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New York, New York
United States of America

Sustainability, Green Ideas, Environment, Networking, Architecture, Engineering, Building Systems, Farah Ahmad, Farah Naz Ahmad

Blog

My personal journal: architecture, travel, current events, New York City, & more.

Spotlight on Staten Island's Sustainability

Farah Ahmad

Greenhome NYC hosted a fantastic forum capturing the beauty of Staten Island, highlighting three extraordinary projects that illustrate Staten Island's commitment to the environment and innovation. 

As a quarter century resident of Staten Island, I often feel compelled to educate fellow New Yorkers on what they claim to be the 'forgotten' borough. We suburbanites may be separated from the central economical and social core, Manhattan, by New York Bay, but I could easily argue that Bronx is the only borough attached to the mainland!

If any New Yorkers dared to venture deeper within the borough beyond the North Shore coastal perimeter, I am sure they would be convinced of its beauty. Staten Island's landscape- its many green spaces, beautiful boardwalk, beach strips and harbors- is a large component which sets the borough apart from the others. In fact, I intend to populate my blog with more Staten Island posts, so I can show you some of its beautiful 'hidden' secrets!


freshkills park: land remediation

One common myth I love to dispel is the presence of "the dump", or landfill, on Staten Island. It disappeared nearly FIFTEEN years ago! Back in 2001, the landfilll was shut down. Boom. There you go. Now start believing it! Since then, the grounds have undergone extensive remediation. Now, Freshkills Park is being designed, constructed, and operated in stages, unveiling tranquil and scenic grounds. 2200 acres of work will result in an all-natural get-away. Parts of it are already open, and it'll be nearly THREE TIMES the size of Central Park when completed, officially making Staten Island the home of New York City's largest park. The park is fit with recreational and educational spaces- soccer fields, kayaking, and a bird observation tower, anyone? Of course, there is plenty more to do, but I know those are at the top of my personal list! Freshkills will also host New York City's largest solar installation, and will be solely responsible for increasing NYC's renewable energy capacity by 50%! Moreover landfill gas is being converted to domestic energy use, powering Staten Island homes today! Freshkills Park serves as an excellent example for brownfield remediation.  I'm proud to say that Staten Island will serve as a model for land reclamation and rehabilitation, and sustainability.

 Yes, folks, the last haul was in 2001. The landfill no longer operates.

Yes, folks, the last haul was in 2001. The landfill no longer operates.

  • Want to see what phases of Freshkills are open and what public programming and spaces are available for you to enjoy? Read on here!

public school 62: net-zero energy

P.S.62 is changing the way we design schools and approach education. It's a real shining example of innovation for the building industry, a sustainable model for the local community, and an educational treasure for numerous generations of students. The nearly 70,000 square foot school will engage its elementary school students in energy consumption awareness and will use as much energy as it produces on its own! Ample daylighting, building orientation, photovoltaic arrays, efficient lighting fixtures and kitchen equipment, an airtight building envelope and efficient geothermal system... these are just SOME of the features one can find integrated into the design, construction, and operation of the structure.

 Architect  SOM’s design will reduce energy-use by 50% compared with a standard NYC SCA public school.

Architect SOM’s design will reduce energy-use by 50% compared with a standard NYC SCA public school.

 Sloped classroom ceilings allow daylight to penetrate deeply in. Classroom clerestory windows allow daylight to spill into the corridor, and vice versa. Wish this school was built in my time and I was one of the attending students!

Sloped classroom ceilings allow daylight to penetrate deeply in. Classroom clerestory windows allow daylight to spill into the corridor, and vice versa. Wish this school was built in my time and I was one of the attending students!

  • Read more about SOM's design here
 Look at that beautiful PV canopy framing the main entry facade!

Look at that beautiful PV canopy framing the main entry facade!


the living roof: urban agriculture

The Living Roof, first established in 2004, is a paradigm for rooftop agriculture. Nestled atop a facility at the St. George Ferry Terminal, The Living Roof is one of NYC's earliest examples of green rooftop space. Food produced at the rooftop garden will be distributed to the community. New York Cares partnered with Living Restoration to help remediate the space back in 2013, and now a bright future lies ahead for its crops!

  • Want to get involved with The Living Roof? Read more here! It's a great way to help develop Staten Island and volunteer sessions occur regularly.

So, the next time you are convinced Staten Island is a completely different world from the 'outer' boroughs, hopefully you'll grasp a sense of the positive resonance of that alleged disparity and recognize its contributions to New York City.

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