Fresh Kills Landfill

Location:Staten Island, NYC 

Size:2400 acres 

Budget:NA 

Client:New York City Planning Dept. 

Date:2001 

This proposal was done in collaboration with Anu Mathur and Dilip da Cunha. In March 2001, after 50 years as the primary disposal site for New York’s garbage, Fresh Kills was closed in response to the objections of local residents on Staten Island and a competition was held to convert the landfill to a park. At that point, no new plan existed for the disposal of the millions of tons of New York’s garbage other than to export it to New Jersey, Virginia, and other more distant locations. In September 2001, Fresh Kills gained horrific new resonance as it became a repository for debris from the World Trade Center.

In the shadow of such massive realities, we felt that simply producing a park master plan was the wrong approach. We decided to sacrifice the chance to win a commission and instead conduct an investigation into the nature of the place and its context.  Rather than a “master plan” our product was a resource of documentation and speculation on 5 key dynamics of the site - Events, Datum, Transport, Edges, Alliances - as they existed through history and how they might be engaged and deployed in the future. This resource could then become the thematic and imaginative springboard for many projects to follow and live a longer productive life.