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An Urban Park Protected Through Design

Storm resilience is a key design element of Hunter’s Point South Park in New York.
November 2, 2018, 6am PDT | Camille Fink
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Karim Doumar reports on Hunter’s Point South Park, an 11-acre park that has transformed what was once a waterfront industrial area in Long Island City, Queens. The park includes storm resilient design features, which Doumar says have already proven successful:

As phase one neared completion in 2012, Hurricane Sandy and its 4-foot storm surge inundated the entire thing. And then, calmly and with great precision, the water drained right back out into the river at a pace the sewer system could handle, leaving the park intact. Construction resumed just days later.

The second phase, which opened in June, has also been designed to withstand storm effects. “Instead of concrete walls and buttresses guarding the plot from the river, this park is the river’s friend. Twice a day, as the high tide rolls in, Hunters Point South Park becomes a marsh,” says Doumar. Future plans for the surrounding area include 5,000 units of housing for middle- and low-income residents.

For now, says Doumar, Hunter’s Point South Park is an example of how green infrastructure can be a successful buffer against the forces of nature while also providing recreational space. “Instead of concrete buttresses that once dominated the riverside, Hunters Point South Park’s relationship with the river is dominated by slow, rocky descents into the sea, and a tide that works with the landscape.”

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Published on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 in CityLab
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