You are on page 1of 104

URBANISM OF INCLUSION

J
a
n
a

G
r
a
m
m
e
n
s




A
m
b
e
r

K
e
v
e
la
e
r
t
s




M
a
a
r
t
e
n

W
a
u
t
e
r
s
U
R
B
A
N
I
S
M

O
F

I
N
C
L
U
S
I
O
N
Urbanism of Inclusion, Sunset Park
Submitted to the Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning,
Faculty of Engineering,
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
in partial fulfllment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning
September 2012
Authors
Jana Grammens MaUSP Student, thesis
Amber Kevelaerts MaUSP Student, thesis
Maarten Wauters MaUSP Student, thesis
Supervisor
Bruno de Meulder Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium)
Co-supervisors
Maarten Van Acker Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium
Readers
Bruno De Meulder Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium)
Els Vervloesem Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven (Belgium)
Kees Doevendans Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Miodrag Mitrasinovic Parsons The New School for Design, New York (United States of America)
Copyright 2012 by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. All rights reserved.
All text, images, graphics and other materials in this publication are subject to the copyright and other intellectual property rights of the
authors, supervisor and co-supervisors, unless otherwise credited. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or modifed in
any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing
from the supervisor. Permissions should be addressed to Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Engineering - Kasteelpark Arenberg 1,
B3001 Heverlee (Belgium). Telephone +32 16 32 13 50 and Fax +32 16 32 19 82.
A written permission is also required to use methods, products, schematics and programs described in this work for industrial or commercial
use, and for submitting this publication in scientifc contests. All images are made by the authors unless mentioned otherwise.
The Atlantis program, of which this book results, has
been an enriching experience. The program allowed
us to take part in an exchange with Parsons the New
School of design to New York. This thesis work has been
a great and stimulating journey and is the final work of a
two-year study.
This booklet could, however, not have been realized
without the support, critical feedback and encourage-
ment of many people. First and foremost, we express our
sincerest gratitude to our supervisor, professor Bruno
de Meulder, for his inspiration and guidance. We wish
to thank professor de Meulder for all his insights and
continuous support during our process of this research
and the entire Master of Urbanism and Strategic Planning.
Subsequently, we would like to offer our gratitude to
our American co-supervisors professor Miguel Robles-
Duran, Maarten Van Acker, Quilian Riano and Angel Luis
Lara, who guided our New York studio and research.
We also wish to thank Miodrach Mitrasinovic and his
assistant Jessika. We greatly appreciate their continuous
support and care during the time we spent in New York.
Furthermore, we would like to thank all the students
that we worked together during the development of this
work. Students of the New School, Civic City program,
the Atlantis program participants and our colleagues in
Leuven whom all have given us great experiences that
have enriched our work.
We would like to thank Maura for her advice and taking
care of many administrative burdens and thus making
our studies and exchange that much easier.

Finally, we are thankful to our family, friends and
loved-ones, who have supported us throughout our
studies.
Team Urbanism of Inclusion
Amber, Jana, Maarten
Acknowledgements
1
Problem statement
Methodology
Sunset Park
Social needs
Sunset Park multi-etnic
neighborhood
Demographics
Health statistics
Education
Public infrastructure
Public space
Sewage system
Stakeholders
New York city
Community board 7
Civil Society
Civil society as an alternative
An alternative solution
Working with La Union
Combined strategies

Towards an inclusive fabric
The global food system
The disconnection of food and the city
The global food system creating dispari-
ties
Local alternatives
Local alternatives and urban agriculture
The benefts of urban agriculture
Manifestations of Urban Agriculture
Urban agriculture in New York
Urban agriculture in Sunset Park
Potential spaces for urban agriculture
Alternative food supply for Sunset Park
Total potential of Urban agriculture in
Sunset Park
Urban agriculture creating spaces of
opportunity
Bush Terminal rooftop farms
A new public space
From brownfeld to green infrastructure
Urban agriculture, an alternative pro-
duction

Historical Industrial Landscapes
Introduction
Environmental justice
Environmental Justice & Sunset Park
Garbage wars
Environmental justice in an
age of garbage
Where to go with all this waste?
Learning from other cases
New Economical Impuls
from waste burden to waste
opportunity
Borough equity
Design proposal
Dynamics of New Social
Economies
Local assets
Brownfeld Opportunities
Brownfeld strategies
Site Proposal
Stakeholders
TASTE-THE-WASTE program
Creating synergies
Conclusion

Education, inclusion and urbanism
Education in NYC
Educational barriers and opportunities in
Sunset Park
Educational barriers
Educational opportunities
Educational alternatives
Life long learning
Community schools
Netwerk schools
COL- the city of learning
Case studies
Design strategies
Programmatic strategies
Spatial strategies
Educational platforms
Sunset Park Promise neighborhood
Stakeholders
Design proposal
Sunset Park highschool
PS 971
Sunset Waterfront school
Conclusion
Analysis
General concept
Introduction
TABLE OF CONTENTS Growing in Urban Landscapes
Urban Agriculture as an Alternative
WASTE(d)LAND
Dynamics of New Social Economies
Towards a learning community
3 2
Problem statement
Urbanism has a potential to change the structure of
the city. As designers we need to be conscious of the
disparities that exist in society and aim for an urbanism
that changes the urban fabric to serve the ever changing
needs of communities. Inclusive urbanism is seen as a
practice of urban design that addresses the contemporary
urban development challenges, processes and
conditions equitably; and, from the territorial and socio-
ecological issues related to the effects of globalization
--dualization, gentrifcation, mobility and migrations,
territorial fragmentation, and uneven development-- and
the recognition that these issues most deeply affect
the urban poor and the traditionally marginalized social
groups. (Parsons the New School, 2012)
In the western world the welfare system provides services
that aim at negating disparities. Increasing privatization
and processes of exclusion leave some areas of the city
neglected and underfunded. In these cases there is a
need to look for alternative ways to produce structures
that serve the needs of people and counter the inequality
that is present in the city.
The study area of Sunset Park is a multiethnic, multiracial
neighborhood, which is marked by an increasing
Introduction Problem statement 5
4
population, largely due to immigration. This refects in
a low-income community with high dropout rates and
health disparities. (Hum, 2010) The neighborhood is
stagnant in development, in contrast to the population
growth, a signifcant number of properties are vacant or
underused. The investment in the residential part of the
neighborhood and waterfront is currently limited due to
the global economical situation. There is a willingness
of the city government to develop the sunset park
waterfront as has happened in other areas of the city.
With the disappearance of manufacturing industries and
the reduction of water based transport the Brooklyn
waterfront lost part of its activities. In some areas of
Brooklyn the waterfront has already been transformed
in residential areas with effects of displacement and
gentrifcation.
The aim of the research and design is to use the current
needs and visions in New York city and the neighborhood
of Sunset Park furthering towards a more inclusive urban
fabric. Education, Urban food production and Waste
recycling are themes for which the city of New York is
currently in need of alternatives and manifest themselves
within the urban fabric of Sunset Park. Is there a future
development in Sunset Park, which embraces bottom up
needs and processes, that refects the need for a more
inclusive city?
Location of case study (Based on Bing Maps, 2012)
7
6
different social research tools were used in parallel to
more classic mapping techniques.
The studio and exchange to Parsons have created an
understanding of the case study of Sunset Park. This
has created a basis in relations and knowledge about
Sunset Park, which is used in this thesis to develop
further specific research topics and design. The thesis
is a combined research in which each of the participants
has explored personal subjects to develop the theme
of Urbanisms of Inclusion. These subjects overlap and
touch upon different themes and most parts of the works
are constructed in close collaboration. The goal of the
research has been to create a work where the different
parts are complementary and reflect on the future of
Sunset Park and the city.
The aim of the studio was to explore broad research
themes. The overall goal of the studio was to understand,
negate and speculate on complex urban conditions. The
specific neighborhood of Sunset Park was selected, for
this allowed a focusing on the intricacies of low income
neighborhoods and its delicate urban ecosystem.
Another particular element of this studio was the
emphasis on social-praxis, a social research perspective
that focuses on social movements and communities are
already producing knowledge, methodologies, and even
epistemic positions that are useful for social sciences
and the design disciplines. The research process was
supported by a socioligist Angel Luis Lara and formed a
collaboration with neighborhood organization La Union.
Interviews, socio geographic mapping and a number of
The research for this thesis has been part of several
different projects. The large overarching theme of
urbanisms of inclusion is a collaborative research project
between a network of European universities and universi-
ties in the United States. In the frame of the joint research
an exchange program has been set up for thesis students
that are encouraged to explore the theme urbanisms of
inclusion. As part of this exchange the initial research and
the case study have been first explored within the Urban
Ecology studio in the school of design strategies of The
New School in New York City.
The Urban Ecology studio was a research project with a
small design component, which was partaken by a broad
range of design students. The design teams were multi-
disciplinary and had students from a diverse background.
Driving group with La Union, participatory research (Authors, 2012) Guided tour through Sunset Park with La Union (Authors, 2012)
Methodology
8
9
Sunset Park is a vibrant neighborhood in Brooklyn,
New York. Sunset Park has been greatly transformed
over the last decades by a new wave of immigration.
The new immigration reflects in a part of the population
that has limited access to services such as healthcare,
education, The residents of Sunset Park are largely
Hispanic and Chinese in origin. A lack representation
and poverty have resulted in a level of self-organization
through community-based organizations. The residential
neighborhood of Sunset Park lies next to an industrial
waterfront. The waterfront had historically been the
economical driver of Sunset park, providing jobs and a
livelihoods. The industrial waterfront is now typified by
large underused spaces and buildings, which are vacant.
With the current economical crisis the area has few
perspectives for development, thus alternatives develop-
ments have a potential in Sunset Park.
The rich case of Sunset Park reflects global issues and
questions about the future of the city. However the
specific research topics embedded within the thesis are
derived from actively participating within the community
and discovering the issues that are of concern to the
community.
Sunset Park, a neighborhood of diversity
Map Sunset Park (Authors,2012)
10
11
Analysis
Social needs
13
12
Mixed identities in Sunset Park (Authors, 2012) Chinese New Year on 8th Avenue, Sunset Park (Authors, 2012)
Sunset Park multi-etnic neighborhood
For years Sunset Park was the first destination for waves
of immigrants all over the world. A sequence of Irish,
Norwegian, Finn and Italian immigrants had settled here
and left there stamps on the neighborhood. After the
neighborhood decline in the 60- 70s a huge population
of Puorto Ricans found there new home in Sunset
Park followed by other hispanic communities such as
Mexican and Dominican populations. More recently a
huge chinese wave of immigrants has been settling in the
east part of Sunset park as well. At this moment a clear
division between these Hispanic and Chinese population
is extremely visible in the urban tissue of Sunset Park.
The consequences and needs that the neighborhood
today experiences, due to its immigration history and
status on the one hand, and the evolution of the neigh-
borhood on the other hand is not to be underestimated.
The population in Sunset park is still growing
tremendously. As Sunset Park is a low-income and
more and more dense neighborhood it has to deal with
a lot of struggles and social needs which manifestate
on different levels, such as economy, education, health,
housing and so on.
14
15
Brooklyn Community district 7 - Sunset Park New York City
Foreign born
Surface
Population
Citizenship
43.755
55,2 %
42.542
33,2%
50.825
51,4%
1 214,4 km 251 km 10,1 km
8. 349. 788 2. 551. 964 152. 277
$ $ $ $ Median household income
Race/Ethnicity
38.7% 36.8% 46%
x 5
x 3,2
x 1,16
x 1,02
x 25
x 17
Asian
Latino
White
Black
Others
White White
Black
Latino
Asian
Others
Latino
Black
Asian
Others
Demographics. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012)
Demographics
16
17
Housing
Owning 28%
Renting 72%
57,2% of Renters in
Sunset park pays more then
30% on rent.
34,2% or renters in
Sunset park pays more then
50% on rent.
Only 3,1% of public and
subsidized units available
in Sunset park.
Residential units
between 3th and 8th
avenue from 30th
until 60th street.
Residential street, (Authors, 2012)
Hispanic side
Chinese side
Asian 27,8%
Latino 43.3%
White 24,1%
Black 3,6%
Others 1,3%
Race/ethnicity Top 5 languages spoken at home
Spanish 38,7%
Chinese 5,6%
English 29,5%
Formosan/Taiwanese 2,2%
Russian 1,4%
Sunset Park always have been a multi etnic immigrant
neigborhood. Currently a large hispanic population
as well as an increasing chinese population are the
dominating races. Although these two groups inhabit
the same neigbourhood, they are strongly divided in to
the urban tissue.
The hispanic population lives on the west side of Sunset
Park, mostly between 4th and 6th avenue. 5th avenue is
the major commercial street of this group.
The chinese population, on the other hand settled on the
east side between 7th and 9th avenue with 8 avenue as
their main commercial street.
Hispanic & chinese population: authors, 2012 Brownstone housing in Sunset Park(Authors,2012) Demographics. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012) Housing. (Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012)
18
19
solid waste
Illegal landfill
Industrial
brownfields
Gas turbine
Hospital: toxic
waste
Pesticide spraying
Local vegetables
Global fast food
solid waste
Illegal landfill
Industrial
brownfields
Gas turbine
Hospital: toxic
waste
Pesticide spraying
Local vegetables
Global fast food
*Combined sewage overflow
Health statistics
Health and well being is a profound issue in Sunset Park.
A lack of health insurance and a polluting environment
and condition of poverty are leading to poor health of
the Sunset Park residents. Obesity, diabetes, asthma
and heath failure are statistically higher in Sunset Park as
compared to Brooklyn and New York.
Health statusfigures. (based on: NYC Health, 2006)
20
21
Diagram health status. (NYC Health, 2006)
23
22
The initial study around education already revealed a
web of different issues inhabitants of Sunset Park have
to deal with.
Furhtermore, it became clear that education can not be
specified only on the formal system of public and private
schools but that education concerns the community as a
whole. As such different layer of formal as wel informal,
additional education can be explored in the educative
landscape of Sunset Park.
Formal education
Additional education
Road network
Sunset park border
1
1
2
2
4
3
3
4
10
6
5
8
9
7
11
5
7
8
1
2
3
4
5
11
12
13
1
2
4
5
3
6
7
8
9
10
11
12 13
14
15
16
17
18
19
14
6
8
10
7
9
16
17
18
19
20
6
9
10
11
15
Formal education
Addtional education
Sunset Park High School
153 35th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 840-1900
Principal I Corinne Viral
Assistent principal I Victoria Antonini
PS 24
427 38 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-832-9366
Principal I Christina Fuentes
IS 136 Charles O Dewey school
4004 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-965-3333
Principal I Eric Sacler
PS 1 The Bergen elementary School
309 47 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-567-7661
Principal I Jennifer Eusanio
Al Madrasa al islamay
5224 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 567-3334
Principal I Muhammad Abdul Basir
PS 971
6214 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-765-2200
Principal I Ruth Stanislaus
PS 310
6214 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 765-4630
Principal I Yuqing Hong
PS 169 Sunset Park
4305 7 Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-853-3224
Principal I Josephine Santiago
Granja los colibries
community garden La Union
219 34th St, NY Brooklyn 11232
(between 4th and 5th ave
Contact: Jess Nizar
jnizar@la-union.org
(347)-460-1393
Community Board 7
4201 4th Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11232
(718) 854-0003
communityboard7@yahoo.com
ContactI Jeremy Laufer
Head Starts: adult and continuing
education
4222 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY11232
www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/child_care
/headstart.shtml
Center for family life
345 43rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 788-3500
info@csp.org
Center for family life
5505 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220, United States
(718) 492-3585
www.csp.org
Martin Luther playground
2 Avenue, between 55 St. and 56 St
Brooklyn, NY 11220
www.nycgovparks.org/parks
Lutheran medical health center
5800 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 745-1092
www.lutheranmedicalcenter.com
Lutheran Medical
4520 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 439-5841
www.lutheranmedicalcenter.com
Community garden
64th street between 3th and 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
contact: John Kixmiller
www.greenthumbnyc.org
Our lady of perpetual help
526 59th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-492-9200
www.olphbkny.org
Bay ridge childcare center
322 44th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 768-5030
Sunset park childrens school
4616 4th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-439-3323
www.sunsetparkchild.com
St. Andrews community daycare
4917 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 492-9678
Turning point
5220 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 360-8100
www.tpdomi.org
Sunset park Branch library
5108 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 567-2806
www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org
Metropolitan learning institute
550 59th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-492-2120
www.gettraining.org
Rainbow playground
6 Ave. Bet. 55 St. And 56 St.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
www.nycgovparks.org/parks
Happy dragon of New York
5805th 7th ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-439-8816
www.happydragonschool.com
Head start center
