Across the East River from the iconic skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan lies The Hunters Point North waterfront in Long Island City. Formerly industrial properties along its shoreline offer a unique opportunity for future proof and inclusive transformation and planning. That is why The Long Island City Coalition (LICC) and Western Queens Community Land Trust (WCLT) reached out to BLOXHUB to share cross-border, cross-sector experience, insights and sustainable approaches to coastal protection and climate adaptation.
LICC/WCTL got in touch with BLOXHUB via Danish Cleantech Hub in New York with a proposal for redesign, reuse and protection of 10 acres of publicly owned land on the site*. The project includes a conceptual design of community facilities, public open spaces and an overview of local community needs.
Sustainable and well-planned growth in Hunters Point North could help the city distribute economic development more fairly, increase social equity, restore environmental resources and be proactive about climate change, in particular comprehensive flood-protection. As the entire site is in a designated floodplain, it will require sophisticated measures such as artificial wetlands and temporary water storage.
The newly established Danish-American partnership, which resulted in a co-creation workshop with experts from the BLOXHUB ecosystem, created an opportunity to address the issues of sea-level rise resiliency and severe shortfall in public open spaces, which are crucial factors to dictate the remainder of development requirements and the most compelling argument in convincing the ultimate decision makers. The challenges that were discussed at the workshop were not only the natural environment, but also the cultural needs and involvement of the adjacent disadvantaged community.
“The BLOXHUB conference was like a breath of fresh air – the Nordic country professionals were full of inventive ideas while exhibiting the technical savvy required to address 21st Century waterfront planning challenges. We very much look forward to continued engagement.” Sums up Thomas Paino from the Long Island City Coalition.
At the heart of the project lies a desire to see the community grow and prosper by averting profit-focused developers and instead tap into the proud heritage of Long Island City, which is particularly notable for its thriving arts community and is home to an impressive collection of art galleries, studio spaces and art institutions. Preserving the community’s vibrancy and champion livability, well-planned growth and protection is, therefore, of the highest priority.
BLOXHUB members such as Schønherr Landscape Architects provided insights on how to reestablish the relationship with nature and add value of interest to developers, pointing out that in Denmark the proximity to recreational areas adds more value than bricks ever could.
Schønherr also argued for the importance of building public-private partnerships, of using an adaptive approach to long-term planning and of making accurate simulations, suggesting realistic solutions, illustrating the vision and proving that it’s possible!
Another BLOXHUB member, Backscatter – a Human Data Science Studio, demonstrated how data can give a solid representation of the citizens a voice, making it possible to seize the window of opportunity presented by COVID-19 and an upcoming political election to change the minds of the decision makers.
Together with LICC, WCLT and BLOXHUB members, BLOXHUB is currently in the process of uncovering the possibilities to continue the collaboration, and Cleantech Hub Denmark in New York and BLOXHUB have identified a possible funding opportunity that may turn the dream into reality.
*The site is defined by three parcels: the Department of Transportation site, the empty lot between the Board of Education Building and the water’s edge and the northern most site which has reverted back to wetland and bay area.
The workshop was held on June 18, 2021. If you’re interested in cross-border, cross-sector collaboration with BLOXHUB on an urban challenge, read more about Global Networks here and don’t hesitate to contact Global Network Manager Martine R. Kildeby: +45 2268 4648 / firstname.lastname@example.org.