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Sponge Park

Sponge Park

Gowanus Canal

By (author) Susannah Drake


Publishing 8th Jul 2024
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    • Introduces the pioneering and award-winning Sponge Park design for the regeneration of the notorious Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY
    • The comprehensive approach integrates ecological and urban design, making the project a unique and compelling strategy for improving also urban climate resilience
    • Offers a resource for communities, architects, landscape and urban designers, environmental activists, and public agencies to clean up similarly degraded sites
    • The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park is the only project to date that has succeeded in both branding an idea for greater public acceptance and actually performing on the promises of the planning
    Full Description

    Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal is a hidden landmark, a valuable but latent asset to the local and broader community. Formerly a wetland creek, it is now severely polluted and bordered by industrial buildings. Although it is surrounded by residential neighbourhoods, there is hardly any public access to the water’s edge. The existing canal bulkhead and drainage is also a piece of hard engineered infrastructure that is seemingly easy to maintain but inadequate for managing extreme weather—when it fails the impacts are catastrophic.
    The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park, which was completed in 2016 and won the inaugural Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Award for Climate Action in 2020, is designed as a series of public urban waterfront spaces that slow, absorb, and filter dirty surface water runoff to clean contaminated canal water, reduce combined sewer overflow, and to activate the canal edge. Revealing the form, distribution, and size of natural ecological patterns in relation to the shape and patterns of infrastructure, neighbourhoods, and political jurisdictions is another key component of the design.
    This book introduces the Sponge Park in great detail with photos, illustrations, plans, and diagrams. It demonstrates the concept’s potential as component of a larger vision for a new paradigm of coastal urbanism, upland adaptation, and right of way design in the 21st century that anticipates more frequent extreme weather impacts and affects American policy making. It is a must-read for design students, architects, and academics as well as for elected officials, policy makers, and community activists.

    About the Author

    Susannah Drake is a principal with Sasaki Associates and an Associate Professor Adjunct at Cooper Union in New York. She founded her own Brookly-based firm DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture in 2005, which she merged with Sasaki in 2022. In 2020, DLAND studio's Gowanus Canal Sponge Park design won the inaugural Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Award for Climate Action.

    Park Books
    Publish date
    8th Jul 2024
    Paperback / softback
    World excluding Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, United States, Canada, and Japan
    240 mm x 170 mm
    144 Pages
    80 color, 10 b&w
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