4419, 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 222-6323
www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/child_care
/headstart.shtml
Sunset park recreation center
7th Avenue at 43rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 965-6533
contact: Lynn McEvoy
www.nycgovparks.org
PS 503 The school of discovery
330 59 Street
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718) 439-5962
Principal I Bernadette Fitzgerald
PS 506 The school of journalism and technology
330 59 Street
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718)-492-0087
Principal I Lisa Sarnicola
St. Agatha school
736 48th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-435-3137
Principal I Alice Rios
PS 94 The henry Longfellowv
5010 6th Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718) 435-6034
Principal I Janette Caban
Our Lady of Perpetual help
5902 6th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 439-8067
Principal I Patricia Winters
Education
Education is an important aspect in the individuals,
community, city and state level to achieve economical
success, success in the labour market and success in life
in general. For the majority of people your education level
will determine your income level, your place in the class
system, your health and your future.
PHYSICAL
PROBLEMS
ACCESS
health/food adult education
yearly
state exams
How can solving small physical problems
be a catalist for problems in bigger scales?
How can trust be strengthened in
organizations through education?
How can we provide
appropriat educational
support on each level?
What is our task
in this part?
(un)documented
cutting funds on
special education
unsupporting
environment
property
labour
culture
(identity)
HIGH DROPOUTS
LANGUAGE
NON PROFIT
ORGANIZATIONS
lack in
OUTDOOR
space
lack in
INDOOR
space
LACK IN AFTER
SCHOOL PROGRAMS
FORMAL
EDUCATION SYSTEM
?
?
?
?
INFORMAL
EDUCATION
Formal education
Additional education
Road network
Sunset park border
1
1
2
2
4
3
3
4
10
6
5
8
9
7
11
5
7
8
1
2
3
4
5
11
12
13
1
2
4
5
3
6
7
8
9
10
11
12 13
14
15
16
17
18
19
14
6
8
10
7
9
16
17
18
19
20
6
9
10
11
15
Formal education
Addtional education
Sunset Park High School
153 35th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 840-1900
Principal I Corinne Viral
Assistent principal I Victoria Antonini
PS 24
427 38 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-832-9366
Principal I Christina Fuentes
IS 136 Charles O Dewey school
4004 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-965-3333
Principal I Eric Sacler
PS 1 The Bergen elementary School
309 47 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-567-7661
Principal I Jennifer Eusanio
Al Madrasa al islamay
5224 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 567-3334
Principal I Muhammad Abdul Basir
PS 971
6214 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-765-2200
Principal I Ruth Stanislaus
PS 310
6214 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 765-4630
Principal I Yuqing Hong
PS 169 Sunset Park
4305 7 Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718)-853-3224
Principal I Josephine Santiago
Granja los colibries
community garden La Union
219 34th St, NY Brooklyn 11232
(between 4th and 5th ave
Contact: Jess Nizar
jnizar@la-union.org
(347)-460-1393
Community Board 7
4201 4th Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11232
(718) 854-0003
communityboard7@yahoo.com
ContactI Jeremy Laufer
Head Starts: adult and continuing
education
4222 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY11232
www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/child_care
/headstart.shtml
Center for family life
345 43rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 788-3500
info@csp.org
Center for family life
5505 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220, United States
(718) 492-3585
www.csp.org
Martin Luther playground
2 Avenue, between 55 St. and 56 St
Brooklyn, NY 11220
www.nycgovparks.org/parks
Lutheran medical health center
5800 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 745-1092
www.lutheranmedicalcenter.com
Lutheran Medical
4520 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 439-5841
www.lutheranmedicalcenter.com
Community garden
64th street between 3th and 4th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
contact: John Kixmiller
www.greenthumbnyc.org
Our lady of perpetual help
526 59th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-492-9200
www.olphbkny.org
Bay ridge childcare center
322 44th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 768-5030
Sunset park childrens school
4616 4th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-439-3323
www.sunsetparkchild.com
St. Andrews community daycare
4917 4th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 492-9678
Turning point
5220 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 360-8100
www.tpdomi.org
Sunset park Branch library
5108 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 567-2806
www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org
Metropolitan learning institute
550 59th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-492-2120
www.gettraining.org
Rainbow playground
6 Ave. Bet. 55 St. And 56 St.
Brooklyn, NY 11220
www.nycgovparks.org/parks
Happy dragon of New York
5805th 7th ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-439-8816
www.happydragonschool.com
Head start center
4419, 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 222-6323
www.nyc.gov/html/acs/html/child_care
/headstart.shtml
Sunset park recreation center
7th Avenue at 43rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
(718) 965-6533
contact: Lynn McEvoy
www.nycgovparks.org
PS 503 The school of discovery
330 59 Street
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718) 439-5962
Principal I Bernadette Fitzgerald
PS 506 The school of journalism and technology
330 59 Street
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718)-492-0087
Principal I Lisa Sarnicola
St. Agatha school
736 48th Street,
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718)-435-3137
Principal I Alice Rios
PS 94 The henry Longfellowv
5010 6th Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11220
(718) 435-6034
Principal I Janette Caban
Our Lady of Perpetual help
5902 6th avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 439-8067
Principal I Patricia Winters
24
25
PS 105 playground 0.56 acre
Rappaport Playgr. 1.15 acre
IS 220 playground 0.82 acre
Sunset Park 25.4 acre
Nicholas Brizzi playgr. 0.54 acre
Heffernan square 0.03 acre
64th str comm. garden
PS506 Playgr. 1.1 acre
Martin Luther playgr. 0.91 acre
Bush Terminal Park 17.3 acre
PS1 playground 1.55 acre
Playground Three-Forty 1.25 a.
Greenwood cemetery (466.2 acres)
OPEN SPACE
Sunset park: 1/4 of an acre/person
New york standard: 2.5 acres/Person
American standards: 6-10 acres/Person
John Allen Payne Park 1.51 acre
?
SIMS recycle
Brooklyn
S. Carolina
Hamilton export
Brooklyn
CSO discharge
Informal glass
collection
Waste collecting
Sunset Park + surrouding
Public infrastructure
26
27
Community gardens
As a reaction against the lack of space and opportunities
in Sunset park two neighborhood groups started their
own community gardens. One of them is owned by the
community group that worked together with the Parsons
students during the course of the first phase of the
project. La Ganjita, the garden of La Union and the 64th
Street Community Garden appropriated a vacant lot for
community purposes. The gardens function as meeting
spaces but also for growing vegetables, for individual or
educational use.
people cannot be buried here.
Public Space versus open space
Apart from the limited amount of public space, there is
a scarce amount of unutilized space or under-utilized
space that can be defined in different categories; vacant
lots, parking space and dumping spaces. Also within
building blocks there are often spaces that are because
of the ownership just used as parking space.
Brownfields
In sharp contrast with the spaces in Sunset Park neigh-
borhood there is a large amount of open space which is
defined by former industries. In the waterfront area large
acres of concrete space, predominantly city owned are
left abandoned after their indutrial purposes.
Sunset Park with view over Manhattan (Authors, 2012) Brownfeld at the water front (Authors, 2012)
Public Space
Since the starter of the industrial era Sunset park neigh-
borhood started to grow exponentially. As the neighbor-
hood began to overcrowd Sunset Park was the only open
space left untouched to counter the densely urbanizing
area. Now after many years it is still marked as the only
green open space you can go for recreation, indoors as
well as outdoors. Still in terms of population density it is
the only place mentionable in size.
Other clearly smaller recreational spaces are charac-
terized by their presence near a school, or as leftover
spaces which due to regulations where not built up.
They predominantly exist of non-permeable surface
and are often determined with restrictions, such as age
categories, and time bounded due to school properties,
but they serve as a welcome place and tend to be
overcrowded.
Greenwood Cemetary
The cemetery that serves a large part of Manhattan and
Brooklyn, functions as both an oasis and a boundary for
the inhabitants of Sunset Park Neighborhood. Due to the
former rail yard it is topographical disconnected from the
neighborhood.
For the illegal neighborhood dwellers the cemetary
contains an emotional disconnect since undocumented
28
29
31 30
Owls head water
treatment plant
Source: NewYork Department of Environmental Protection
NewYork City has a combined sewer system, a mixture
of stormwater and waste water is processed and
expelled at a waste water treatment plant. A combined
sewer system collects both wastewater from demestic,
commercial and industrial sources with runoff water from
streets and buildings. The collected wastewater is then
treated before it is released to streams, rivers or lakes.
Problems arise when the system is overloaded after a big
storm.
On a dry day: Wastewater and street runoff collected in
the sewer is blocked by a partial dam in the collection pipe
and flows by gravity to the treatment plant.
After a big storm: Runoff from streets causes collector
to overfill. When untreated wastewater rises above the dam
in collector pipe, it is discharged into the river.
PS 105 playground 0.56 acre
Rappaport Playgr. 1.15 acre
IS 220 playground 0.82 acre
Sunset Park 25.4 acre
Nicholas Brizzi playgr. 0.54 acre
Heffernan square 0.03 acre
64th str comm. garden
PS506 Playgr. 1.1 acre
Martin Luther playgr. 0.91 acre
Bush Terminal Park 17.3 acre
PS1 playground 1.55 acre
Playground Three-Forty 1.25 a.
Greenwood cemetery (466.2 acres)
OPEN SPACE
Sunset park: 1/4 of an acre/person
New york standard: 2.5 acres/Person
American standards: 6-10 acres/Person
John Allen Payne Park 1.51 acre
?
SIMS recycle
Brooklyn
S. Carolina
Hamilton export
Brooklyn
CSO discharge
Informal glass
collection
Waste collecting
Sunset Park + surrouding
On a dry day: Wastewater and street runoff collected in the
sewer is blocked by a partial dam in the collection pipe and
fows by gravity to the treatment plant.
After a big storm: Runoff from streets causes collector
to overfll. When untreated wastewater rises above the
dam in collector pipe, it is discharged into the river.
Rainwater drainage schemes (Duhigg, 2009)
Map: Combined sewage outfalls and waste water treatment plants (Duhigg, 2009)
Each year in New York, billions of gallons of sewage and runoff overflow
through 490 points, or outfalls, into the harbor and rivers when it rains
heavily, because sewage treatment plants cannot hold the capacity.
Estimanted annual average sewage
overfow through each outfall
2.0 billion gallons
1.0 billion gallons
100 million
Waste water treatment plant
Sewage system
New York City has a combined sewer system, a mixture
of stormwater and waste water is processed and
expelled at a waste water treatment plant. A combined
sewer system collects both wastewater from demestic,
commercial and industrial sources with runoff water from
streets and buildings. The collected wastewater is then
treated before it is released to streams, rivers or lakes.
Problems arise when the system is overloaded after a
big storm.
32
33
New York City
Firstly it is interesting to understand the past planning
processes of top down policies, which have led to
the current neighborhood structure. These policies
addressed benefits for the greater New York, neglecting
its neighborhood residents. Leading towards a distressed
landscape with stigmatizing uses such as garbage
transfer stations, sewage treatment plants, bus depots
and fossil fuel power plants.
The waterfront development plans are currently still
pursuing the trend neglecting the neighborhoods needs
with project proposals such as Sunset Energy Fleets
proposal for a power plant at 22nd Street, instead of
the implementation of a public high school, which has
currently been removed from the citys budget.
The citys current interest in post-industrial waterfront
neighborhoods has lead to gentrification in neigh-
borhoods such as Williamsburg and Park Slope. By
reaffirming the position of industrial waterfront for Sunset
Park this has been the only counter lever to the displace-
ment trends.
In our research we investigated on the role of a divers
amount of stakeholders, which are defined by different
power structures. Our aim is to equally give voice to each
stakeholder individually and re-imagine which are the
collective needs.
and determine the communitys response to citywide
issues or make choices on local issues.
To understand the power of the Community Board better
we conducted an interview with CB7s District Manager
Jeremy Laufer. He is currently involved in designing a new
idea for the waterfront together with a local community
group UPROSE. And has a lot of useful information for
the further evolvement of our project.
Sunset Park for a long time didnt have any elected
officials, together with the fact that it is a immigrant neigh-
borhood and has a low percentage of voters, resulted in
an industrial area where negative impact facilities were
placed. (Laufer, 2012)
They often function as a mediator between the needs of
neighborhood residents and the plans of New York City
for the development of the Neighborhood. But stressed
that they have little to no power to change policies, they
only function as advisors.
This mediating function does not always seem the
best position in regards of the trust of viable neighbor-
hood members because of their close relation to the
government, and the distrust of the residents in top down
policies.
Community board 7
Brooklyns Community Board 7 represents the neighbor-
hoods of Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, East Windsor
Terrace, South Park Slope, and Greenwood Heights.
New York has 59 Community Boards citywide of which
18 in Brooklyn.
Community Board 7 is a local level of City government
comprised of 50 volunteer Board Members who are
appointed to two-year terms by the Borough President
and the local City Council members. The Community
Boards allow communities to have a say in local decisions
Stakeholders
Jeremy Laufer (Authors, 2012)
34
35
Civil Society
An important aspect in a neighborhood as Sunset Park
is the network of organizations that form the civil society.
They form the key element between the voice of the
citizens and the power of the decisions makers. In the
US this kind of community- organizations is very present
and there existence is often crucial to become change
towards a more socially equal environment.
In Sunset park a strong connection between the historical
needs and problems of the neighborhood, the settlement
of new groups of immigrants and the emergence of
different community based organizations is visible.
civil society as mediator to address needs and poential
for development
CENTER FOR FAMILY LIFE is the organization that
has probably the strongest connection with different
programmes in collaboration with public schools withing
Sunset park. These programes include after-school
or art projects. Besides this the organization also has
educational programmes that concern youth and adult
employment.
SUNSET PARK ALLIANCE provides education and
services for disconnected youth to return to the classroom
TURNING POINT mainly addresses the needs of
adolescent boys, particularly those at risk for drug or
gang related activities, expanded their services to include
crisis intervention, tutoring, after school and summer
programs.
Generally almost all organizations offer in a way a kind
of education. A lot have educational programs that are
specified on certain topics.
UPROSE is the oldest community group in Sunset Park
and was founded as a reaction against the environmental
deteriorating and health concerns after years of polluting
industrial economy at the Sunset Park waterfront. Uprose
organizes several programs to address issues concerning
the waterfront development, land use, brownfields, trans-
portation, air quality, open space, alternative energy, and
environmental health. Presently they received an EPA
(Environmental Protection Agency) grant to make a BOA
(Brownfield Opportunity Area) study at the waterfront.
Education
Food
Environment
BROOKLYN FOOD COALITION is a grassroots organi-
zation dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable
food system in Brooklyn. The organization is involved in
neighborhoods in three areas: Community organizing,
education and public awareness, research and advocacy.
The coalition organizes food workshops for urban
farmers, as well as being involved in national lobbying
for more just food systems. The diverse actions of the
organization aim at building an inclusive, multi-racial,
multi-cultural alliance of residents and community-based
groups from all parts of Brooklyn, reflecting the boroughs
rich diversity.
36
37
LUTHERAN MEDICAL HEALTH CENTER is the major
stakeholder in providing health services in Sunset Park.
They played an important role in the revitalization of
the neighborhood and today you can find the Lutheran
hospital and more Lutheran family health centers spread
over the area of Sunset Park.
Sunset Park is a neighborhood that is characterized by
its history of migration. The vast Latin American and
Chinese population whom are now settled in Sunset Park
are mostly first-generation immigrants and a major part
of them are undocumented/illegal.
ATLAS is a recently established organization and calls
itself a cooperative empowerment center for immigrant
youth. They offer workshops, advocacy and consulta-
tions around the rights and laws of immigrants.
LA UNION is the community organization that we have
worked with during our fieldwork in Sunset Park, their
main aim is to support immigrant families with the issues
around their legal status. One of the programs they
support is the DREAM ACT, who tries to strive for the
rights of undocumented immigrants to go to college or
university.
Health Migration
NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS main aim is to
empower low and middle income residents in Brooklyn
to secure quality housing and build financial assets.
SUNSET PARK REDEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE acts
as a developer but is a non-profit organization that
is concerned with restoring apartment buildings and
keeping rents affordable. For the moment they continue
a redevelopment and acquisition mission for vacant
buildings throughout Brooklyn. They manage buildings,
provide technical assistance and organize tenants asso-
ciations.
5th AVENUE COMMITTEE Through the development
of affordable housing and property management, 5th
avenue committee tries to improve the living environment
for inhabitants in different neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
SOUTH WEST BROOKLYN DEVELOPMENT COOR-
PORATION is an organization that provides programs
and advocacy to help business in Sunset Park and
surrounding neighborhoods.
Housing Labour
38
39
HISPANIC COMMUNITY
CHINESE COMMUNITY
SUNSET PARK
SOUTH - WEST BROOKLYN
BROOKLYN
1 2 3
UPROSE
1966 1969
Lutheran Health Center

