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The development of FreshKillsPark at 2,200 acres makes it almost thrice the size of Central Park, and this designates it the largest developed park in New York City in a century. The FreshKillsPark, formerly the biggest landfill in the world will be transformed into a prolific and scenic cultural location and an example of the restorative capabilities of local communities to bring balance back to nature. While doing so, it provides opportunities to indulge in recreational activities that may heretofore have not been available in the city. In addition, the design of the park together with the environmental restoration coupled with cultural and didactic renewal will focus on sustainability and bring a new awareness to the city on the significance of human impact upon the planet (City of New York)
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The two main issues under examination are precedent and characteristics of the site. The FreshKillsPark represents the transformation of a landfill, which is a hatred facility, exuding offensive odors but necessary for the disposal of garbage. Once a landfill is filled, a new site is identified. The city of New York has identified a new function for its old landfill; the creation of a park. An examination of the park design indicates that human recreation is not the sole purpose of the park; there is a significant emphasis on environmental issues especially as it pertains to sustainability. What can FreshKillsPark accomplish that is currently not being done in other such areas? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to examine some of the attributes that the park will feature and compare them with those found in other landfill sites such as the Boston Landfill.
Some of the features to be included in the park include two miles of roadway stretching from east to west across FreshKillsPark. A new closure design was approved in order to institute significant changes that would integrate the corridor into DSNY’s closure process. Due to the underlying soft garbage, excavation had to be done and soil added in order to strengthen the foundation sufficiently to bulwark the multi-lane traffic. The groundwork done on this area makes it possible for the future road to be built without compromising final cover or the systems already in place to protect the environment. The North, South and East mounds have as one of their goals, the management of storm water runoff. This means creating a conduit for the safe collection of precipitation in order to safeguard the integrity of the final cover. These conduits are also an aesthetic delight when it rains, creating the illusion of waterfalls after a heavy rainstorm according to Ms.Gellar.(Fresh Kills Park Newsletter 2)
The site at the EastPark has seen a resurgence of wildlife, becoming an impressive habitat for them while detention basins located at the eastern edge of the mound have spawned fish as well as providing forage for turtles, frogs, egrets, herons, raptors, deer, rabbits, migratory birds and other animals. The growth of vegetation has also been noted with sweet gum, broad leaf cat-tail, jewel weed, marshelder and various sedges observed. This gives an opportunity for wetland education to be conducted at the park and gives excellent background for boardwalks which are featured in the EastPark plans.
As can be visualised from the illustration above, a large variety of public spaces and facilities are to be availed for cultural, social and physical activities at the park. These will facilitate learning and play for residents of New York as well give opportunity for various sports programs to proliferate that may not otherwise be found in the city, for example mountain biking, nature trails, horse riding, kayaking and public art on a large scale (Fresh Kills Park)
The growth of Boston via landfill can be traced spanning back as far as the seventeenth century. When settlers came up Boston in 1630, the acreage spanned 487acres and by 1830, this land mass had grown by 10% due to Mill Pond being filled. By 1845, South Cove and Great Cove had added 298 more acres to Boston, which marked an increase in land mass of 60%. This expanded by 40% twenty years later due to the addition of the West Cove. By 1890 through systematic filling with gravel transported by train car, 580 acres were added to the back bay (The History of Landfill in Boston) Today, some of the most expensive real estate in Boston is built on this artificial land. Despite the lack of modern technology, nineteenth century Bostonians were able to artificially create a large amount of new acreage (Pilsen ). The change in size of the Boston City Limits is illustrated below.
While the FreshKillsPark is geared more toward providing a green environment for the edification and entertainment of the residents of New York, the Boston Landfill created more land for use as real estate.
Undoubtedly the expansion has created a lot of job opportunities for Boston residents but according to the FreshKillsPark blog, the potential to create up to 14 million jobs in the Parks and Recreation industry exists against an actual number of nine million jobs in the U.S. The parks are also said to represent higher real estate values. This means that with the collaboration of various elements that will go into making the Fresh Kills Park Project a reality, in terms of environmental, landscape, engineering and infrastructural professionals, this project may well be a blue print for the creation of world class parks, for world class cities. Furthermore, it is a way for New York to reclaim land previously used for dumping in a way that ensures positive, sustainable, environmental changes.