Re-envisioning the NYC Waterfront

On August 3rd, 2012, Human Impacts Institute (HII), the youth environmental leaders went to the Gantry State Park in Long Island City, West Queens, to participate in Creative Sustainability Outreach. The restored gantries in the park, once used to load and unload rail cars, reminded us of the realities of the post-industrial age. Now it has become the backyard of residents in Long Island City, offering stunning views of the East River, willow trees and grasses, and the Manhattan skyline -including the United Nations and Empire State Building.

This time the students became future architects and designers, re-envisioning their own Gantry State Park waterfront view. Walking along the shoreline of the park, the students seeing the waterfront of exciting challenges: to create strong links and enhance the experience of the visitors. How can we make the park a more attractive place? How could the park help to restore our environment and natural resources? How can the park showcase the sustainability ideas? How could the design reflect the park’s rich history? Then the students were split into groups and went to different areas of the shoreline.


Even with a limited amount of time, students came up with many brilliant ideas. Some imagined a new education center with green roofs and solar panels, while others conceived of a jungle gym, a farmer’s market, and an aquarium! Still others sketched trees, flowers, and a volleyball court. The students also presented their ideas to everyone at the end of the workshop. Overall this event was another huge success and we look forward to many of these students’ promising urban planning and architecture careers!

Stay tuned by checking our blogs and website!

By Celia Cui, 2012 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Service Intern

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