1975 1978 1979 1981 1983 1987
Sunset Park Business
Improvement District
Just Food
Adelante Alliance
La Union
1987 1990 1995
.
1996 2000 2005 2006 2009
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Brooklyn Chinese
American Association
Mixteca
Sunset Park Alliance
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Sunset Park Redevelop
Committee

Center for Family Life
SouthWest Brooklyn
Development Coorporation
Chinese Staff and
Workers Association
Children of the City
Turning Point
5th Avenue Committee
Opportunities for a Better
Tomorrow
migration
youth
education
health
food
labor
environment
housing
41
Economic decline of the neighborhood and
the industrial watefront together with an ethnic
reversal through the arrival of a low low income hispanic
community made condistions in Sunset park detoriate.
The start of revitalization through the upswing of
community-based organizations that organized
strongly under the lead of Lutheran Family health centers
and Uprose. A second major ethnic chinese community
integrating in Sunset Park.
Sunset park still knows as tremendiously growth
with a new chinese population coming up. A trend
that made new organizations arise to fight for there rights
and to nourish the awareness of the inhabitants.
(sources for stakeholder analysis based on: Winnick, 1990; Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007)
40
41
to start the revitalization of the Sunset Park neighbor-
hood. The proposal for a major meatpackings distribu-
tion plant in Sunset Park at the same location where
Lutheran medical health center was considering to build
a new hospital was the turning point for the community.
In 1969 this resulted in a huge protest which lead to the
development of the first community organizations in the
neighborhood wich was called the Sunset Park rede-
velopment committee and who became the principal
instrument for urban renewal in the neighborhood. The
organization covered connections to a main part of the
neighborhoods churches, local business, ethnic orga-
nizations,... The role of Lutheran medical health center
in the further revitalization of Sunset Park is not to be
undervalued. They became much more then providing
health care in the area and the construction of a hospital.
They were the leading organization that was concerned
abouth the disadvanteged members of its community
and the wider interest in the neighbourhood, its potentials
and possibilities. They were resoluted to bringe all
state, federal or city funds that were possible to there
community. Uprose, an independent ethnic organiza-
tion, was as well one of the main pioneers that started a
couple of years earlier to defense the hispanic population
in Sunset Park. The community partly succeeded. In the
political system Sunset Park became an indipendent
entity within Brooklyn that was eligable for and partici-
During the 60s and 70s Sunset park knew a period
of strong decline caused by several circumstances.
On the one hand, whole New York was suffering from
economical trends and the upswing of cheap labor
which made economies detoriate. On the other hand,
more specific for Sunset Park were the closure of the
American Machine and Foundry building and deactiva-
tion of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. In this period not
only the economy of Sunset Park was in change but the
neighborhood also knew a remarkable cultural reversal.
The current mostly norwegian population began to leave
Sunset Park to go to better abodes in the suburbs. The
dwellings of these departed were replaced through a
mainly Puorto rican - population. A lower income- group
that through deficiency in skills and language was not
able to improve the situation. Besides this, the construc-
tion of the Gowanus expressway along third avenue
-that cuts the neighborhood in two- was no good for
the neighborhood as well. It discouraged investments
in Sunset Park and a lot of people and business were
displaced to go to more flourishing areas.
An important factor in the revitalization of the area are
due to the efforts of the inhabitants and the commitment
of them into community - based, non- profit organiza-
tions.
Here the Lutheran Medical Health Center was a pioneer
43
pated in the demand for public resources.
However, despite all the efforts, Sunset Park remains
a relatively poor neighborhood that scores lower than
averages in Brooklyn and where the industrial waterfront
is still not used by its full potential. Evenmore, the
ethnicity of the neigborhood is changing again. A large
chinese population is settling around eight avenue. This
huge population growth, mainly between 1990 and 2000
made problems in a more and more dense Sunset Park
even increase. Even today the population of Sunset park
is increasing tremendously. A trend that made new orga-
nizations arise to fight for there rights and to nourish the
awareness of the inhabitants.
It is obvious that trough looking to the history of
these organizations a clear connection between the
development of them and issues and problems in the
neighborhood in certain periods can be made. The
presence of these community-based organizations is of
crucial importance for Sunset Park and its development
towards a more inclusive neighbourhood. They form the
indespinsable links between the voice of the people and
the decision makers. However they will not be able to
solve everything, as history has shown, it is possible to
bring Sunset Park on the larger political agenda on the
one hand, and to unite the power and the voice of the
people. Make them aware and to raise there voice.
Civil society as an alternative
42
43
Working with La Union
Self analysis of La Union.
44
45
LA UNION
Police
dep. Fire
dep.
D.O.T Sara
Gonzales
Dep.
Education
City
Governm. Court
New
School
Com.
Board 7
School
PS24/36
Dept.
Immigr.
Fire
dep.
Luth.
Hospital
Land-
lords
Ceme-
tary
Jewish
Commu. Felix
Ortiz
Deve-
lopers Money
Transfer
Banks Church
St.Jacobs
Mixteca Just Food Atlas Unions
Adezante
Alliance
Center for
Family Life
Barrio de
Promesas
Tourning
Point
Chin.Workers
association
Occupy
Sunset Park
Mano a
Mano
The 5th Av.
Commitee
Si Se Puede
Cooperat.
Beyond Care
Coop.
Neigbors
Help. Neigb.
UPROSE
Men
Street
Vendors
Dominic.
Com.
Children
Neighb.
Of La
Granja
Adult
Students
Chinese
Com.
Labors
Gentrifiers
Undocu-
mented
Immigr.
Mexican
business
owners
Docum-
ented
Immigr.
Teachers
Fellow
Tenants
P.R.
Commun.
Women Youth
Strong relation
Good relation
Normal relation
Weak relation
Conflict relation
People
Civiel society
Power
Sunset Park Rec Center
Community Board 7
72nd Police Precinct
Lutheran Health Center
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
GreenThumb
Department of Transportation
Chase Headquarters
Granja Los Colibries
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
64th street garden
P.S. 503/506:
UPROSE
Center for Family Life
Sunset park CSA
P.S. 503/506:
Jon Kitzmiller
Barbara
Dan
Serena
Angel and his son
Jon Kitzmiller
Jeremy Laufer
Rodrigo
Margarito
Jessika
Owls Heads wastewater
treatment plant
SIMS Recycling plant
Sanitation department
waste collection/garage
Piek Power Plant
barges 1970
Gas turbine
Piek Power Plant
barges 1970
Hamilton Waste
Transfer Station
La Union
Brooklyn navy yard building 2
Bright farms
LA UNION is the community organization that we have
worked with during the course of our fieldwork in Sunset
Park. They were the main source of knowledge, which
we received of the neighborhood. The cooperation gave
insights to pressing community needs and created a
deeper knowledge of the urban environment.
Several studies have been conducted together with the
community group, for example a sociogram that La Union
made tried to identify their function within the neighbor-
hood (illustrated bellow) this gave new insights of how the
neighborhood is perceived for the inhabitants. The same
exercise is made by the Parsons and Atlantis students
(right image), in order to learn about the differences of
analyzing the investigated neighborhood.
The main aim of La Union is to support immigrant families
with the struggles of retrieving legal status, and the
concerns due to the lack of legal recognition. One of the
programs they support is the DREAM ACT, who tries to
strive for the rights of undocumented immigrants to go to
college or university.
46
Sociogram of La Union. Sociogram of community organizations.
46
47
City- owned l and
P r ivatl y- owned l ots
Feder al l y- owned l and
New York City and Sunset Park
Waterfront development
14 South forms a vision of governmental view of Sunset Parks
future (Department of City Planning, 2011)
Sunset Park is a small part of Brooklyn. This chapter of
the analysis aims to frame Sunset Park in relation to rest
of the city. Currently the city of New York has defined
redevelopment goals of the waterfront. A number of
plans have been created for Sunset Park by different
organisation in the city of New York. These plans reflec
the importance of Sunset Park and its waterfront to the
rest of New York city. The Sunset Park waterfront is now
of interest as part of the larger waterfront redevelopment
that is taking place in the city. The current proposed
plans are aimed specificly on the industrial area and
provide little relation and interest in the residential part
of the neighborhood. A very significant portion of the
waterfront is NYC government owned land. Due to
the fact the that it is an immigrant neighborhood, a
lack of official representation and available land at the
waterfront, a significant amount of city infrastructure is
located in sunset park. The power, waste and detention
facilities enhance the importance of Sunset Park to the
rest of the city.
49
48
Community Board 7 Plan
with greenway developed by UPROSE
the communities of sunset park.
Other utopical views on the development of the waterfront
only take sea rize levels into account and neglect the
specificity of the neighborhood as a working neighbor-
hood.
The current development of sunset park seems to
enhace the seperation between industrial and residential
parts of the neighborhood. Rather then aim at a better life
quality for the people in the neighborhood aims at a rapid
redevelopment of the waterfront. The waterfront has the
interest of the city and investors, which is lacking in the
rest of the neighborhood, The current neighborhood
plan can be seen as furthering or aiming towards gentri-
fication. A proposal for development from the waterfront
can be reversed. Having a development of the residual
spaces in the city fabric to meet the needs of residents
and create a more symbiotic development.
The current NYC Development Plan has reaffirmed the
Sunset park waterfront as an industrial area. Part of the
plan has been the addition of waterfront access by the
creation of the bush terminal park. In addition a greenway
(cyclingpath) provides an extra link in the citywide
cyclingnetwork. An attemp was made to create links
between the waterfront and the residential part of the
neighborhood. The definition of these corridors is lacking
and no initiative is taken to provide a clear relation to the
opportunities that are created in the industrial area and
Waterfront development plan. (Brooklyn Community
Board 7, 2007)
Rising Currents. (Bunge, 2012)
51
50
General concept
Combined strategies
In general we can state that in Sunset Park there is a need
for a deeper more inclusive city. Therefore we propose to
new forms of production into the city, where neglected
citizens can become actors within the public realm. The
community
The formerly thriving waterfront, which functioned
as the center of public activity, has been completely
disconnected from the neighborhood through the
deterioration of the economic impulses. The new
proposed strategies will enhance the connection
between the neglected waterfront and the neighborhood.
This can give an answer to the rapidly growing residential
population and increasing multicultural society and their
needs for jobs and dynamic public spaces for encounters
and learning opportunities.
The oversized street pattern of the Sunset Park
neighborhood is used as carrier of the public realm.
Strategically selected streets are downgraded and
remodeled as avenues for stronger public experiences
and safer and greener connections towards the waterfront
and within the neighborhood.
These same streets become capturing elements for
water runoff to reduce combined sewage overflows and
by this restoring the polluted waterways.
Global processes and concerns are reflected back on the
level of the local community to tackle the disconnection
from the public sphere.
53
52
55 54
global local
industrial foodproduction
urban agriculture composting
learningcommunity
educational platforms
clean energy production
bio-diversity
INCLUSION
oil production
2040 2025 now
composting
learningcommunity
educational platforms
clean energy production
bio-diversity
2040
Sunset Park
E
D
U
C
A
T
I
O
N
F
O
O
D
E
N
VIRONM
E
N
T
E
n
v
ir
o
n
m
e
n
t
a
l
j
u
s
t
i
c
e
Recycling
Residential Industrial
W
a
te
r Air Soil Waste
W
ater ru
n
of
CSO
Historical Brownfelds
Chemical Solid
s o c i a l e c o n
o
m
i e
s

n
u
t r i c
o
u
s
f o
o
d

c
o
m
m
u
n
i t
y
s
p
a
c
e
s


g
r
e
e
n
in
f
r
a
s
t
r
u
c
t
u
r
e
W
a
te
r Air Soil Waste
u
r b
a
n
f a
r
m
i U
r
b
a
n
g
a
r
d
e
n
i
n
g
S
p
o
n
t
a
n
i
o
u
s
e
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n
F
o
r
m
a
l e
d
c
u
a
t i a
n
a
l A
d d i t i o n a l e d u c a t i o n


c
o
m
m
u
n
i t
y
c
o
n
n
e
c
t
i o
n
s
c
o
l l a
b
o
r a
t i o
n
s

h
a n d s - o n l e a r n i n g


e
d
u
c
a
t
io
n
a
l p
l a
t
f
o
r
m
s


57 56
the legacy of post-industrial landscapes
PRODUCTIVE POST-INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES
from global to local landscapes
from global trash to local trash
from global problems to local opportunities
stimulating local economies
from global to local economies
Dynamics of a post industrial landscape
Growing in Urban Landscapes
Urban Agriculture as an Alternative
Growing in Urban Landscapes
Towards an inclusive fabric
Urban agriculture in essence is the production of food
in an urban context. In the field urban agriculture is
becoming integrated with a large number of different
issues and is fuelled by alternative needs of the urban
dweller. The goal of the research is to explore urban
agriculture as a practice that can foster a more inclusive
urban fabric. The first step is to understand the context
in which urban agriculture is becoming an ever growing
phenomenon. The second part of the research focuses
on the practices, benefits and relationship that urban
agriculture can create in the city. The research is based
on the experiences in New York.
In a final part the potential of urban agriculture as an
alternative generator of the urban fabric is explored in
the neighbourhood of Sunset Park. How can urban agri-
culture become a practice that is embedded in a neigh-
borhood?
61
60
The global food system
were free to occupy different activities. Civic adminis-
trator was one of the occupations and historical evidence
shows that these officials were completely devoted to the
organization of the surrounding agriculture lands. Experts
even argue that it was the task of organizing agriculture
that led to the invention of writing by Sumerians. (Steel,
2008, p13)
One of the key elements to agriculture has been land and
the question of ownership historically has shaped the
production of food. Carolyn Steel in Hugry City quotes
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The first man who, having
enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself saying:
This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe
him, was the real founder of society..
Originally people lived of what the land provided and
only a small fraction of land was owned by individuals.
This graduately changed as land was turned in to agri-
culture land the vast forests of Europe disappeared. With
growing populations in medieval Europe and land as a
crucial element of power, a debate emerged in England.
John Locke and Sir Thomas Filmer represent the two
sides of the argument. Filmer argued for the divine right
of Kings to own the land, as God gave the earth to Adam,
the first monarch of men, all succeeding monarchy had a
divine right to the earth. Locke reputed this argument and
in his work following the rejection of Filmers divine right
The disconnection of food and the city
Food is embedded in our everyday routines. As living
creatures we need nourishment on a stable basis to
sustain ourselves and to remain healthy. For most people
it is relatively easy to get three square meals a day without
having to concern about the growing and processing of
food. Todays urban dweller is only a small end part of
a large production gain that feeds our cities. In many
ways most people are only involved in a small part of
the food chain, namely the consumption of food. Food is
historically strongly linked to the urbanized society. The
majority of the world now lives in urban or semi-urban
conditions and is no longer producing its own food. The
urbanized population has changed how the food that
people needed is produced. A smaller number of people
produce food for an expanding world population. A
globalised food system now supplies cities with an ever
greater diversity of food.
The forming of cities and civilization has been histori-
cally strongly related to the production of food. A surplus
in the production of food was what first resulted in the
possibility for mankind to pursue different activities and
cities to form. Uruk, a Sumerian city in Mesopotamia, is
a great example of one of the earliest cities where people
63
62
arguments formulates thoughts about the ownership of
land. Locke concludes that an individual can lay claim to
land through the investment of labour. It follows that if a
farmer tills the land he owns the land. Locke makes one
note here, that this is only true if every man only takes
what he needs. The changing of land into agriculture was
the first major shift in the way mankind provided their
food and the land was used. (Steel, 2008, p26-27)
The theories formulated by Locke in the late 17th century
were applied in the colonization of America. Settlers
considered the new world endless, the liberal ideals of
Locke were applied and even included in the Decla-
ration of Independence through Thomas Jefferson.
Lockes theories were based on productive agriculture
and thus excluded the hunter-gatherer culture of Native
Americans. The development of agriculture in America
and the industrial revolution led to the first disconnect of
city and agriculture. The innovation of new farming tech-
niques and transportation by rail created a new freedom
for cities. The American Midwest had been turned from
prairie into agriculture land, a vast potential in grain
production existed here, this land was however stil cut
off by the Appalachian mountains. In 1825 this new grain
basket was connected to New York by the Erie Canal.
This made New York boom and showed the potential of
a stronger connection between the east coast and the
Midwest of America. The building of a rail line across the
mountain range in 1850 finally opened up the Midwest
to the world. The stable production of food on a large
scale and the ability to transport it, led to the liberation of
cities from agricultural hinterlands. The size of a city was
no longer limited by the food production surrounding it.
(Steel, 2008, p26-27)
Grain prices plummeting lead to a depression in Europe
and the surplus in feed allowed for the first time the
mass production of meat in America. The food system
globalized for a first time, massive quantities of food
where transported from America to Europe. The scale
of production shifted towards mass production both in
Europe and America. The mass production of food led
to an important shift in thinking about food and the city.
No longer was the question the possibility of feeding
the growing industrial cities, but the cost to do so. The
question of price has resulted in innovation such as fertil-
izer and pesticides, which have led to great increases in
productivity. Technical innovation in farming tools and
battery farming are also responsible for great increases in
productivity, yet one can ask questions about the ethical
and environmental consequences of these farming tech-
niques. (Steel, 2008, 31-35)
The historical evolution of food and urbanization in Europe
and North America has undergone a crucial shift. From
urban centers that were very connected to the produc-
tion of food, an evolution took place to a global industrial
agricultural complex that is disconnected from the city.
The struggle to feed the urban centers has distanced the
food production from the urban core. The industrial revo-
lution has given us a highly efficient agriculture system
and replaced agriculture in the city by industry. The last
change in the food system has been a corporate take-
over. The food system is now controlled by a handful of
corporations that have taken monopolies on certain parts
of the food chain and influence the practices and choices
in the whole system. The often long supply chains that
are controlled by corporate businesses, allow for dispar-
ities to exist and the negative side effects to be hidden.
64
65
many of these come from Mexico or other countries in
South America. The wages they are paid, are sometimes
so little that they are unable to provide in their own live-
lihood. More then 90% of the workers have no health
insurance, although they are often performing hazardous
labour. The situation goes as far as farm workers being
unable to afford to feed their families. The reason for this
is that the farm workers are paid extremely low wages
and that the work is temporary; many workers only
find work for half the year. It is a paradox that the farm
workers, who pick the food that we eat, are themselves
unable to afford a nutritious diet.
(Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p 13-17) (Gottlieb and Joshi.
2010,p 13-17)
Globalised food politics
The corporate businesses that control the food system
have been able to influence the policies related to food
for a long time. As a way of economic development,
the United States of America have always had aggres-
sive policies supporting the export of their agricultural
products. Companies active in national food production
have grown into large corporate businesses that dominate
the global food market. In Food Justice, Gottlieb and
Joshi point at two major factors that created the global
flows of food and corporate control: these are the Green
Revolution and the rapid increase of export from the USA
chickens. The relatively small company expanded and
industrialised its activities. This resulted in chickens
being raised in windowless spaces barely able to move
and continuously fed antibiotics. To maximize their profit,
Tyson also capitalizes on its market monopoly through
subcontracting to farmers, which are paid the minimum
and have to comply with strict standards. The products
Tyson Foods delivers are ready cut or processed meat
products; one finds these in the large supermarkets and
fast food restaurants. Tyson supplies familiar household
brands such as McDonalds, Wal-Mart and many other
large food retailers. (Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p35-38)
Slavery in the field
The animal abuses are relatively well known and have
been exposed by the media many times. However the
disparities that are created for farm workers are often
forgotten. The farmers are being forced into contracts,
which allow them barely to make a living. Farmers that
refuse to cooperate face difficulties in a food system
controlled by large corporations. Everywhere, but espe-
cially in the USA, the agriculture system is based on
the labour of cheap farm workers. Migrant workers are
exploited to the point of slavery. Seasonal farm workers
have become faceless, nameless units of production. In
the USA there are over three million people employed in
agriculture. About one third of the farm workers are illegal,
Mexican farm worker in lettuce feld, California (C. ORear, 1972)
The global food system creating disparities
The development of urban agriculture is embedded in
the disparities that are created by a global, industrial and
corporate controlled agriculture system. Urban agricul-
ture can be viewed as a practice that reflects the injustice
created by the global food system.
Distancing as a strategy
The distance between growing and consumption in a
long linear production process is named as one of the
main reasons that allow for the unethical practices to
be so present in the production of food. In many cases
unhealthy practices are used to maximize production
quantity and reduce costs. Large-scale production has
fostered the use of chemicals in agriculture. The use
of certain chemicals has been linked to increased risk
of diseases such as Parkinson. The over-use of fertil-
izers pollutes water supplies and destroys ecosys-
tems worldwide. One of the more famous examples
concerning the effects of the global companies on
the way food is produced, is the factory style produc-
tion of chicken by Tyson. Tyson Foods supplies most
of the chicken consumed in the USA. Tyson started
as a middleman buying from local farmers and selling
66
67
and Europe to developing countries. The Green Revolu-
tion has influenced the nature of food production in the
developing world, exporting modern techniques and the
products involved such as pesticides and hybrid seeds.
The American policies have made that agriculture in the
whole world has industrialized, often with the excuse of
raising productivity. (Gottlieb and Joshi. 2010,p 105-107)

