Once an important waterway and tidal marsh connecting Brooklyn to the NY-NJ Harbor, the Gowanus Canal today ranks among the most polluted urban waterbodies in the U.S. As part of the EPA Superfund remediation program, the City of New York is constructing two facilities that will significantly reduce combined stormwater from entering the Canal. One of these facilities is planned in the eco-industrial heart of the neighborhood on a site that currently hosts city operations by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) alongside other agencies, non-profits, and industrial businesses.
With this reinvention of the site, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) partnered with SCAPE and a wider team to develop a landscape vision for the site that includes a new, resilient DSNY facility, balancing operational needs with publicly accessible open space along the waterfront. Incorporating feedback from a series of public workshops, the design concept carves out space for a restored intertidal marsh and meadow stepping down to the canal, an ADA-accessible kayak launch, outdoor classrooms, a public program deck, bioretention gardens, and opportunities for stewardship and direct water access.
The landscape design also re-introduces aspects of the canal’s natural hydrological function lost through development and the hardening of its edges into bulkheads with lush native species. Due to nearly all of the site being located within the 100-year floodplain, the design incorporates hardy, salt-tolerant plants, hardscape elements, and furnishings that can withstand periodic flooding.
- Read the official press release from the March 2023 groundbreaking.
- Read Caroline Spivack for Crain’s New York.
- Read Vanessa Murdock for CBS New York.
- Read Aaron Ginsburg for 6sqft.
- NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP)
Hazen & Sawyer
Brown & Caldwell
Naik Consulting Group
Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE)
Nasco Construction Services