selection will focus on native, as well as locally-adapted, species expected to thrive as temperature ranges in the region change.
The topography also reuses materials from demolished buildings and parking lots, keeping material out of landfills and serving as an icon of recycling. The replacement of acres of these impervious asphalt lots with lawn, plantings and permeable paving also reduces stormwater run-off and decreases the urban island heat effect.
Stormwater impacts on the site will be greatly improved from the existing Island conditions. More than 19 acres of paved parking lots and roadways will be removed and planted. Stormwater will be collected and managed on-site to minimize the amount of runoff into the estuary and City sewers.
Further improvements to the stormwater system include:
• Collecting stormwater for reuse in irrigation
• Collecting water from the Hills and Liberty Terrace and outfalling it to the Wetland Gardens at the South Prow
• Improving stormwater collection along the Great Promenade to lessen drainage into the Harbor
As the park and public space design progresses, subsequent phases will address minimizing waste, recycling, and sustainability strategies for the specification, construction, operations and maintenance of the public spaces and park buildings.
The goals for the design of the park and public space are ambitious: transform Governors Island into a destination, take advantage of its unparalleled setting in the Harbor, respect its history but create a sustainable future, and provide a varied set of experiences and areas for bicycling, the arts, habitat and recreation.
But an over-arching goal for the Master Plan has been to make sure that it is feasible, capable of being built and delivered on budget, in phases if necessary. And importantly, the new park and public spaces must be operated and maintained responsibly, as part of overall goals for the economic sustainability of the Island’s redevelopment.
Engineers worked side-by-side with designers to advance the Hills from a concept to a buildable plan. Two teams of cost estimators pored over the elements in the Master Plan to validate that the spaces could be built on budget. Understanding the time frames and funding challenges for public projects, the team developed a phasing plan for construction with the goals of retaining public access and delivering new spaces for the public to enjoy. And an expert in park maintenance was part of the team, developing an operations plan specific to the design to insure that the park can be cared for responsibly and sustainability over time. Elements that were too expensive to build and/or maintain were eliminated or redesigned.
Feasibility will remain a core principle when the project advances to the next stages of design, environmental review, construction and operations.
Governors Island offers a world apart from New York City, an extraordinary vantage point on New York Harbor and its icons, and the chance to experience the sounds and smells of a green Island surrounded by water. The Governors Island…
During the 2007 design competition, the West 8 Team sketched an idea for Governors Island’s park and public spaces: create a dramatic vertical landscape on the Island. This idea was based on the notion that in order to transform it…
Governors Island is truly an island like no other, with a unique vantage point on the Harbor and a treasured historic landscape.
VAST WATER, BIG SKY
In Manhattan, tall buildings create canyons with their own shadows. There is little sense…
Governors Island already embodies a special carefree spirit. Its first generation of visitors remark that a visit is like a vacation. The park and public space design preserves the Island as an oasis for bicycling, play, the arts, and the…
“Island of a thousand hammocks.” “A place to go with the one I love.” “Kite
flying.” “A field to play.” “Ice cream.”
Thousands of New Yorkers contributed ideas about what they would like to see in the park and public…
The Park and Public Space Master Plan is the first phase of the Island’s multi-phase, mixed-use development strategy.
The Park and Public Space Master Plan will transform Governors Island into a destination, take advantage of its unparalleled setting in the…