Food and energy
In essence, food is stored energy to be consumed by
people to fill their basic need for nutrition. The long
supply chain and globalised food system have added
another important ingredient to agriculture. The food
system is highly reliant on oil, to such a degree that
we are investing enormous amounts of energy into the
production of food. In the USA between 14-19 per cent
of energy-use is consumed for food production. The use
of energy has to do with both the scale of agricultural
businesses as well as the distance between production
and consumption. The raising of crops creates the first
consumption of energy. Farmers use a range of machines
to raise the productiveness of their fields. Furthermore,
the size of agricultural operations require larger and more
energy consuming techniques. In addition to considering
the energy used by the food system, is the ability of crops
to produce energy. The global need for oil puts pressure
on the agriculture system; vast pieces of land are now
Irrigation Fields (R. Kendrick, 2003)
changing from food production to crops for the genera-
tion of bio fuel. Crops such as sugar cane and corn are
now, instead of feeding livestock for people, turned into
bio fuel on extreme scales. The land allocated to corn
production in the USA is constantly growing and fertile
land is used for the growing of energy instead of food.
(Dougherty, 2007), (Steel, 2008, p48), (Viljoen, 2005, p25),
(NYC council, 2009, p6)
Access to food
As varied as the accessible food is in general in the city,
this is sometimes not the case in the poorer areas of the
city. Food deserts are areas of the city where there is no
access to nutritious food. As supermarkets are corporate
businesses that are profit driven, they often decide to
quit the stores that are not generating large profits in
poor areas. In addition to having a lack of supermarkets,
food deserts are often characterized by having a large
number of fast food restaurants. (Alkon and Agyeman,
2011, p 89)
Fastfood restaurant in Sunset Park (Authors, 2012)
68
69
Local alternative food systems
Local alternatives and urban agriculture
Alternatives to the global food system are a response
to the globalisation and to the disconnect that has
been created between the production of crops and the
consumers of food. Mares and Pena write, We live in
a time of neoliberal globalization and mass displace-
ment of rural place based people who have been shoved
away into what was been aptly described as a Planet of
Slums (Davis 2006). This is a world that invokes the end
of the local and place-based (Appadurai, 1996) (Alkon
and Agyeman, 2011, p 201)
The disparities created by the globalisation and a global
food system are finding local reactions that foster a local
and more sustainable city.
Urban agriculture is such an alternative and is founded
in local action and a collection of actions that attempt
to form an alternative to the global food system that
creates local disparities. The notion of urban agriculture
is rooted in environmental and social justice principles.
One will find that there are as many motivations for prac-
ticing urban agriculture as there are people engaged
with it. The main difference between urban agriculture
and rural agriculture is the connection to a market of
consumers that is found around it and to create a benefit
to the community that it is embedded in it. Urban agri-
culture must be seen as an addition to the existing food
system that is an answer to the specific needs of the city.
Historically there have been examples of alternative ways
of providing food in cities on a very large scale. In the
USA, to counter food disparity during periods of distress,
government initiatives promoted urban food production.
The most successful examples are perhaps the Victory
US World War II era poster promoting Victory Gardens (Morley,
1945)
71
70
of agriculture that also foster a more inclusive society. In
Spain, in the village of Marinaleda, an extreme alternative
is created to the global food system. The economics of
the village are based on an agriculture cooperation that
grows agriculture produce and a second cooperation
that processes the crops. These organizations are part
of the municipality. The profits are used amongst them
to create a supportive system in the village. The land
that is now owned by the municipal co-ops, was previ-
ously owned by the local Duke and attained only after
a long legal struggle with the national government. The
local workers and villagers are now the owners of the
Gardens during World War II: twenty million gardens
produced 40 per cent of vegetables consumed during
the war. During these periods, the government educated
and assisted people in the production of food. The
Victory Gardens were key in stabilizing the national food
requirements, but apart from their food production, they
provided returns beyond the production of food. The US
government found that there were social and psycholog-
ical benefits for people involved in the gardens. (Nordahl,
2009, p17-18)
Even today one can find examples of alternative forms
is sourced from a number of upstate farms in Schoharie
County, to neighbourhood organizations in the Bronx and
Harlem. The Corbin Hill Farm Share started as a project,
which wished to revive a farm and sell the products
directly in New York City. The initial demand of produce
far exceeded the production capacity of the starting farm
and so a sourcing from nearby family-owned farms was
used to meet the demand. The companys activity has
land around their village. The profits are used to provide
social services and affordable housing for the village.
The process of budgeting in the community happens
in open council meetings, in which every member of
the community has a direct vote. Houses in Marialeda
cost far less then the average houses in Spain. New
residents are however required to work for a long period
at the construction of the towns houses. To deter people
from taking advantage of this alternative system, there
is no ownership of housing. It were the exploited agri-
culture workers of the village that formed the basis for
this alternative model of a community. Although this
example is extreme and rather difficult to replicate in
a more urbanized context, it illustrates how agriculture
organized around a community can be the basis for a
more inclusive city. (Terzake, 2012), (Gottlieb and Alkon,
2010, p18)
In a more urban setting like New York, examples of local
initiatives can be found as well. The Corbin Hill Road
Farm project is one such attempt of creating food justice
by creating an alternative to the global supply chain of
food. The Corbin Hill Road Farm is a farm share initiative
which aims at linking local New York farms to neighbour-
hoods in the city that have a lack of access to healthy
food.
The initiative is set up as a for profit organization, produce
to be seen as much broader then producing and selling
food; it has the aim of bringing food security and aims
at increasing the health of the target communities they
work with. In effect, the company brings together three
stakeholders of the food business and creates a unique
Principles of Corbin Hill Farm (The Greenhorns, 2011)
Farm workers in Marinaleda (Laura Leon, 2012)
72
73
relationship, from which benefits all parties involved. The
first group is the neighbourhood partners that are used
as distribution points, produce provided is cheaper and
of a wider variety then available in the community. This
has both economic and health benefits for the neigh-
bourhoods involved. The second group are the farmers.
Through the system of farm share, they get financial
stability and an economic future. Their incomes are
no longer depended on price fluctuations in the global
market and as a consequence the farmers can plan a
stable development of their business. The last group is
the investors, who were able to invest in social entrepre-
neurial enterprises, contributing to their communities,
while still getting a return on their investment. (Cohen, N.,
& Derryck, D., 2011)
The Corbin Hill Farm Share project is an example of the
social nature that food can play in urban neighbour-
hoods. Healthy food is key to a healthy lifestyle, although
an image exists of abundance in large cities, often good
food is expensive and rather difficult to obtain. Another
element that Corbin Hill addresses is the disappearance
of small family owned farms. Smaller farms are gradually
disappearing and getting replaced by larger corporate
controlled farms. The distance of farms to city cores also
grows as urbanization spreads. In New York State the
population has been steadily growing while the number
of farmers has been reducing. An ever-greater control
of food production by a small number of companies
is the case. Tyson effectively controls the produc-
tion of chickens in the USA, while Monsanto has an
enormous hold on the growth of crops by the distribution
of patented seeds. Corbin Hill creates an alternative to
corporate controlled agriculture and provides benefits for
all partners involved. Reducing the gap between produc-
tion and consumption could be a solution to the creating
of new relations between urban and rural. (Gottlieb and
Joshi, 2010, p35) ,(Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p315),
(NYC council, 2009, p2)
Urban agriculture itself is more focused on the actual
production of food in the city. Urban agriculture can
become a driver of sustainable development for the ever-
growing urbanized territories. In the global south, food
security becomes an important issue when considering
urban agriculture. Urban food security can be seen as
the requirement and right to have access to sufficient and
nutritious food to sustain a healthy life. In some contexts
the issue is not so much about providing the quantity of
food, but securing the accessibility of food. Urban agri-
culture is often a way for people to become more self-
sufficient and gain a level of food security.
Urban agriculture is a practice that can be temporary but
permanent urban agriculture in Africa provides sustain-
The benefits of urban agriculture.
As varied as the reasons for urban agriculture there is a
great range of possible benefits that Urban Agriculture
can bring to the city. These benefits manifest themselves
in different ways as every project is unique.
Social benefits
The social benefits of urban agriculture are best perceived
in the poorer neighbourhoods of the city. In these parts of
a city one can often find groups striving for social justice
that turn to agriculture as a tool for negating disparities.
Community development can be seen as one of the
important benefits in peoples quality of life. Often it
provides a space for productive relaxation and interac-
tion that would other wise be inaccessible. Often urban
agriculture is a reaction to neglected pieces of land, the
transformation of this land into a positive asset for the
community fosters a feeling of achievement and posi-
tivism in a community.
Strange as it may sound, community gardens can even
play a role in crime rates. In neighbourhoods with high
crime rates community gardens have been created to
ability and resilience against disaster. In most cases the
reason for Urban Agriculture is not a temporary reason,
but rather based on more permanent motivations.
In her research on urban agriculture in the Townships of
Cape Town, Shirley Dunn summarizes the motivations for
urban agriculture as:
Occupation keeping busy during the day
Love of farming and family culture of farming
Exercise and health
Interacting with others and sharing problems
Improving the community
(Dunn, 2008, p3)
74
75
of communities and organisations whose leaders have
felt marginalized by white-dominated organisations and
communities (Alkon and Agyeman, 2011, p159)
The food justice movement and urban agriculture projects
which often carry the same ideology; are in some cases
conscious attempts to reduce racial discrimination.
(Viljoen, 2005, p57)

Economical benefits
One of the things that can be seen as a clear advantage
of urban agriculture is that it focuses itself on the local
needs. It allows goods that might otherwise be poorly
accessible to people to become accessible. A large
element of this is food security, for some people nutritious
might be unaffordable and urban agriculture provides a
solution to obtaining a sufficient amount of food. A large
part of the economical benefit lies in the reduction of
costs of society that is creating by other benefits of urban
agriculture.
The focus of urban agriculture is also to stimulate the local
economy. Urban farms provide jobs and skill training to
local residents. In many cases the urban agriculture is
linked to alternative forms of distribution, which often
include systems where the cost is relative to income.
In this urban agriculture provides a system that creates
viable local businesses and provides more socially just
provide an alternative to drug use and criminality. Often
young people end up on the streets, because of a lack of
occupation and no family structure.
Urban food production can play a major role in reducing
discrimination. Although urban agriculture is often seen
as a middleclass activity; there are many great examples
of urban agriculture being used to empower people and
counteracting discrimination. Gender, race and class
discrimination is present in cities all over the world.
Food production can be a way to express an identity;
this could be through the growing of culturally significant
crops. In an interview with an Mexican immigrant in New
York, Margarito stated I really like this garden, we grow
food here, it reminds me of Mexico where my grandpar-
ents used to have such a garden when I was young. In
the garden in Sunset Park, a part Mexican, part Chinese
neighbourhood in New York he had found something
of his own country and a space where he could be
free in spite of being an illegal resident. (Interview with
Margarito, 12-04-2012)
Often led by people of colour, food justice organisations
see dismantling racism as part of food security. By taking
an explicitly racial approach, the food justice moves
away from the colour-blind perspective The food
justice approach aligns itself directly with the interest
systems. As highlighted in the case study of the Corbin
Hill farm earlier there is a level of social inclusion involved
linked to the economical benefits of urban agriculture.
In her research on the social benefits of urban agricul-
ture Dunn finds that it is fascinating that all of the people
she interviewed give away produce to people in their
community on a regular basis. The products often are
given to neighbours or family, but also to those who have
the greatest need for them such as elderly and needy
children. (Dunn, 2008, p3),(Viljoen, 2005, p57-59)
Health benefits
One of the benefits of urban agriculture is that it returns
knowledge about food to the city. In many cases the
growing of food educates people about the seasonality
and the origin of products. Knowledge about the variety
and production process can foster a healthier and more
nutritious diet.
Urban agriculture is an outdoor activity that requires
physical labour, which can be perceived as good for the
health. On the other hand there are also mental health
benefits that come from actively participating in outdoor
activities. In the hearth of Detroit city there is even a
farming project that is linked to a recovery centre for
homeless and alcoholics; here an urban farm is used as
a rehabilitation tool.
One of the Township farmers interviewed by Dunn
describes the health benefits as such
If Im at home and Im not feeling well, I decide to come
to the garden. Thats where I get the exercise, then I can
feel right. Ever since I started a garden, I dont have a
problem with my life. I even encourage my community,
saying that if they feel they are not well, they should
come to the garden. Thats where they will get well.
(Dunn, 2008, p6),(Viljoen, 2005, p59-61)
Environmental benefits
Spaces of urban food production are often valuable green
spaces. These green spaces can be ecologically valuable
step stones for urban fauna and flora. Green space in the
city is often linked to dealing with issues of permeable
surfaces for dealing with water issues.
Another environmental aspect of urban food production
is the ability to deal with waste in a different way. Often
urban agriculture projects include the local collecting and
composting of organic materials. The local production
of food reduces the need for transport of goods, thus
reducing the need for energy involved in providing the
food. In addition the need for packaging is reduced as
well. An increased environmental awareness is also one
of the benefits promoted by the growing of ones own
food. (Webb, 1998)
76
77
Urban agriculture in New York (Urban Design Lab, 2011)
Manifestations of Urban Agriculture 79
78
production. The right crops and techniques could
produce a significant amount of food and provide
economically viable options.
New York has a range of existing productive spaces that
provide good examples of the benefits and potential of
productive urban spaces. In the city there are over a
thousand community gardens and around 30 farming
projects that all produce food. The quantity that is
produced by these spaces is very hard to determine,
there contribution to the city nonetheless hard to deny. A
number of cases have been chosen because they illus-
trate the links and benefits possible.
Urban agriculture in New York
The potential of urban food production is questionable,
it will never be possible for cities to be self sufficient in
their food production. Urban centers will always depend
on rural areas that produce food. A city as densely
populated as New York is therefore an interesting case to
highlight what the potentials of food production in cities
could be. A recent study by the design lab of Columbia
University identified nearly 5000 acres of vacant land that
has potential for farming. In New York urban agriculture
is a hot topic and as in many American cities there is a
renewed interest in food production.
The study states: Urban agriculture is undergoing a
renaissance due to a confluence of factors. Most impor-
tantly, it lies at the nexus of a variety of issues which are
seen as critical to the ongoing sustainability and livability
of our urban environments: public health, healthy food
access, green space, air and water quality, economic
development, and community engagement. (Urban
Designlab,2011)
The spaces identified for urban agriculture range from
vacant land, both publicly and privately owned, to
rooftops, which have the potential of supporting food
(Peters et al., 2008. ) (New York City Department of City Planning. 2012) (Census Bureau Current Estimates Program. 2010)
80
81
Brooklyn Grange
Commercial Rooftop Farm
Brooklyn Grange is named as one the largest rooftop
farms in the world, 40,000 square feet of soil based urban
agriculture. The farm is located in Queens on top of an
office building, formerly an industrial building. Brooklyn
Grange leases the rooftop for a period of ten years, the
enterprise had their first growing season in 2010.
Analysis
The project has a range of environmental benefits in
addition to the greening of the city. The project creates a
year round vegetation with winter planting and in the rest
of the year a diversity of plants is allowed to flourish. An
interesting component of the garden is a side project of
bee keeping. An active raising and promoting of bees is
crucial for the pollination of plants in the city. One of the
clear benefits of a rooftop farm is the retention of rain
water, a part solution to the problems of the outdated
sewer system in New York.
Brooklyn Grange has managed to cover its operating
costs in their first year of business. One of the reasons
for its success could be the diversity of its activities and
the direct supplying of consumers. The farm supplies a
range of high-end produce directly to restaurants and
has a CSA distribution to the surrounding neighbor-
hood. The cooperation with restaurants extends into the
Brooklyn Grange (Authors, 2012)
could potentially support the weight of a farm. The most
crucial element with a rooftop farm on a commercial
building is the connection to the surrounding neighbor-
hood. It seems that like any urban agriculture there is a
need to involve the city in the farm. Spatially and archi-
tecturally rooftop farms are interesting as they could
enhance the performance of a building and turn an
otherwise often ignored space into an asset.
garden being rented as an event space. Another part of
the success can be found in the internship program, 10
students work on the farm during the summer and learn
urban farming skills.
Although providing the farm with extra help when labour
is needed most, the educating of young students is a
crucial contribution of the farm to the city. The knowledge
of urban agriculture is very limited in a city as New York
and spreading of knowhow can be seen as an important
task. In addition the farm gives children from local
schools tours, aimed at teaching kids how food grows.
Conclusion
Rooftop Farms have a great potential, old industrial
buildings have a large footprint and structures, which
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
82
83
Red Hook Community Farm and Added
Value (farm as community organization)
Added Value describes itself as a non-profit organization
promoting the sustainable development of Red Hook by
nurturing a new generation of young leaders. A socially
oriented farming project is used to empower the local
youth of Red Hook. The project began in 2000 as a
reaction against the lack of educational opportunities for
youth in Red Hook.
Analysis
Red Hook is a neighborhood in Brooklyn that is slightly
cut off from the metro system. This has resulted in an
area, which besides a lot of empty spaces, also has a
large number of green and public spaces. The farm
however provides an alternative space that is safe for the
youth of the neighborhood.
The farm provides a crucial access to healthy food in the
neighborhood. In the time the ten years they have been
operating the farm has produced food, which has been
sold, donated and consumed locally. Even more powerful
then the revenue that is generated, is the link that the Red
Hook Community farm forms between farmers and local
businesses and people. Through several projects such
as a farmers market, a CSA and restaurant partnerships
the farm has brought both health and economic pros-
perity to the Red Hook neighborhood.
Red Hook Community Farm (Authors, 2012)
Conclusion
The Red Hook Community Farm illustrates the empow-
erment and neighborhood development potential a
productive space can have. By getting children involved
in farming they are able to learn about health and food
justice. The knowledge that is gained, gives the opportu-
nity to people to be active in their neighborhood.
The farm is an educational space as much as a produc-
tive space. Workshops are organized for more then a
thousand students annually and continuous educational
programs are provided for elementary school children.
In addition to the educational values that are bestowed,
the farm works with a large number of volunteers. These
volunteers donate their time to the farm, but also partici-
pate in neighborhood improvement.
Youth Farming (Added Value, 2012)
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
84
85
Urban Meadow
(community garden linked to CSA)
Urban meadow is community garden located in Red
Hook on the corner of one of the blocks near the harbor
waterfront.
Analysis
Urban Meadow provides a unique space in the neighbor-
hood. A large part of the space is a grass field, only a
small portion of the garden is productive space, hence
the name of the community garden.
The garden functions as a CSA distribution point, this
provides members and participants with an additional
amount of produce on top of those that are produced in
the garden. This gives the residents access to cheaper
produce.
The environmental and economical benefits are that
Urban Meadows provides to the neighborhood are
limited, the greater its power as a social space. Parks
in the neighborhood surrounding the community garden
are all hard surfaces. The garden is the only semi-public
space with a permeable surface. In weekends the
garden is a pole of activity with people gardening, having
barbecues and kids playing. The garden is also the
location of the neighborhood festival, the Red Hook Jazz
Festival. A free festival that has been organized for the
past five years and features upcoming Jazz musicians in
Urban Meadow (authors, 2012) Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
a two day festival.
Conclusion
The space that a community garden provides is neither
public, nor private. Urban Meadow shows that these
spaces often have the potential of hosting activities
far more divers then those related to urban agriculture.
Productive spaces are potential alternatives to parks and
streets, spaces where activities that are not allowed in
the official public realm can take place and are thus an
important infrastructure for a community.
Musician at Red Hook Festival (Brian Harkin, 2012)
86
87
Robertas garden
(urban garden/farm with restaurant)
Robertas is a popular restaurant in Bushwick. A few
years ago, the owner decided to start growing vegetables
on containers and is planters in the back of the restau-
rant. Robertas is an interesting case as it can be seen
as an effect or instigator of the change that is happening
in Bushwick on the edge of Williamsburg. The neighbor-
hood has been slowly changing from industrial ware-
houses to lofts and now is a mix of industry and young
hipsters. (Brooklyn, New York)
Analysis
The environmental component of this small space is
rather limited.
Economically having a garden linked to a restaurant
makes sense, some products are very expensive or
hard to source. The growing of specific products makes
economically sense. Furthermore, working with unique
products gives a restaurant an edge on the competition.
The way productive space could be viable in areas where
food is readily accessible, is by promoting the unique-
ness of the product and marketing this to a public which
is prepared trying alternatives.
One of the interesting things about Robertas is that it
hosts a radio studio. The heritage network is a internet
radio that is themed around food, in this way knowledge
Robertas farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
and information surrounding food and agriculture is
spread in New York city. An intern program in the garden
similar to that of Brooklyn Grange both provides free
labour as well as spreading knowledge.
Conclusion
Chefs are always looking for fresh and unique products.
In cities most restaurants rely on suppliers. The hands on
approach of Robertas, supplementing the normal acqui-
sition of food, is interesting and provides benefits given
the visitors of the restaurant. When considering urban
agriculture it is important to find an embedded need in
the functions a space is linked to. In this way even small
residual spaces can become an asset in a network of
urban food production.
Robertas farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
Aerial view farm (Bing maps, 2012)
Restaurant party at farm (www.robertasgrows.com, 2012)
88
89
Georgias Place
(Seed to Feed Rooftop Farm)
Georgias Place is permanent supportive housing for
formerly homeless, mentally ill adults. A farm is located
on top of the complex located in the Crown Heights
neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. A rooftop farm is linked
here to the supportive housing.
Analysis
The environmental benefits of the space can be seen as
limited. The greening of the roof can be seen as the main
environmental contribution of the farm. In a city as dense
as New York every piece of green space can be seen as
valuable.
The Farm has a benefit for the supportive housing as a
space that is used for activities with residents. In addition
to the benefit that the farm gives to Georgias Place, the
housing complex also provides a space for a local CSA.
The Crown Heights farm share uses Georgias place as a
distribution point for the vegetables that are delivered by
Sang Lee Farms.
The rooftop farm is used to teach the residents of
Georgias place the art of food cultivation - from seed to
harvest. The rooftop farm is a link between the supportive
Georgias place (seedstofeedrooftopfarm.tumblr.com, 2012)
Resident gardening (David Watts, 2010)
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
housing and the surrounding city. The produce produced
in the rooftop farm is used to create healthy meals for the
residents.
Conclusion
Georgias place illustrates the benefits that agriculture
can have to health. In addition it is an example of a space
that is linked to a private institution. Gardens are often
based on volunteer work by the community, but private
organizations such as healthcare facilities could benefit
greatly from having a productive space.
90
91
Navy Yard Farm (Brooklyn Grange, 2012)
Urban agriculture in Sunset Park
As in the rest New York urban agriculture is found in a
number of different spaces. There are two community
gardens in Sunset Park and one urban rooftop farm. The
two community gardens have been around for a while
and are thriving public spaces.
The Navy Yard rooftop farm has only been active since
the end of spring in 2012. The farm is having its first
growing season and based on the limited information
available appears to be prospering. The capital for the
construction of the greenroof was attained by a green
infrastructure subsidy provided by the city of New York.
The space is leased for a 10 year period and provides an
extra income for the owner of the building.
The amount of urban agriculture projects is limited,
working with the urban gardens in sunset park one can
clearly see the enthusiasm and drive that the members
bring to gardens and the neighborhood.
92
93
La Granja Los Colibries
(garden linked to a community organization)
Started in 2010 La Granja Los Colibries is a small
community garden in Sunset Park Brooklyn. The space
was started by the youth group of La Union, a neighbor-
hood organization dealing with Social Justice. La Union
members wished to have a space where they could
educate and be educated about food justice and the
effects in their neighborhood, while making a physical
contribution.
Analysis
Since the plot of the garden was previously a vacant lot
used by drug dealers and gangs, the transformation of
the garden into a community garden is significant. The
effect of the garden spreads beyond the plot itself, a
transformation of the backyards surrounding the plot has
taken place.
The community garden provides healthy organically
grown vegetables and eggs to the members, these
produce would otherwise not be affordable.
Neighborhood organizations bring together people with
similar necessities or visions, in the case of La Union it
unites Mexicans around issues of social justice and immi-
gration. The community garden provides a space where
the organization reaches out to the entire neighborhood.
Conclusion
Although community gardens are often rather exclusive,
most gardens are gated for security reasons. A
community garden is an interactive space where both
active members and occasional visitors come together.
Food being intertwined in our daily life a community
garden is an interesting space for organization that
operate in a neighborhood.
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
94
95
64
th
street community garden
The 64
th
street community garden was created in 1999
and has since been a flourishing space. It is located on
a plot of land owned by the Transportation department
along the Gowanus Expressway. The garden is located
in Sunset Park, an immigrant neighborhood in Brooklyn,
New York. The garden is a sizeable plot between the
remainder of a block and the expressway, a leftover
space.
Analysis
The environmental benefit of 64
th
street community
garden can be described as the transformation of a
polluted space into a productive garden. The plot was
used as a dump for car wrecks and a range of garbage.
The garden now has a variety of vegetables grown in
garden beds. Apart from this the garden has a variety of
trees, bushes and flowers, which contribute to the biodi-
versity of the city. This is particularly important if one
considers the limited green and public spaces and the
pollution in Sunset Park.
The garden works on a non-for-profit basis, the garden
doesnt provide any economic benefit, except for the
vegetables that the members are able to grow. Some
funding has been acquired by the garden, but most
expenses are covered by garden members.
A number of beds in the garden are reserved for school
children, kids spend time in the garden with the after-
school program of local school PS602/604. In half an
hour sessions students come to the garden guided by a
John who works for the Center for Family Life and get an
experience of learning about plants and the growing of
food. In addition to the afterschool program the beacon
program funds local youth to work in the garden and
learn about issues of food justice and food growing.
The garden members are mostly locals living in close
proximity, through the working with children a great
diversity of children from the wider neighborhood are
involved in the garden space. A safe place where activi-
ties are provided can be seen as crucial in Sunset Park,
the neighborhood has greatly suffered of gang violence
and has high drop-out rates in schools.
Aerial view graden (Bing maps, 2012)
96
97
Conclusion
A community garden linked to extra curricular activi-
ties with local schoolchildren creates a volunteer based
space, which greatly contributes the surrounding city.
The combination of an afterschool program and a
community garden makes for a space that is very much
embedded in the neighborhood and contributes mostly
in social factors.
Potential spaces
for urban agriculture in Sunset Park
99
98
1 $ spent going to the community
L
a
b
o
r
P
a
c
k
a
g
i
n
g
T
r
a
n
s
p
o
r
t
a
t
i
o
n
E
n
e
r
g
y
P
r
o
f
i
t
s
A
d
v
e
r
t
i
s
i
n
g
D
e
p
r
e
c
ia
t
io
n
R
e
n
t
In
t
e
r
e
s
t
(n
e
t
)
R
e
p
a
i
r
s
B
u
s
in
e
s
s
T
a
x
e
s
O
t
h
e
r
c
o
s
t
s
Farm value19
Farm value 35,5
value staying in community 82,5
Value local labour 38 & 9 17,5
Farm value19
P
a
c
k
a
g
i
n
g
T
r
a
n
s
p
o
r
t
a
t
i
o
n
P
r
o
f
i
t
s
u
r
b
a
n

