Living City Brooklyn Gowanus
The Gowanus Canal is a Superfund site in a commercial and industrial district of Brooklyn. The canal can overshadow the Gowanus neighborhood, a hub of art, creativity, fun, recreation and yes, green projects and businesses. Help fund a “wayfinding” and green infrastructure SIGN project to connect residents with creative, recreational and green resources while at the same time encouraging environmentally sustainable practices that will help clean up the canal and create a more livable community.
Community resources and learning opportunities are invisible to thousands of people living in the communities surrounding the Gowanus – Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Park Slope and Boerum Hill. However residents and others are hyper-aware that the community is grappling with the clean-up of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. A clean green Gowanus Canal will not only depend on intense infrastructure investments by the city, state and federal government, but also behavior changes within businesses and homes in and around the Gowanus.
Living City Block, a not-for-profit dedicated to urban regeneration at the neighborhood scale, will work with the community to increase the visibility of Gowanus-based resources and expose residents to what’s really working in the neighborhood while at the same time promoting a wider adoption of green practices.
We envision an ultra-creative street sign project that marries destination pointers and green infrastructure elements such as stormwater management, green energy, and alternative transportation.
1. Living City Block will hold a community charrette to identify priority design elements and destination points for 3 signs. It will engage community groups including the South Brooklyn Neighborhood Development Corporation, Gowanus Conservancy, Gowanus Institute, Friends of Gowanus, Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, Community Board 6, Friends of the Gowanus, local high school students and other stakeholders.
2. Living City Block will hold a design contest for 3 destination signs that each incorporate a different green infrastructure component. Green options include rain garden, bioswale, bike rack, solar panel or micro wind turbine (must use the power), green roof or green wall panel, or rain barrel. The constraints of the contest will include size of finished structure, donated materials (such as a solar panel) and any NYC DOT requirements for “wayfinding” projects.
3. The winning designs will be developed using as many sustainable or recycled materials as possible and Gowanus-area expertise and labor.
4. Living City Block will work with NYC DOT, the community board, building owners and other stakeholder partners to secure highly visible sites. Example ideal spots include the 3rd Street and Smith (visible from the Carroll Street subway stop at 2nd Street, the Carroll Street Bridge at the Gowanus and 3rd Street and 4th Avenue.
why we’re doing it
This project is about preserving and building on what is culturally unique about the Gowanus community while promoting environmentally sustainable practices and ultimately contributing to a more livable neighborhood. Living City Block, with offices in Brooklyn and Denver, CO, is developing a replicable, exportable and economically viable framework for the regeneration of existing urban communities, block by block. We have a Brooklyn Gowanus project centered on a multi-block area bounded by 3rd and 4th Streets between Smith and 3rd Avenue. We take a holistic approach to sustainability by facilitating community-driven initiatives that address water, materials flow and waste, alternative transportation, open space, local food systems, and economic development. This wayfinding initiative is an ideal mechanism for promoting our community and expanding the reach of our deep sustainability work planned for 3rd Street.