f
a
r
m
i
n
g
f
e
e
d
i
n
g

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
t
y
c
u
r
r
e
n
t
f
o
o
d

s
y
s
t
e
m
Alternative food supply for sunset park
The different case studies illustrate the great diversity in
spaces of urban agriculture. There are two main types of
urban agriculture: the first is urban farms and the second
are community gardens. Urban agriculture is a viable
economic activity because it manages to reduce some
of the costs embedded in the corporate food system. By
producing food locally the supply chain gets significantly
shorter. In the current food system only nineteen cents
from every dollar spent go to the farmer. Urban agriculture
reduces the cost of transportation, packaging and the
overhead costs. As a result farmers receive 35.5 cents
for every dollar spent on food. Additionally urban farming
using local labour and distributing produce locally would
allow for 82.5 cents of every dollar spent to stay in the
community. The most benefits are realized when urban
farming and gardening are integrated. In this case we
have to ask where we can position urban farming and
community gardens.
The food dollar (image based on US departmentof agriculture , 2012)
100
101
1 $ spent going to the community
L
a
b
o
r
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
ra
n
s
p
o
rta
tio
n
E
n
e
rg
y
P
ro
fits
A
d
v
e
rtis
in
g
D
e
p
re
c
ia
tio
n
R
e
n
t
In
te
re
st (n
e
t)
R
e
p
a
irs
B
u
sin
e
ss Ta
x
e
s
O
th
e
r c
o
sts
Farm value19
Farm value 35,5
value staying in community 82,5
Value local labour 38 & 9 17,5
Farm value19
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
ra
n
s
p
o
rta
tio
n
P
ro
fits
Rooftop farms
total surface: 201.430 sq m
Yield per sqm: 5.38 lb
u
r
b
a
n

f
a
r
m
i
n
g
f
e
e
d
i
n
g

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
t
y
c
u
r
r
e
n
t
f
o
o
d

s
y
s
t
e
m
Yield Rooftop farms
harvest: 1.084.087 Lb
revenue: 1.415.748 $
Feeding people
fresh vegetables for 7016 people
Farm value
502.590 $
Value labour local workers
537.984 $
Value outsourced labour
127.417 $
Livelihood for people
33 jobs on farm for local residents
8 jobs in local businesses
R
e
p
a
ir
s
A
d
v
e
r
t
is
in
g
E
n
e
r
g
y
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
r
a
n
s
p
o
r
t
P
r
o
f
it
s
F
a
r
m

v
a
lu
e
L
a
b
o
u
r
Potential Rooftop (authors, 2012)
the potential of rooftop farms (image based on US departmentof agriculture , 2012)
102
103
Vacant land holds a great potential for urban food
production. As earlier illustrated the vacant land in New
York is significant. The study for the Centre for Research
in Brooklyn has revealed spread out vacant plots in the
fabric of Sunset Park. Many of these plots are barren and
provide little to the surrounding residents or businesses.
A significant number of this land is found within resi-
dential blocks and holds the potential to be community
gardens. Communal green spaces could be created
within the building blocks to produce fresh vegetables
and fruit for the residents around the plot.
Vacant plot (authors, 2012)
Vacant plot (authors, 2012)
Vacant plot used as carparking (authors, 2012)
104
105
The brownfield sites form the biggest potential land for
urban agriculture in Sunset Park. Although the water-
front was once a thriving industrial area it has been in
decline for some years now. The industrial land still holds
a significant value for economic activities, but urban agri-
culture could be integrated in the redevelopment of these
sites. The new industries that are being located in Sunset
Park might not require the extensive infrastructure and
immense plots that are now found at the waterfront. On
the edges of the industry sites residual spaces can be
found. These have a green character yet are inaccessible
and serve no purpose. Some parts of the waterfront
are vulnerable to flooding, in these areas urban farming
could provide an alternative use of the land.
Bush Terminal (authors, 2012)
Axis site (authors, 2012)
Brownfeld site 50th street (authors, 2012)
106
107
street profile with extended front gardens
green buffer on street edge
street with wide pedestrian zone
street with wide pedestrian zone
The street infrastructure in Sunset Park, as in many
parts of New York, is organised in a very strong grid. The
avenues have the commercial functions and provide the
connections within the city. The streets are residential
and only allow unidirectional traffic. One could argue that
the street infrastructure is oversized as New york has a
very extensive public transport network. All the streets
have double lanes even though they are unidirectional
and parking space is provided at both sides of the street.
The sections illustrate the potential of reducing the car
oriented street sections. By reducing the amount of
lanes and parking, green and pedestrian spaces could
enrich the urban fabric. The avenues in Sunset Park each
provide a different potential.
108
109
4th Av
6th Av 7th Av
3rd AV
2nd Av
1st Av
8th Av
First Avenue (authors, 2012)
Third Avenue (authors, 2012)
The bus on Fifth Avenue (authors, 2012)
Second Avenue (authors, 2012)
Fourth Avenue (authors, 2012)
Seventh Avenue (authors, 2012)
110
111
research available suggests that community gardens can
yield about 1.2 pounds per square feet (12.9 pounds per
square meter). In practice, urban farms such as Brooklyn
Grange aim for a yield of 0.5 pounds per square feet (5.4
pounds per square meter).
The average person in the United States consumes about
154.5 pounds of fresh vegetables and 103.3 pound of
fresh fruit per year. Considering that some fruit and vege-
tables are more efficiently grown in warmer regions or are
less suited to be produced in the city, the need for fresh
fruit and vegetables of one person is about 258 pounds
per year.
If the rooftops, vacant plots, street infrastructure and
brownfields were to be turned into productive land, urban
agriculture could produce a yield in Sunset park that
provides fresh fruit and vegetables for 12,900 persons.
1 $ spent going to the community
L
a
b
o
r
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
ra
n
s
p
o
rta
tio
n
E
n
e
rg
y
P
ro
f
ts
A
d
v
e
rtis
in
g
D
ep
reciatio
n
R
en
t
In
terest (n
et)
R
e
p
a
irs
B
u
sin
ess Taxes
O
th
er co
sts
Farm value19
Farm value 35,5
value staying in community 82,5
Value local labour 38 & 9 17,5
Farm value19
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
ra
n
s
p
o
rta
tio
n
P
ro
f
ts
Rooftops to farms
total surface: 201.430 sq m
Yield per sq m: 5.4 lb
fresh vegetables and fruit
(excluding patatoes and citrus)
257,8 lb
PRODUCE per CAPITA


fresh vegetables and fruit
328,5 lb
source: Center for Family Life, Brooklyn Neighbor-
hood Reports 2012: Community District 7
source: Center for Family Life, Brooklyn Neighbor-
hood Reports 2012: Community District 7
100% of rooftops = 1.084.087 lb
100% of vacant land = 185.811 lb

5% of brownfelds= 252.375 lb
10 % of streets = 1.805.669 lb
Total potential yield: 3.327.944 lb
Fresh produce for
SUNSET PARK yield
Vacant land to community gardens
total surface: 14.404 sq m
Yield per sq m: 12.9 lb
Brown felds to urban farm
total surface: 937.859 sq m
Yield per sq m: 5.4 lb
Street to community gardens
total surface: 1.399.744 sq m
Yield per sq m: 12.9 lb
Rooftop farms
total surface: 201.430 sq m
Yield per sqm: 5.38 lb
u
r
b
a
n

f
a
r
m
i
n
g
f
e
e
d
i
n
g

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
t
y
c
u
r
r
e
n
t
f
o
o
d

s
y
s
t
e
m
Yield Rooftop farms
harvest: 1.084.087 Lb
revenue: 1.415.748 $
Feeding people
fresh vegetables for 7016 people
Farm value
502.590 $
Value labour local workers
537.984 $
Value outsourced labour
127.417 $
Livelihood for people
33 jobs on farm for local residents
8 jobs in local businesses
R
e
p
a
ir
s
A
d
v
e
r
t
is
in
g
E
n
e
r
g
y
P
a
c
k
a
g
in
g
T
r
a
n
s
p
o
r
t
P
r
o
f
t
s
F
a
r
m
v
a
lu
e
L
a
b
o
u
r
707.7Lb
fresh vegetables
processed produce
fresh fruit
VEG
E
T
A
B
L
E
S
A
N
D

F
R
U
I
T
S
154.5 lb
103,3 lb
Total potential of Urban agriculture in
Sunset Park
To consider the total potential of urban agriculture,
one should consider that the potential for urban food
production lies mostly in the growing of vegetables. This
is reflected in the current practices of urban farming and
gardening, where most productive spaces focus on the
production of vegetables. In some cases one can find
some poultry, in urban settings although this can provide
some noise and sent hindrance. In many cases the choice
for growing vegetables also comes from lack of fresh
and qualitative produce available at reasonable prices.
There is fairly little information available on the amount
of produce urban gardening can provide. The limited
112
113
Urban agriculture creating inclusive
spaces
The design focusses itself on the itegration of agricul-
ture in four types of spaces. The four spaces have been
derived from the analysis of potential land: vacant plots,
brownfields, rooftops and street infrastructure. The trans-
formation of these spaces into productive units has the
aim of creating an environment with more opportunities
for the local redidents of Sunset Park. The development
of the different productive spaces aim s at the four major
contributions described below. To a certain degree each
goal will be reflected in every ptoductive space. Urban
agriculture is a practice that seems to be able to embed
itself in the residue or underused spaces and as each
benefit has a different character so will the levels of
contribution to each goal. Green infrastructure develop-
ment for the runoff of water will be more present when
considering the rooftop farms. While community gardens
created on vacant lots will manifest themselfs more as
community spaces and giving access to healthy food.
115
114
116
117
costco
118
119
Bush Terminal rooftop farms
The Bush terminal buildings hold a true potential for
urban rooftop farming. The buildings are large industrial
warehouses with big roof surfaces and strong solid struc-
tures. As is shown by other examples of rooftop farming,
there are government incentives to create rooftop
farms to reduce rainwater run off. The rooftop farms
add economic value to the buildings at the waterfront,
while potentially creating jobs for low skilled immigrant
residents in Sunset Park.
In addition to the transformation of rooftops, the urban
farms could provide an alternative for the underutilised
space surrounding the industrial warehouses. The trans-
formation of the spaces around the warehouse creates a
connection between the neighborhood and the rooftop
farms, integrating food production in the urban fabric of
Sunset Park. The rooftop farms are valuable educational
spaces that allow the youth of Sunset Park to experience
the growing of produce.
120
121
A new public space
Urban agriculture is a practice that can create spaces for
human interaction. In Sunset Park the street infrastructure
reduction combined with the vacant lots can be fostered
by the implementation of urban agriculture. Urban agri-
culture can stimulate a first transformation, which even-
tually could lead to the integration of rainwater runoff and
a stronger pedestrian network. Urban gardening can be a
kick-start activity that eventually draws people into street
instead of cars. One of the biggest continuing spaces
transformed in the proposal is 3rd avenue, which could
be transformed into a connector between the waterfront
and the residential part of Sunset Park. Additionally, a
network of softer spaces in between the residential fabric
could provide interaction space for the growing popula-
tion of Sunset Park, who often have very limited outdoor
and living space.
122
123
124
125
From brownfield to green infrastructure
TThe waterfront site integrates urban agriculture in a
system of rainwater runoff canals and a dyke to prevent
the site from flooding. The site acts as the distribution for
the axis car rental company. The site is a huge asphalt
plane with a vast number of cars stored on the premises.
A new recycling plant is being installed on the edge of the
site and a railway line is being reinstated as a connection
for both axis and the recycling plant to the city.
The site is located in the lowest part of the Sunset Park
waterfront and is most vulnerable to flooding. Urban
agriculture is integrated in the site as part of the water
management. Farming could take place on the edges of
the drainage canals and retention lakes, as well as the
dykes. Also, it could provide in the maintenance of the
new water infrastructure in return for being able to grow
crops on the edges of it.
water retention
urban agriculture
Axis site and dyke
126
127
128
129
using food production together with bicycle networks,
changing public space and addressing water prob-
lematics urban agriculture addresses the needs of people
and provides an alternative solution for the production of
a more resilient and inclusive city. Urban food production is an emerging practice, which
is aimed at countering the inequalities in the modern
city. The global food system creates local disparities and
urban food production offers possible solutions. There
are environmental, economical and social benefits to
be gained from productive spaces in the city. A diverse
range of productive spaces could benefit the city in a
variety of ways. Urban agriculture provides the possi-
bility to generate a positive change in areas neglected
by traditional development. There is a potential of a more
rich urban fabric, if we can integrate urban food produc-
tion into spaces and relate it to other urban problematics.
The proposal has explored the possibilities of residual
urban spaces, such as large rooftops, brownfield sites,
vacant plots and oversized street infrastructure, as
spaces were urban agriculture can be embedded. Urban
agriculture is a practice that is able to take left over
spaces and turns them into valuable community spaces.
By occupying the residual and abandoned spaces urban
agriculture has the potential of producing more then
vegetables, it starts structuring the city fabric. Urban
agriculture can transform individual spaces, however by
Urban agriculture an alternative
production
131
130
133
132
the legacy of post-industrial landscapes
PRODUCTIVE POST-INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPES
from global to local landscapes
from global trash to local trash
from global problems to local opportunities
stimulating local economies
from global to local economies
Dynamics of a post industrial landscape
WASTE(d)LAND
Dynamics of New Social Economies
135
134 Historical Industrial Landscapes
Introduction
The waterfront in 1989 a thriving waterfront (Winnick 1990)
136
137
the lack of other jobs within the area, has brought the
borough to get into deeper decline and impoverishment
(Winnick 1990 p.77-82). Nowadays the neighborhood is
still an attractive living place for current waves of legal
and illegal immigrants to the city.
Decades ago, industrial growth brought reputation of
economic development for the neighborhood, but along
with industrial development came a huge environmental
crisis for the entire New York city the environmental
impacts were evidently more severe for the inhabitants
of the industrial harbor area (Sze, 2007). Nowadays,
industrial legacies have left their marks on the surrounding
environment with increased levels of contaminants in
the air, soil, sediments and aquatic systems causing
environmental degradation and health problems.
Recognizing these environmental burdens necessitate
looking for more transformative projects and at the
same time community based solutions to reflect local
inhabitants demands. Moreover the industrial waterfront
is reconfirmed as industrial zone by the city of New York
During the booming economy of the mid-90s, increasing
rental costs pushed garment factories more to the city
edges and out of the Midtown garment district and (the
once comparably cheaper) Manhattan Chinatown. As
a consequent, these factories began to get settled in
Sunset Park where first and foremost the price of land
was cheaper and secondly they could have direct access
to the water for shipment of their goods and cargos and
finally the majority of the employees of the factories
were residing in Sunset Park (Winnick 1990 p.77-82).
At its peak, 300 garment factories provided occupation
for the local immigrant population. The area around
the waterfront was known for its employees within the
industrial area (Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007).
Due to the backdrop of the garment industry and the
high costs to maintain manufacturing industries there has
been a decline in job opportunities, resulting in scarcity
of jobs and making employees vulnerable and dependent
to their current employers.
Although this backdrop of the industries, during the
Great Depression and after the Second World War, and
(Department of City Planning, 2011) on the other hand,
since its decline it is still struggling and searching for new
economical impulses. Considering economic decline,
high dependency of the poor class neighborhood
workers to job-opportunities, lack of good living quality
of the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the waterfront
and its potentials, emerges a need to rethink/ reconsider
the future of the waterfront. Now the current trend is to
bring new clean industries within the area with the eye
on smaller offices (Department of City Planning, 2011),
which will have the tendency to attract a new wave of
urbanites from Manhattan, with a new potential residential
shift, which could potentially start displacing the current
inhabitants of Sunset Park and result in gentrification.
The waterfont has had a major importance in the past
because of its strategic location. Therefore huge
infrastructures were implemented in the vicinity of
the waterfront (see map 1). Furthermore the map 1 is
describing the current importance of Sunset Park in the
bigger New York City region and its railway connection
which is now left neglected.
An industry in ruin (Winnick 1990)
Sunset Park
NewYork
Container Terminal
Jersey - Port
Authority Marine
Terminal Red Hook
Container Terminal
Port Newark
Elizabeth - Port
Authority Marine
Terminal
to albany to albany to providence
to allentown, pa
and points west
to trenton
and points south
139
138
Significant Maritime
and Industrial Areas
Industrial Business Zone s
Marine Container Terminal s
Major roadbased transport network
NYC rail proposal on existing rail
NYC Freight rail proposal
2 0 4
Map 1: REGIONAL CONTEXT
each ton of freight carried by rail produces at least 80% less carbon dioxide
than if moved by road, and a small train replaces roughly 30 truck trips.
(Map based on: Department of City Planning, 2011)
Environmental justice continues to be an important part of
the struggle to improve and maintain a clean and healthful
environment, especially for those who have traditionally
lived, worked and played closest to the sources of
pollution. (Skelton et al. 2006)
Environmental justice
140
141
Environmental Justice movement has been taken into
account as the start point of the thesis. This movement
that has been active for several decades tries to coop
with emergent disasters of environment related issues
to the public. This is a movement that due to the status
of environmental degradation in Sunset Park has been
embedded in the peoples perspective on the city
planning since UPROSE (a local environmental justice
movement) in 1964 started to strive for the rights of the
inhabitants of the neighborhood.
The movement has passed several milestones and step
stones to get to the situation of the present day. In the
following page there is a preview timeline of political,
social and economic processes along the movement
course. Noteworthy to see how some people were
deprived from having a clean and safe environment,
which was mostly the case for people of color and the
poor. It has been proven by several studies in the 1980s
and early 1990s and by environmental justice activists
that neighborhoods who have less political and economic
benefits have been targeted to host landfills, waste
transfer stations, power plants, waste water facilities,
truck depots and so on. These studies fueled the idea of
environmental racism and its credibility. Julie Sze, writer
of the book Noxious New York has been a tremendous
help to understand the importance of community groups
that strive for the rights of neighborhoods who have been
environmentally disadvantaged.
The aforementioned issues and the potentials of
the waterfront site, together with the recognized
environmental racism in the neighborhood of the case
study are the main reasons of the necessity to study the
industrial waterfront of Sunset Park. Therefore the first
research questions arise as why poor neighborhoods
are burdened with environmental problems? and how
can we address these problems?
Policy makers across the United States have not slipped
the environmental concerns into cold shoes. New goals
of sustainable development have been set; in New York
itself studies have been launched on how to address
future climate change and environmental issues due to
global warming. For example the New York Vision 2020
plan looks at incentives to clean up polluted waterways,
cleaning up brownfields and creating waterfront parks
(Department of City Planning, 2011). Some of these
studies have a positive contribution to environmental
progress but most of them fall short including social
equity and environmental justice (Agyeman et al. 2003).
The new plan has minimal requirements to address
the shortage of public access to the waterfront and its
amenities and lacks to guarantee that environmental and
public health issues will be addressed. (Angotti 2011)
Milestones of the Environmental Justice Movement
Early 1960s - Farm workers organized by Cesar Chavez fight for workplace
rights, including protection from toxic pesticides in California farm fields.
1962 - Rachel Carsons Silent Spring details the harmful effects of pesticides
on the environment.
1964 - Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed. The laws Title VI -- prohibiting use
of federal funds to discriminate based on race, color and national origin -- will
become an important tool in environmental justice litigation.
1966 - United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE) is
founded in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, as an environmental justice and social
justice community based organization.
1970 - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established to enforce laws
that protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.
1971 - Presidents Council on Environmental Quality acknowledges that
racial discrimination negatively affects the quality of the environment for the
urban poor.
1979 - EPA sued the City of New York for violations of the Clean Water Act
when it allowed millions of gallons of raw sewage to flow into the Hudson
River. As a result of the Clean Water Act and the
Ocean Dumping Act, fourteen water pollution control plants were built to
treat the citys sewage.
1983 - Congresss General Accounting Office finds that three-fourths of the
hazardous waste disposal sites in eight southeastern states are in poor and
African-American communities.
1984 - California Waste Management Board report advises governments
and companies looking to site hazardous waste facilities to target small,
low-income and rural communities with a high percentage of people who
are old or have little education. (Los Angeles Times breaks the story to the
public in 1988.)
1990 - Robert Bullards book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and
Environmental Quality, underscores importance of race as a factor in siting
unwanted toxics-producing facilities.
1990 - Several environmental justice leaders co-sign a widely publicized
letter to the Big 10 environmental groups accusing them of racial bias in
policy development and hiring.
1991 - The First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit
meets in Washington, D.C., and creates the Principles of Environmental
Justice.
1991 - Creation of the U.S. EPAs Office of Environmental Equity
1992 - Environmental justice delegation takes part in U.N. Environmental
Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1992 - President-elect Bill Clinton appoints environmental justice leaders
Benjamin Chavis and Robert Bullard to his transition team.
1992 - Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Sen. Al Gore (D-TN) introduce the
Environmental Justice Act of 1992 in Congress. The legislation fails to make
it through the legislative process.
1992 - The National Law Journal publishes Unequal Environmental
Protection; study shows that communities of color receive less vigorous
enforcement of environmental laws.
1992 - The EPA releases Environmental Equity: Reducing the Risk for
All Communities, one of the first far-reaching government reports on
environmental justice.
1993 - West Harlem Environmental Action settles a lawsuit against the City
of New York for $1.1 million and receives a promise of engineering changes
to decrease air pollution impacts of the North River Sewage Treatment Plant
on the adjacent West Harlem community.
1993 - The documentary Toxic Racism is broadcast on television.
1994 - President Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12898 directing federal
agencies to identify and address disproportionately high adverse health and
environmental effects of their policies or programs on low-income people
and people of color.
2001 - U.N. Commission on Human Rights lists living free of pollution as a
basic human right.
2001 The Fresh Kills landfill site located in New York City was closed due to
local pressure supported by United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA)
2005 - At the request of Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA), the General
Accounting Office releases a report finding that the EPA generally devoted
little attention to environmental justice issues while drafting three significant
clean air rules on gasoline, diesel and ozone between fiscal years 2000 and
2004.
(Sources used: Skelton et al. 2006, Sze 2007, uprose.org, 2012)
142
143
The market should be treated as a social
institution, not as an objective entity; value-
based political processes defne goals, not global
markets; economic activity is not an end in itself
it is valued only insofar as it contributes to the
politically adopted goals of society (Levett 1997).
Environmental Justice & Sunset Park
Powerplant. (Van Mierlo, 2011)
144
145
treatment plants, solid waste transfer stations and power
plants were systematically dumped into low-income
immigrant neighborhoods, contributing to the health
risks in the neighborhoods (MAP 2).
According to a publication made in an Associates Report
for the California Waste Management Board (GIRDNER
2002) the prefect siting of waste disposal facilities were
in low-income rural areas where population consisted
of elderly people and people with high school or less
education and with less than 25.000 inhabitants. Poor
planning decisions contributed to the environmental
racism that has been thriving through New York City, with
Sunset Park as the vivid image of these trends, focusing
on people with low political voice.
The first incentive for organizing around environmental
justice in Sunset Park came from the Latin American
community, which was settled the closest to the
waterfront. The community group UPROSE, founded in
The link between economic decline and environmental
and air pollution, causing health and social stigmas has
been recognized by environmental justice activists within
Sunset Park and boroughs with similar problems. As the
risks of air and soil pollution became transparent within
the communities, residents started to mobilize a force
against the existing stigmas. Especially when asthma and
cancer rates were recognized to be higher in boroughs
with higher air and environment pollution.
The asthma concerns became an extra pressure on the
scar that Sunset Park already had since Robert Moses
decided to build the Gowanus Expressway right through
the community district destroying all the houses and
businesses at 3rd avenue (Sze, 2007). Along with the
expressway and as a result of privatization of solid waste
management and energy deregulation New Yorks poor
communities became a focal point for everything that
did not fit into Manhattans NIMBY policies. Sewage
change and mobilize environmental, political and social
resources. The Community Board 197A committee was
a key institutional player in developing the Sunset Park
Waterfront Development Principles. (Laufer, 2012) To
better understand the New York City policies towards
environmental racism, a spatial map of polluting facilities
is made, such as waste transfer station, marine transfer
station, waste water treatment plants and power plants.
The location of the facilities had been chosen in relation
to the poor income neighborhoods. (Map 1)
The health hazardous facilities came after the
industrialization with the excuse of waterfront as the only
sufficient space available for the mentioned facilities (Sze,
2007). But the actual reason these neighborhoods were
targeted to accommodate the facilities was due to their
low resistance as an outcome of lack of political support.
In the Sunset Park neighborhood very few (the ones who
had legal status) had the right to vote. (Laufer, 2012)
1964 started campaigns against the unjust solid waste
and energy policies. It was in fact not the facilities
themselves that were the problem, but the higher asthma
rates than other neighborhoods, especially childhood
asthma and other health effects were the key concerns,
which triggered the need for organizing. (SZE J., 2007)
Children of color in low-income neighborhoods were the
ones who tended to have increased asthma rates around
1998 (Centers for Disease Control 2000).
Nowadays UPROSE is working together with Community
Board 7
1
on a plan to meet the communities needs. As a
team they are trying to negotiate redevelopment, urban
1 As we talked to Community board (CB) 7 it became
clear that they were trying to identify community needs, which
could become part of the Citys budget process. The CBs are
working with government agencies to improve the local deliv-
ery of services. Community Boards In New York City only have
an advisory role (this was stressed clearly by Jeremy Laufer
of CB7) in dealing with land use and zoning matters. (Laufer,
2012)
Note:
Low-income population is defined as the
percentage of individuals that reported an
income below 200% of the poverty level in
each census tract.
Distribution of Low-Income Population
by Census Tract in 2000
0% - 24%
24.1% - 42%
42.1% - 61%
61.1% - 100%
1
1
146
147
Map 2: Polluting facilities related to poor income neighborhoods
(Map based on: habitatmap.org 2012; NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012; Sze, 2007)
Power Plants
Peak Power Plants
Waste Water Treatment Plants
Marine Transfer Station
Waste Transfer Stations
Truck Gathering Points
Recycling centra
Air Pollutant Facilities
Toxic Release Facilities
Former Brooklyn Army Terminal Power Plant
brownfelds
Industrial / manufacturing buildings
Marine Transfer Station
Waste Transfer Station
Waste Water Treatment Plant
Peak Power Plant
Combined Sewer Overfow outfall
Map 3: Polluting facilities in relation to neighborhood
Big and small-scale polluting
manufacturing and industrial
businesses. Very clearly illustrated
is the Robert Moses expressway
that spatially disconnects the
neighborhood from the waterfront.
(Map based on: habitatmap.org, 2012)
NYPA: NYPA:
148
149
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
Natural Gas/Kerosine/No.2 Fuel Oil
559 MWatt on 4 barges
property of US Power Generating Company LLC
Opened in 1971
16 Units dual-fueled natural gas and No. 2 oil
16 Units No.2 oil
Peaking plant
Gowanus power plant:
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
Natural Gas/Kerosine/No.2 Fuel Oil
276 MWatt
property of US Power Generating Company LLC
opened in 1972
16 Units
Peaking Plant
Narrows power plant:
NYPA:
Owls head waste water
treatment plant and its
water shed
150
151
By energy deregulation a free market has been set up to
provide choice for the consumers and to generate lower
energy prices. Because of this deregulation less control
was taken by NYC government to prevent the siting of
polluting facilities (SZE, 2007). In Sunset Park three power
plants are located which all are peak plants; means that
they only function for a few hours a day. Together they
provide approximately 900 MW of electricity per day, 7%
of the Citys peak demand. (NYPA, 2003) The New York
City government owns only one of the power plants and
the other two are private energy providers. To compare
the electricity demands of the Sunset Park residents the
US Census Bureau data (2010) has made an estimation
for the average usage. This data is only rough estimations
since USPowerGen does not publish real data. An
estimation would be that, for a conservative average
energy use per household, a minimum average load of
approximately 50 MW is used by residents in Sunset
Park for domestic use. According to UNYISOs estimates,
residential electricity use makes up approximately 40%
of total use of power in Sunset Park and the commercial
and industrial use the other 60%. Sunset Park is likely to
consume on average of over 125 MW per day, this could
be expected to be more in the summer on peak demand
days. (Astoria Generating Company, 2008)
Natural Gas
79 Mwatt
2 power turbines
property of New York Power
Authority
Opened in 2001
Peaking plant
New York Power Authority power plant:
Areal image of powerplant (Google earth, 2012)
Above: waste water shed (habitatmap.org, 2012)
Right: Areal image of Owls Head (Google earth, 2012)
The water treatment plant has been operating since
1952. During the entire treatment course, wastewater
undergoes five major processes: preliminary treatment,
primary treatment, secondary treatment, disinfection
and finally, sludge treatment. Primary and secondary
treatments remove about 85% to 95% of pollutants
from the wastewater before the treated wastewater
is disinfected and discharged into local waterways
(NYCDEP, 2012). Sludge, the byproduct of the treatment
process, is digested for stabilization and is then
dewatered for easier handling. Afterwards the resulting
material send to landfills as a daily cover against waste
related diseases and coverage of the dumped wastes to
prevent odor and fire.
treats 120 million gallons of wastewater per day
serves 758,007 inhabitants
Owls Head Wastewater Treatment Plant:
153
152
Garbage wars
Environmental justice in an age of garbage
Before we can enter to understand the pressing concerns
around garbage handling in New York City at the current
state today, a brief history should explain the current
trends of waste disposal (see next page).
Peggy Lee, Youth Justice Coordinator, UPROSE, and inhabitant
of Sunset Park: the little things really matter, a lot of people
dont know where their trash goes, it goes somewhere but
somewhere isnt a place, it actually goes to a landfll and it takes
up space where it affects neighboring communities in their
quality of life. (UPROSE.org, 2012)
Politics of Garbage
1885 - Building of the first permanent garbage incinerator in the United
States on Governors Island
1849 to 1918 - Barren Island in Jamaica Bay was New York Citys primary
waste processing site.
1894 - Mayor Thomas Gilroy set up a committee to make recommendations
on the latest and most scientific principles of waste management. The
committees final recommendations called for an end to ocean dumping of
garbage and expressed a preference for reduction over incineration.
1905 - New York City begins using a garbage incinerator to generate
electricity to light the Williamsburg Bridge.
1909 - 102 of 180 incinerators built since 1885 are abandoned or dismantled.
Many had been inadequately built or run. Also, Americas abundant land
and widely spaced population made dumping garbage cheaper and more
practical.
1918 Garbage dumping in oceans starts again
1920s - During this decade, reclaiming or filling in wetlands near cities with
garbage, ash, and dirt, becomes a popular disposal method.
1932 - The development of compactor garbage trucks increases vehicle
capacity.
1934 - New Jersey successfully sued New York for its garbage dumping in
the ocean
1938 - Under the tenure of Sanitation Commissioner William Carey from
1938 to 1940, landfills became the most favored method of disposal.
1947 - Robert Moses opens Fresh Kills pledging that it would be only for
three years. After the building of incinerators it would close. This was the
start of landfill garbage handling in New York.
1948 - The board of estimate approved an ambitious $44 million construction
program for five new
incinerators, and to upgrade existing disposal facilities
1958 - the city assumed operations of all private dumps as part of a larger
restructuring of solid waste management in response to complaints of
extortion by private carters from businesses and buildings throughout the
city
1979 - due to expensive labor and fuel, and abundant land for landfills, as
well as the changing negative perceptions of smoke, incinerators in the
United States plummeted from a high of 300 to a low of 67. Also the EPA,
promoted solid waste incineration as a means of energy self-sufficiency in
the context of the oil crisis.
1980s - emerging of environmental justice campaigns
1986 - Rhode Island enacts the nations first statewide mandatory recycling
law.
1986 - Fresh Kills, in Staten Island, New York, becomes the largest landfill
in the world.
1987 - The Mobro, a Long Island garbage barge, is turned away by six
states and three countries. The garbage (mostly paper) is finally incinerated
in Brooklyn and the ash buried in a landfill near Islip.
1988 - The EPA estimates that more than 14,000 landfills have closed since
1978, more than 70% of those operating at that time. The landfills were full,
unsafe, or the owners declined to adhere to new standards.
1989 - EPA issues An Agenda for Action, calling for an integrated solid
waste management approach to solving solid waste problems, with waste
prevention and recycling as its first two priorities.
1990s - the citys commercial waste is monopolized by mob cartels, leading
to sky-high garbage collection prices
1996 - Mayor Giuliani enacted a law creating the Trade Waste Commission,
in order to bring the power over the commercial waste down to big powerful
trash corporations (WMI and BFI). These corporations continued charging
predatory prices.
1997 - WMI, BFI and USA had build up sufficient regional transfer stations in
order to shut Fresh Kills down
2001 - The Business Integrity Commission agency was founded as the
Organized Crime Control Commission; they should define crime activities
and give recommendations to aid law enforcement.
2001 - Closing of Fresh Kills landfill; this was made possible by garbage
nationals taking over the waste disposal and finished the tradition of
handling waste internally. Instead garbage should be brought by trucks to
waste transfer stations and later be trucked to outerstate landfills.
2006 - the council approved a Solid Waste Management Plan that redirects
the citys waste to local transfer stations, while relying on railcars or barges
to transport it to landfills outside the city.
(Sources: Life after Fresh Kills 2001; Sze 2007; The Rotten Truth 1998; Girdner et Al. 2002; Rogers 2008)
9.900 tons of waste per day of putrescible
trash-food scraps, dirty paper, and recyclable
containers- from the commercial sector
Commercial food waste generators

Restaurants
Supermarkets, Grocery Stores and Convenience
Stores
Food Wholesales
Public Schools
Emergency Feeding Programs
Food and Beverage Manufacturers
Green Carts
Farmers Markets
Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
Urban agriculture
Now these pay money to dodgy
companies to collect the waste,
they now would be able to
reduce this costs and drop
organic waste at the compost-
ing facilities
EXISTING WASTE CYCLE
Residential & Institutional
(12,000 tpd)
DSNY
(12,000 tpd)
Commercial
(13,000 tpd)
Private
Carters
(38,000 tpd)
Construction &
Demolition
(25,000 tpd)
Transfer
stations
(50,000 tpd)
=
$ 300 million/year
Pennsylvania
(9,000 tpd)
New Jersey
(1,500 tpd)
Other Interstate
Landfills
(35,500 tpd)
Waste Transfer Station
IESI NY Corp gathers the
garbage of community
districts 7 and 10, brought
by DSNY
CD 7
CD 10
Waste shed for transfer stations Sunset Park
Waste shed for marine transfer station
Major waste transport routes
Marine transfer station
Waste transfer stations
Truck gathering points
Recycling Facilities
154
155
at their facilities. For Sunset Park the waste is collected
by the New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and
brought to IESI NY Corporate, after garbage processing
the residues are brought by trucks to the marine transfer
station that ships the garbage out to Pennsylvania, New
Jersey and other interstate landfills. As a consequent of
this procedure, every year over 250.000 trips are made
by hauling trucks with polluting diesel engines through
the streets of New York City. Another 250.000 trips are
made to transfer garbage to outer state (NYC EJA 2010).
Waste in New York City is separated into five different
components; residential waste, municipal waste,
commercial waste, pedestrian litter, and construction
waste (see NYC waste stream). The DSNY collects
As we can see New York City has a long history and
struggle with its waste disposal, ranged from incinerating
garbage to dumping it into landfills, disposal within
the city, and now, as a solution, the waste is shipped
out at marine transfer stations, to be shipped to outer
state landfills by barge. As illustrated in map 1 the
truck transfer stations and marine transfer stations are
located in several neighborhoods with a low-income
population, the neighborhoods existing in manufacturing
zones along the waterfronts. In map 3 an attempt was
made to illustrate the relation between the locations of
the transfer stations, the truck hauling routes and the
Sunset Park Neighborhood. The black dots are the waste
transfer stations, which collect the garbage and sort it
New York City waste stream
(Diagram based on: NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012)
Map 4: Garbage distribution and waste sheds
(Map based on: habitatmap.org, 2012; NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012)
Regional Organic Waste
Current recycled materials:
Ferrous
Other non-ferrous
Aluminium
beverage cartons
PET
HDPE
Clear glass
Green glass
Brown glass
Mixed broken glass
Non-designated materials
NYC Recycled materials %
Potential
recyclable
materials
Paper and cardboard 15,04%
Glass containers 2,4%
Metal 4,07%
Plastic botttles and jugs 1,48%
Beverage cartons 0,4%
Other plastics 13,44%
Other materials 15,13%
Construction & demolishing Debris 6,29%
Textiles and carpets 7,01%
Electronics (e-waste) 0,7%
Household hazardous waste 0,27%
Food scraps 21,42%
Yard trimmings 5,15%
Compostable, nonrecyclable paper 7,2%
Other
29,4%
Organics
33,77%
Designated
for recycling
36,83%
156
157
Not only the pricing of waste disposal is a concern for
businesses, also on the larger scale, for New York City,
disposal prices can be quite a burden. Since the closure
of the Fresh Kills landfill, the prices jumped from $40 to
$105 per ton of refuse for the DSNY. These expenses
include fees charged by outer state dumps and the
long haul trips by diesel engine trucks. Since the main
waste disposal method became disposal in outer state
landfills, annual exportation of New York Citys waste to
other communities has an average cost of $300 million
(Life after Fresh Kills 2001). Other costs that are directly
related but not included in annual calculations are those
of environmental restoration after the whole process of
waste disposal.
All in all, it can be concluded by questioning if all these
costs of exporting the waste and environmental recovery
are just postponing a pressing problem of handling waste
on site. Does exporting waste not give the illusion that
when something is thrown away, you dont have to face it
anymore? And if we do not think about the consequences
of waste disposal, how can we give incentives to create
less waste?
To start answering these questions, a dissection is made
from New York Citys waste composition. The next page
is giving a scheme of what New York Citys curbside
residential waste as well as pedestrian litter. Pedestrian
litter is first pilled on the corners of the streets in Sunset
Park by the Business Improvement District (BID) and
later picked up by DSNY.
Another story is the commercial and construction waste,
which is collected by private charters. Businesses have
to hire a private charter themselves to get rid of their
refuse. As we can see from the timeline they have not
been uncontested in the past decades and businesses
are left with a legacy of fluctuating garbage disposal
prices. (Rogers 2008) Nowadays the Business Integrity
Commission keeps the approximately 1.500 private
charters in line, the BICs mandate is to abolish organized
crime and corruption by the industries it regulates. The
private charters are now strictly prohibited to charge
more than the maximum rates given by the BIC which
is per 100 pounds ($10.42) or per cubic yard ($15.89) of
loose refuse (NYC BIC, 2012), it is up to the business to
decide if it prefers to pay per pound or per cubic yard. In
this way private charters are not in favor of hauling food
waste because of its lack of profitability, since food waste
is much heavier than normal waste (VAN OOYEN 2004).
The expenses to hire a private charter can be a heavy
weight on small businesses shoulders, which sometimes
end up in illegal dumping.
(Diagrams based on: NYC Department of Sanitation, 2012, The City of New York, 2012)
Regional organic waste
Regional Commercial Waste
non-putrescible
waste
27.695 tpd
putrescible
waste
9.889 tpd
Manhattan 42%
Brooklyn 19% = 1878,91 tpd
Bronx 13%
Queens 20%
Staten Island 5%
Regional Commercial Waste
non-putrescible
waste
27.695 tpd
putrescible
waste
9.889 tpd
Manhattan 42%
Brooklyn 19% = 1878,91 tpd
Bronx 13%
Queens 20%
Staten Island 5%
159
158
Garbage mountain in east 16th street Manhattan. (authors 2012)
stations, by trucks. Causing not only a local environmental
distress but also environmental degradation at outer
state landfills. Diverting this waste from landfills could
financially benefit the city saving $24 million, distress
landfills and reduce truck traffic in communities that are
already overburdened with waste facilities. New Yorks
new incentive is transferring their waste by barge, but is
this enough to tackle all the waste concerns?
waste is containing and what the opportunities are.
According to New York waste management policies, it
is only require to recycle a limited amount of waste and
33% of organic materials, which can be easily recycled,
are not recovered. After paper (which is recovered) and
yard waste (not recovered) food waste causes the largest
waste stream in the United States, which 97 % of it ends
up in landfills or gets processed by incinerators (AHMED
et al. 2011). If we assume (as before calculated), the
daily amount of residential waste is 12.000 tons, we can
easily calculate that 4.000 tons of waste is daily being
transferred from waste transfer and marine transfer
(Diagram based on: Ahmed et al. 2011)
A similar calculation can be made out of the content of
commercial waste, which mainly exists of putrescible and non-
putrescible waste. Non-putrescible does not contain organic
matter that has a tendency to decompose as for putrescible
waste does contain organic matter and for that can be seen as
organic recyclable waste. Diverting this waste from landfills can
reduce another $59 million from the cities tax money (AHMED
et al. 2011).
Regional commercial Waste
161
160
What to do with all this waste?
Learning from other cases
Leuven in Belgium, which is the context of the author of
this part of the thesis. The process of disposal of organic
waste in Leuven starts with separating the organic waste
and afterwards composting it. In the other two case
studies the organic waste is disposed by anaerobic
digestion and afterwards via waste-to-energy plants,
biogas is extracted from the waste. The case study
in Oakland has a particular interest because of its co-
digestion with sludge extracted from treating wastewater.
The third case only uses only organic waste as feedstock
for extracting biogas.
Solid waste reduction is one of the major concerns of the
environmental justice movement. It can help to address
the ecological footprint of New York City and the goal of
reducing waste generation. But this has to be carefully
planned and environmental and economical benefits
should be shared equally over the five boroughs. In other
words the waste disposal should be done according to
community outreach and public participation in land use
decisions (Agyeman et al. 2003).
So what to do and where to go with all this waste?
To answer such questions, it is interesting to look at how
organic waste is handled in other counties. Therefore
three case studies are considered to illustrate how
different municipalities try to tackle with their waste
mountains. The first case study is taken in the city of
163
162
Case Study 1: Ecowerf in Leuven
Municipalities Served: East Brabant
Feedstock: Municipal Organic waste
Capacity: 47.000 ton per year
The compost installation at EcoWerf was created in
1996, and is operated by 10 people. It has an annual
production of 47.000 tons of compost per year, which
generates around 68.000 euro in sales.
The compost production process contains three steps:
the pre-process sorting of waste, the fermentation
process, and the post-process completion.
During the fermentation process, which takes around 5
weeks, the waste is stored in the compost hall at 55C.
This temperature gives it the ideal circumstances for
air supply and draining the humidity. A special machine
continually mixes through the materials during the
fermentation process and the used air is cleaned with
biological scent filters.
After the first five weeks, the newly produced compost
is transported to the post-processing hall where it is
filtered. The finer the material the better the quality
product. In post production, the compost remains for
another five weeks, for another fermentation process.
After this process, the compost is sold for garden surface
improvement.
The total process from municipal organic waste to
fertilizer takes 10 weeks and from every ton of waste
Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
To conclude we can say that it is very interesting to see
that recycling organic waste can create a byproduct,
which can turn waste in an economical value.
(source used for case study; www.ecowerf.be, 2012)
coming in EcoWerf can make 300kg of compost.
The byproduct of EcoWerf product has a good quality
and even has obtained a quality label due to its efforts
on quality in both the product and the production
process. They continually strive to improve results
on smell nuisance, working along with people in the
neighborhood, who report about a possible smell. The
biological air filtering embraces all of the space where
the organic waste and the compost are processed. Other
efforts to reduce the smell are special entrance ports for
the waste transportation, and the organic waste is kept
inside during the whole fermentation process. This has
resulted in a strong diminution of air nuisance during the
last years.
The EcoWerf has a wide range of programs stimulating
education about composting and is working together
with schools to start up composting programs. Children
can get guided tours as well at the site to learn about
the process used in EcoWerf. At the site itself other
recyclables are processed and adjacent there is a
container park to bring recyclables that do not fit in
normal recycle bags.
The facility has a size of 108 by 56 meters and a height
of 11 meters.
Soil proccessing, composting hall and end product.
(www.ecowerf.be, 2012)
164
165
Oakland East Bay Municipal
Utility Wastewater Treatment Plant (EBMUD)
EBMUD is basically a wastewater treatment facility in
Oakland, CA. that processes food waste together with
the bio-solids from the wastewater treatment. After
some additional grinding to form slurry, it is added to the
anaerobic sludge digesters.
The process of co-digestion of the organic waste and
the motioned bio-solids is performed in reactors. The
digesters reduce the volume of food scraps by 90% in
two weeks of digesting so only 10 percent has to be
sent to the landfills. Since the food waste and sluge are
co-digestered, the leftovers cannot be considered as
clean organic compost. Therefore it is taken to landfills
to control waste source diseases, fire and odor (Arsova
2010).

In 2008, the facility processed 90 metric tons/day of
food waste five days a week, i.e. about 22,000 tons/yr
(Neves et al. 2007). In order to generate electricity, the
extracted gas is pumped to a power station on site with
three combustion engines that each produces 2.2 Mega
Watts of electricity. Roughly calculated it would provide
enough power for 1.400 homes per day.
Municipalities Served: San Francisco & Oakland
Feedstock: Commercial collected food scraps
Capacity: 40 tpd
Digesters used: 6
Case Study 2: Oakland East Bay Municipal
Utility Wastewater Treatment Plant
Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
Digester. (Kerr, 2010)
Process of food waste in anaerobic digesters. (Kerr, 2010)
The intension of the facility is to upgrade the power being
produced with a new turbine which will produce 4MW of
electricity and will almost double the amount of electricity
being produced enabling to send extra energy into the
power grid (Arsova 2010).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1
m
a
n
u
a
l s
e
p
e
ra
tio
n
2
c
ru
s
h
in
g
3
e
le
c
tro
m
a
g
n
e
t
4
d
ig
e
s
te
r
5
g
a
s
c
o
lle
c
to
r
6
p
o
w
e
r g
e
n
e
ra
to
r
7
c
ru
s
h
in
g
p
la
n
t re
m
a
in
s
8
c
o
m
p
o
s
tin
g
tu
n
n
e
ls
9
f
n
a
l c
o
m
p
o
s
t p
ro
d
u
c
t
166
167
Municipalities Served: Montcada i Reixac
Feedstock: Commercial collected food scraps
Capacity: 240.000 t/year
Case Study 3: Ecopark 2 - Montcada i Reixac
Areal image. (Google Earth 2012)
The Ecopark 2 - Montcada i Reixac is located in the
Industrial zone of the town of Can Salvatella Andis, 9.5
miles away from the center of the city of Barcelona.
This mechanical and biological treatment plant started
operating in 2003 and has both, anaerobic digestion and
aerobic composting facilities. Total installed capacity on
the plant is 240.000 t/year of organic waste, which half
of this amount is the capacity in the anaerobic digestion
reactors.
The treatment begins with mechanical pretreatment
to recover of the recyclables (glass, paper, packaging,
etc) and source separated organics (SSO) followed by
anaerobic digestion and aerobic composting. Refused
material from pretreatment lines is pressed, packed and
sent for disposal on a controlled sanitary landfill.
Three anaerobic digesters are installed on the site, each
with capacity of 4500 m3.
The anaerobic digestion reactor is operated on mesophilic
temperature of 35.C and retention time of 25 days. The
input material is a mixture of the digested material from
the reactor (25%), fresh organic material (50-60 %) and
water.
The produced biogas is collected from the anaerobic
digestion reactors There are four generators, each
with capacity of 1 MW, for utilization of the biogas and
Digester and gas collector. (www.amb.cat, 2012)
Waste digestion and composting process (www.amb.cat, 2012)
production of electricity and steam. The steam is used
for heating of the anaerobic digestion reactors and the
electricity is used on the site (59%) and the rest (41%)
is sold to the grid. In total 20.2 GWh of electricity was
produced in 2008. The digested sludge coming out of the
digesters undergoes a dehydration process.
The resultant solid material is mixed in 3:1 ration with
green waste and then treated for 2 weeks in composting
tunnels.
Aerobic composting
In this treatment the material is kept under controlled
humidity, air and temperature and monitored for 3 weeks.
After this period it is disinfected on temperature of 65C
and kept for maturation additional 4 weeks. At the end of
the maturing period the material is refined.
One of the interesting aspects of this plant is that the final
compost produced is distributed for free and no profits
are received out of it.
(Sources used for casestudy: Arsova L.,
2010; www.amb.cat, 2012)
168
169
New Economical Impuls
from waste burden to waste opportunity
Recycling collection point in Sunset Park. (authors 2012)
The City of New York 2012:
In the longer term, the best hope
for increased organic waste
recycling in NYC lies in the
ongoing development of mixed
waste (or MSW) composting and
anaerobic digestion.
171
170
as the wastewater treatment plant in Sunset Park, where
the co-digestion of sludge and organic waste can provide
more power. (Edelmann et al. 2000)
Anaerobic digestion of organic waste gives three end
products, including clean power, heat and a marketable
product. Because of the need for renewable resources
to replace fossil fuels and due to climate change, the
first two by products are of major importance for the
neighborhood, which is saturated with three polluting
power plants. The proposed alternative of digestion of
food waste and sludge generates hydrogen, which is
considered as a sustainable energy source with minimal,
or zero use of hydrocarbons and high-energy yield (2.75
times more than fossil fuel), which makes it a promising
alternative to fossil fuels. In addition, hydrogen can be
directly used to produce electricity.
If we stop wasting food, the CO2 impact would be the
equivalent of taking one in four cars off the road. This will
prevent emission of 15 million tonnes of CO2. (WRAP,
2012)
Food comprises a large part of NYCs waste stream. By
sending it to the landfill it contributes to NYCs disposal
costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while if it gets
composted, organic waste becomes a useful product
that adds nutrients and improves the quality of soil.
(grownyc.org, 2012)
But the complexities should not be underestimated.
As Blanger (2007) describes, The complexity of
recycling and remediation is magnified at the urban
scale, especially when it involves an ecology of multiple
industries and multiple waste streams. Multilateral
strategies, such as waste diversion, separation, recycling,
composting and remanufacturing, are proving effective
as durable alternatives to conventional systems of waste
management that previously relied on consolidated
forms of disposal.(Blanger 2007)
Reflecting this back to the case studies we can learn that
waste can be an economical asset in local development,
contributing to work opportunities (Agyeman et al. 2003).
Synergies can be created between existing facilities such
Design proposal
Dynamics of New Social Economies
Borough equity
In order to create a new form of solid waste management
without stigmatizing one particular neighborhood
it is important to answer to one of the most stressing
factors that environmental justice groups bring to the
foregroung, borough equity (Sze, 2007). The need for
rethinking about waste disposal facilities, water pollution
control plants and energy demands, has to be brought
together with the fact that each borough carries its own
responsibility. Therefore, starting from borough equity,
only Brooklyn is taken into account for the estimation of
potential outcomes. The outcomes are described in the
diagram of the next page.
10.431 TPW
9.032 TPW
Amount of solid waste produced per week per borough
18.100 TPW
33% = 6.000 TPW organic waste
931 TPW
33% = 307 TPW organic waste
16.021 TPW
4.328 TPW
Anaerobic Digestion Power produced
out of hydrogen
Heat producted Organic Waste
Ton per week
46,6 TPW
1x
307 TPW
6x
Sunset Park
6.000 TPW 128x
Brooklyn
20x
423 MW/Week
9025 MW/Week
1430 MW/Week
71 MW/Week
fertilizer: 10% waste is left over
at 7 dollar per ton
600 TPW = $ 4200
93,2 TPW = $ 652 = $ 238.126 per year
30,7 TPW = $ 215
4,66 TPW = $ 33
6 anaerobic digesters can convert the waste produced by Sunset Park into
energy reducting its volume by 90% and enabling to compost the left overs
The proposed site is a 42 acre terrain a 24 acres terrain would be able to take
all the organic waste Brooklyn produces and convert it into undigested
compost on site.
Placing 14 digesters extra on site would be able to reduce 10% of Brooklyns
organic waste.
this would provide 93MW/day which would provide energy for 19.600
homes/day which is half of Sunset Parks households
1 digester
Power demands: 875MW per week
40% residential
60% commericial and industrial

Proposal
932 TPW
172
173
(content based on: Arsova, 2010; Astoria Generating Company, 2008; Center for the Study of Brooklyn, 2012; Kim et al. 2004)
Benefits calculations
174
175
Local assets
Supermarket in Sunset Park. (authors 2012)
Map 5: Local businesses
Local businesses and public facilities able to provide commercial food waste.
(Map based on: Brooklyn Community Board 7, 2007)
Brooklyn Wholesale Meat Market
commercial/ofce buildings
public facilities and institutions
mixed residential and commercial buildings
176
177
Brownfelds at the Sunset Park waterfront. (authors 2012)
Brownfeld Opportunities
Brownfeld Opputunity Areas (BOA) was crafted
as a tool to enable low-income communities
burdened with multiple brownfeld sites, high
incidence of disease, and unemployment, to
identify and implement alternatives to noxious
uses as the primary future for reclaimed
brownfeld sites. (KASS et al. 2011)
Industrial decay. (authors 2012)
179
178
Site of the DSNY waste transfer station. (authors 2012)
as part of the 2003 Brownfields Law, these are generous
refundable tax credits that are awarded based on
specified categories of costs involved in remediating
and redeveloping a brownfield site. According to NPCR
these BTCs have been controversial since the beginning.
As most of the subsidies have been pumped to projects
located in prime or promising locations, there is no
agreement as to how many of the properties that have
been cleaned up required the motivation for development
to happen. (NPCR, 2012)
However we have to be careful with proposing
brownfield redevelopment because of its potential to
lead to gentrification. Several concerns have to be taken
into account. When brownfield revitalization brings in
now job opportunities, neighboring communities are
less vulnerable to displacement (EPA, 2012). Therefore
community organizations can be involved to mediate
between the neighborhood residents to bring in local
resources. They can provide job training for the new
economical impulses and brownfield remediation.
Economic benefits for the community should be
considered, the organic waste recycling can not only
provide job opportunities on site, local businesses can
bring their organic waste and save money on paying
private charters to collect the waste.
There are numerous brownfield
1
sites in New York City,
former thriving industrial sites that are now left neglected
and underused. A majority of them are located within
low-income communities of color such as Sunset Park.
These brownfields are much contested because of their
potential to be effective on future economic growth, social
revitalization and the public health of the surrounding
neighborhoods. At the same time the definition of such
brownfields for these neighborhoods are abandoned
industrial spaces and disinvestment for their depraved
environment.
Community actors see these spaces as opportunities to
meet their pressing community needs such as affordable
housing, good jobs, facilities for the community and
education, waterfront accessibility and as confirmed in
the analysis of Sunset Park, open space (Tylke 2012).
For the past nine years, New York States brownfield
cleanup program has relied primarily on one type of
incentive, Brownfield Tax Credits (BTCs), to encourage
private investment in brownfield redevelopment. Created
1 The term brownfield site means real property for which
the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by
the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance,
pollutant or contaminant (U.S. Congress, 1980). Brownfield
sites are generally abandoned or under-utilized old industrial
and/or commercial facilities, and can be major eyesores and/
or health hazards for residents of the communities in which they
are located. Source: ADELAJA ET AL. 2010
Soil, groundwater and sediment at and underneath the
Sunset Park industrial zone became contaminated in
the 1970s due to unauthorized disposal of construction
and demolished debris, liquid wastes including oils, oil
sludge and wastewater. Furthermore the communities
health is impacted by traffic, industrial spills, dumping,
household and industrial use of fertilizers and the spread
of pesticides. (EPA, 2012)
180
181
To act in response to environmental decay and answer to
the community needs alternative strategies are used for
the brownfields. They can serve as energy crops and/or
as permeable surface for water runoff and reduce sewer
overflow (which is a critical problem in New York City),
and counter the need of desired open space while still
being productive by growing food and bringing Sunset
Parks inhabitants closer to the consumption and disposal
chain.
Sunset Park has a total of 232 acres of brownfield sites,
which are almost 1/3 of the 585 acres of industrial
waterfront. As Alan Berger would call it: drosscapes, in
an urban environment, which has been left neglected but
at the same time have a huge potential for increasing the
biodiversity of the urban landscape. The waste landscape
has to make space for continuous energy flows and
transformations, and therefore place has to be made
for non-permanent structures, but integrate inevitable
dross into a more flexible strategy (Berger 2006).
Investing in redevelopment of brownfields has been
slowed down for investors by expensive cleaning fees,
high insurance for protection of the investors who
have no liability protection and complicated approval
processes (RYAN 1997). In order to facilitate a more
attractive environment for redevelopment several
governmental incentives are given at federal, state and
city level (NPCR, 2012).
1

1 Government agencies at the Federal - Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)-, State -Department of State (DOS)-,
and City - Ofce of Environmental Remediation (OER) level
provide incentive programs to see these brownfelds be
redeveloped. These incentives include Brownfeld Tax Breaks
(BTCs), environmental insurance policies, liability protection,
Brownfeld incentive grant (BIG), Brownfeld Opportunity Area
(BOA), Brownfeld Cleanup Program (BCP), Community Brown-
feld Planning District, NYC Brownfeld Partnership, Brownfeld
Works, Environmental Training Program and NYC Pocket Parks
Program. All these incentives should provide money for envi-
ronmental cleaning and development and job training and job
creation (NPCR, 2012).
(Google earth 2012, Oasis Maps 2012)
The areal maps give an understanding of the
decline of industry leading to the underutilized
spaces and brownfields.
water retention
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
water retention
Creation of inclusive social space Creation of inclusive social space
Energy crops
Extracting of air and soil pollution
by phytoremediation
Extracting of air and soil pollution
by phytoremediation
hazordous soil
Brownfield strategy
Now 4 years
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
water retention
10 years
Creation of inclusive social space
Energy crops
Production of vegetables
Anaerobic digestion of food waste
182
183
Brownfeld strategies
Site remediation becomes one of the structuring elements
of a new industrial landscape.
The brownfield remediation strategy can be seen in
different phases over time. They will make space for
flexible usage depending on the grade of contamination
on the site. In this way some plots can immediately be
redeveloped and used as community garden or large
biomass production sites, others will need a longer
restoration time. In this way the process of remediation
becomes dynamic and allows for future flexible
functionalities, without obstructing future expansion or
productivity.
The technique of phytoextraction is a technique that
exploits the phyto-remediation plants for the removal
of pollutants in the soil, some plants have the ability
to translocate pollutants to the cell compartments and
digest them.
The plants are cultured in the polluted soil, the absorption
of the pollutant is carried to the roots, which then
translocate pollution to the air. The aboveground part of
the plants, i.e. the part in contact with the air, will then
be removed and with it also the pollutant. The harvest
of the biomass has to be processed as hazardous waste
depending on the level of pollution, others can be used
in the anaerobic digestion system. (Korade et al. 2008)
regional organic waste
Energy production
Soil remediation
Marketable product
From brownfelds to greenfelds
biomass production
Climate protection
Image improvement for
redevelopment
Energy
Educational function
Increasing of greenspace
Recreationall value
Soil upgrading
Sustainable development
Excavation & fll 40.000 - 80.000*
Phytoextraction 4.000 - 6.500*
CONTAMINANT
As
THE LEVEL OF REMEDIATION IS DEPENDENT ON ITS FUTURE USAGE: TYPICAL PLANTS USED FOR REMEDIATION:
Arsenic
found in paints, dyes, metals,
pesticides and soaps
Cr Arsenic
Pb Lead
PCB
Polychlorinated
Biphenyls
Accumulate in fish and marine
mammals at much higher levels
than in sediments and water
DDT
Dichloro-
phenyltri-
chloroethane
BaP Benzo(a)pyrene
C14H10
Anthracene
C16H10
Pyrene
C18H12
Benz[a]anthracene
Multi family
housing,
recreation, park
Single family
housing,
gardening,
playground
Farming animals,
growing food
Indian
Mustard*
Alpine
Pennycress
Common
Wheat*
Sunflower*
Pauls Scarlet
Rose*
White
Mulberry*
White rot
fungus
Zucchini*
Pumpkin*
Hybrid
Willow*
Chinese
brake fern
They are also contained in
gasoline and diesel exhaust, soot,
coke, and cigar and cigarette
smoke. In addition, they are the
byproducts of open fires, waste
incinerators, coal gasification, and
coke oven emissions.
*Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
PAH*
PAH*
PAH* Ryegrass*
* can be used in context Sunset Park
184
185
Typical ccontaminants present at the waterfront and plants used for phytoremediation
Phytoremediation simulation of Bush terminal
(Diagram based on: Korade et al. 2008, Division of Environmental Remediation, 2004)
New site restoration proposal based on fexible remediation strategies
*The costs associated with remediating lead contamination on a 2,500sf lot through phytoextraction using Indian Mustard can be
reduced to 10% of those using common methods of excavation and fll (EPA, 2010)
1 5 . 0 0 0.25
Miles
Sunset Park
Red Hook
Container Terminal
Significant maritime
and industrial areas
Industrial business zones
Marine container terminals
Existing rail infrastructure
Road network
Strategic regional
location with rail and
water connection
186
187
Site Proposal
Infrastructure: Sunset Park has due to its waterfront the
perfect location to distribute the end produced fertilizer.
The former railway, which is currently not being used, is
penetrating into the site enabling a direct disposal of the
organic waste coming from Brooklyn. waste collection
points are attached along the railway, in order to prevent
saturation of transport through one particular community.
As illustrated in the map on the next page, collecting
facilities can be sited in industrial business zones along
the rail line.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal is governmentally owned,
which is currently being used predominantly as storage
of goods. It can accommodate more activities to fill in the
enormous space available. This creates the opportunity
of using the building to store the final product before
exporting and a research unit exploring further
improvements of the facility.
Presence of the wastewater treatment plant: currently
owns 6 functioning digesters that process the sludge
before sending it to landfills. They do not however
extract energy, which would be limited when sludge is
digested alone, therefore the existing digesters can be
(as mentioned before) an offset to co-digest organic
Map 6: most common wind directions
waste in order to have more productive energy rates.
Although the spreading of odors is almost limited due to
the process of anaerobic digestion, a wind study is made
to see the direction of the prevailing wind flows in order
to prevent any disturbance to neighboring inhabitants.
The huge surrounding area can be used to grow biomass
and as a green landscape for the community residents.
windfows
Map 7 Waste network with collection points along railline
TASTE-THE-WASTE PROGRAM
ELECTRICITY HEAT FERTILIZER
TO POWERGRID
New York Power Authority
MUNICIPAL
ORGANIC
WASTE
LOCAL BUSINESSES
TO SURROUNDING HOUSING
URBAN AGRICULTURE
DIGESTERS
LOCAL: Urban agriculture
site remediation
PROFIT: Botanica Gardens
export
rooftop farms

BROOKLYN
F
E
E
D
S
T
O
C
K

O
U
T
C
O
M
E
LOCAL
LOCAL
LOCAL/EXPORT MUNICIPALITY
UPROSE
UPROSE works as a mediator between municipality and
community to represent community needs
UPROSE
COMMUNITY BENEFITS MUNICIPAL BENEFITS
$
JOBS
Brooklyn Wholesale
Meat Market
Restaurants
Supermarkets,
Grocery Stores and
Convenience Stores
Public Schools
Green Carts
Farmers Markets
CSAs
Urban agriculture
188
189
Stakeholders
Garbage has had a very negative connotation up till
now in the face of many poor income communities, this
is why this project is particularly sensitive to the people
of Sunset Park. To create a community synergy with the
waste facility, and let them benefit of the waste profits,
a local community group UPROSE is included in the
project to be the mediator between NYC officials and the
community. They will be included on many levels, from
promoting waste recycling to finding new stakeholders
to participate in the waste processing.
Commercial businesses can reduce their expenses by
bringing their own recyclables to the recycling facility.
UPROSE will be in charge of finding local employees
and find potential partnerships with for example the
Brooklyn Botanical Garden, urban farming projects and
CSAs to provide the income of waste materials and the
distribution of fertilizer.
Together with UPROSE the recycling facility will create
the TASTE-THE-WASTE program to create a public
awareness of the possibilities of organic waste and to
promote recycling and urban farming. The TASTE-THE-
WASTE gardens can be maintained by local residents,
and UPROSE can start educational programs for children
and adults about recycling and food cultivation.
The design will integrate much desired open space
and create a synergy with the surrounding community
involving in more actors in the project to create an open
ended model.
TASTE-THE-WASTE program
cargo tram rail
Creating synergies
biomass
urban agriculture
food vendors
Brooklyn Wholosale
Meat MArket
pre-processing
Feedstock
Water management
regional organic waste
households Brooklyn
Households Industrial rooftops biomass felds
TASTE-THE-WASTE
gardens
+
+
+
CSO
toxic biomass
Owls Head
Wastewater
Treatment Plant
sludge
mixture of sludge
and organic waste
stored biogas
shipped to landfll
as odor cap
export
ANAEROBIC DIGESTION
Benefcial outcomes
ANAEROBIC CO-DIGESTION
surrounding
households
excess heat
electricity
NYC Power Grid
hazordous soil
$
fertilizer
phytoremediation
a
m
o
u
n
t
o
f
w
a
s
t
e
b
e
f
o
r
e
d
ig
e
s
t
io
n
a
m
o
u
n
t
o
f
w
a
s
t
e
a
f
t
e
r
d
ig
e
s
t
io
n
190
191
Creating synergies
The parallel interrelation of different facilities and the
potential of new synergies are an important aspect in
creating an efficient methodology in the waste landscape.
Although creating these synergies would generate
benefits for all actors involved, they are not dependent to
each other in order to function.
192
193
Axonometry of design proposal
The site is interpreted as a model that allows flexible
adjustments and gradual transformation. With its
waterfront access to connect to the public water transport
system, and the greenway crossing the recycling site,
steers people attention to different sectors of the facility.
Transparency in the project is very important and public
participation is one of the most essential parts of its
succession. The community gardens of the TASTE-
THE-WASTE program allow people to learn about
recycling, and see the lifecycle of their organic waste.
The environment around the Brooklyn Army terminal
is re-qualified with parts of urban biomass production,
phytoremediation and an orchard that can nurture trees,
which later on can be planted within the city fabric. In
this way the site creates a new form of economical and
ecological value where the former monotone landscape
made place for public productivity.
Recycling collection
point
STEP 2: Anaerobic
digestion
STEP 2: Anaerobic
co-digestion with
sludge
STEP 3:
Gas collection
Biomass
Households
Phytoremediation
STEP 4: Compost
drying
STEP 5:
Storage
STEP 4:
Electricity
regional
power grid
Shipping
To landfll
90% reduced
Taste The Waste
STEP 1:
Pre-treatment
Waste water
treatment plant
Cargo tram with
regional organic
waste
Brooklyn Wholesale
meat market organic
feedstock
$
194
195
Diagrammatic organic waste cycle on site
In order to make the previous proposed synergetic
diagram more tangible, this diagrammatic functioning
of the site is showing an optimal usage of the existing
infrastructures. It reveals the dynamics of the brownfield
strategies in synergy with the waste recycling.
196
197
connections, one is the greenway, which goes along the
whole Brooklyn waterfront, the other one is connecting
the residential neighborhood with the waterfront. A
new waterfront transportation system is brought to
the abandoned pier and gives a fast connection to
Manhattan. This gives a welcome push to the shortage
of fast public transport. The pier has a multiple usage
because it also facilitates the anaerobic digesters and
composting process. In this way the recycling facility can
help to fund the public usage of the pier.
Furthermore the new development structure is just a
guide towards positioning of new small-scale businesses.
Small boxes are scattered along the waterfront, which
serve as manufacturing spaces. These boxes mainly
contain one floor and can be filled in or redeveloped if
the existing structures are deteriorated.
new development and infll of vacant
manufacturing buildings
new afordable housing
rainwater carriers
rainwater catchment
rainwater collectors
permeable surface with biomass production
cut and fll
Detailled section of cut and fll groundworks
green bufer
soft waterfront connector
greenway connecting the waterfront
parks of Brookyn
new public watertransport
cargo tram rail
internal industrial trafc
Map 9: transport network
Map 10: new development structure
Map 8: rainwater network
The rainwater network is captured and guided to the
open space at the waterfront where it can be stored
in water ponds. These ponds are interwoven into the
landscape of the brownfields and start to form the new
landscape through cut and fill applications. Intentionally
placed tree lines create a higher buffer on top of the filled
spaces keep the soil settled. During heavy rainfall the
biomass fields can serve as extra water buffers and form
wetlands.
The system of water management and brownfield
remediation can bring back biodiversity within the
deprived industrial waterfront and form recreational
spaces for neighboring residents.
The transport network on the site enables passers a
glimpse on the new recycling landscape. The recycling
facility is sited at the cross point of two important soft
0m 10 50 100
0m 10 50 100
198
199
water transport gascollector digesters compost drying tree nursery
view waterfont access
section 1-1
d
ik
e
d
ig
e
s
t
e
r
s
g
a
s
c
o
lle
c
t
o
r
d
ik
e
cargo tram biomass phytoremediation/parkland recycling drop-of point
view from section
2
n
d

a
v
e
n
u
e
p
h
y
t
o
-
r
e
m
e
d
ia
t
io
n
b
io
m
a
s
s

p
r
o
d
u
c
t
io
n
r
a
in
w
a
t
e
r

c
o
lle
c
t
o
r
in
t
e
r
n
a
l
t
r
u
c
k
r
o
a
d
g
r
e
e
n
w
a
y
c
o
m
p
o
s
t

d
r
y
in
g
0m 10 50 100
0m 10 50 100
200
201
rainwater carrier recycle drop-of point
section 2-2
view from section
w
a
t
e
r

t
r
a
n
s
p
o
r
t
d
ik
e
r
e
s
e
a
r
c
h

u
n
it
c
o
m
p
o
s
t

s
t
o
r
a
g
e
g
r
e
e
n
w
a
y
in
t
e
r
n
a
l
t
r
u
c
k

r
o
a
d
p
a
r
k
in
g

B
r
o
o
k
ly
n

A
r
m
y

T
e
r
m
in
a
l
r
a
in
w
a
t
e
r

c
o
lle
c
t
o
r
2
n
d

a
v
e
n
u
e
TASTE-THE-WASTE program waterfront connection rainwater collector biomass
203
202
its potentials and proximity to the neighborhood on
one hand, and the urgent need of rethinking about the
environmental impact of the present facilities and the
brownfield legacies on the other.
Waste is seen as an asset to restore the deprived
environment and a food waste cycle is envisioned at a
local and regional scale as an benefit for local economic
development as prototype for New York Citys waste
management.
Considering fossil fuel-based energy production and
its environmental impact demands cleaner and more
sustainable manners of power production.
Recycling organic waste, of which daily over 13.000
tons being shipped to landfills, has the opportunity to
create three byproducts: power, heat and fertilizer as a
marketable product. To the opportunities of this system
for the environmentally deprived community should not
be overlooked, heat can be used in surrounding houses,
and the fertilizer can be used at the degraded polluted
soils for growing crops to restore the contaminated
environment. The resulting clean power source meets the
demand of the neighboring community and can replace
existing polluting power plants.
This process cannot be seen as a closed entity; therefore
This thesis tries to tackle with the issues and constraints
observed in sunset park during the course of its research.
To the authors eyes the complexity of the current
obstacles can be seen as interrelated socio-economic
layers, ranging from the lack of job opportunities/
economical activities to the hazardous and unhealthy
environment.
Additionally, it is noteworthy to mention the absence of
political voice of the neighborhood into public decisions;
in other words the interests of the inhabitants are not
considered in perspectives of the city vision plans. The
existence of waste dumping and power plants in Sunset
Park manifest inequalities that thrive in New York City
(Sze 2007).
The uneven distribution of the polluting facilities
should be restored and each borough should carry the
responsibility of its own waste management and power
production.
In respect to the aforementioned conditions the taken
redevelopment strategies should bring a common
solution. In other words the problems cannot be tackled
individually, a common sense is needed to create
synergies between the multiple aspects of the problems.
The waterfront area is taken into account as a platform
for implementing the urban revival strategies due to
Conclusion
the role of community is of major importance for the
succession of a new form of participation in the production
and disposal cycle of the city. Community groups have to
become mediators in projects of public interest, In order
to create a synergy with the surrounding community.
Involving new stakeholders will enable residents
to become actors in their own public environment.
To create a participatory environment the recycling
facility is implemented in an open landscape with two
public access corridors. One is leading to a new water
transport connection; the other is the greenway cycling
path crossing the Brooklyn waterfront. Environmental
restoration of the surrounding brownfields becomes one
of the structuring elements of the site and strategically
placed educational platforms are implemented near
surrounding residential buildings and public accesses
offering multi-functional, collaborative use of space.
Local residents and community organizations maintain
these educational platforms, known as the TASTE-THE-
WASTE program.
URBANISM OF INCLUSION
J
a
n
a

G
r
a
m
m
e
n
s




A
m
b
e
r

K
e
v
e
la
e
r
t
s




M
a
a
r
t
e
n

W
a
u
t
e
r
s
U
R
B
A
N
I
S
M

O
F

I
N
C
L
U
S
I
O
N