The AECOM NYC Landscape studio is located on Brooklyn’s Innovation Coast, in the diverse and growing neighborhood of Sunset Park. The studio functions as an open and flexible workspace that supports interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation within the AECOM family and our project teams. The Landscape Studio addresses some of the most pressing urban challenges inherent to resiliency, climate change, and place-making in changing urban contexts across the U.S. and internationally, leading with design at many scales. We integrate with our colleagues in engineering disciplines to challenge industry standards in the design, engineering, and construction of multi-beneficial landscape infrastructure.
Today more than ever, landscape architects are at the forefront of pressing issues revolving around climate change, public health, and social equity. Through an optimistic approach to resilience, our studio of landscape architects, urban designers and planners strives to move away from the ‘reactionary’ approach of threats and disturbances, to become instruments of change and advocacy. From project conception, we work across disciplines to integrate infrastructure, place-making strategies, and ecological systems in order to create more adaptable, and ultimately livable urban environments.
Our work is grounded in dialogue and collaboration with the communities we design for. We believe that people are experts of their own built environments, and that community participation in the design process is essential to creating spaces that work for the people who use them. As we guide projects from concept through construction, we embrace our responsibility to establish trust and build long-term relationships with the community, to provide equitable and inclusive opportunities for input throughout the design process, to listen and learn how spaces can be improved to better fit specific community needs, and to actively demonstrate how that feedback continually shaped the design.
The challenges associated with the implementation of resilient infrastructure are inherent opportunities to address embedded inequality. How do landscape architects humanize infrastructure-based projects in neighborhoods justifiably wary of the environmental and programmatic impacts to their waterfront? Our studio explores design and communication techniques, developed in concert with the local communities, to build projects responsive to local culture. These approaches generate projects that create space for access, recreation, and play, often seamlessly incorporated into resiliency projects. We aim to elevate all voices in the design process and strive to create equitable and inclusive public places. Every project is an opportunity to increase equitable access and community-based programming in our public realm.
Manhattan, New York
Liberty Park is a 1.5 acre roof-top park centered within the World Trade Center District in New York City. The park is built on top of the district’s vehicle screening center building and creates a publicly accessible community open space providing elevated views over the 9/11 National Memorial. The park also contains the new St. Nicholas Church. The preceding structure was located adjacent to the original World Trade Center.
The park’s design provides critical pedestrian connections between the World Trade Center District streetscape and a pedestrian bridge spanning the adjacent West Side Highway to nearby Battery Park City. The pedestrian circulation has been carefully orchestrated to allow visitors to transition nearly 32 feet in vertical elevation while meeting ADA accessibility requirements. The park includes multiple seating areas, viewing decks, and public gardens, and a large open space plaza that creates a ceremonial entrance to the reconstructed church. These elements create a one-of-a-kind garden balcony in the city – an ideal place to sit back and take in elevated views of this iconic New York City district.
Manhattan, New York
World Trade Center Public Realm
The AECOM team led the re-design and unification of the World Trade Center Public Realm. This district, located in Lower Manhattan, the site hosts millions of tourists, visitors, commuters, and residents each day. The project comprises the streets, plazas, and parks within ‘Ground Zero,’ working to unify the 16-acre redevelopment project including five skyscrapers, a performing arts center, and the Oculus, a regional multi-modal transportation hub and symbol of rebirth for the World Trade Center.
Perimeter Security Measures
As part of the effort to increase pedestrian security in New York City, the AECOM team developed a suite of design responses in cooperation with the New York Police Department and other agencies. These integrated landscape security measures are integrated to the public realm in key locations throughout the borough of Manhattan and are design to respond to a wide range of architectural context.
Cobble Street Bike Path Standards
In collaboration with the New York City Department of Transportation, the AECOM team designed new city-wide standards for historic streets that enable the safe movement of bicycle and vehicular traffic while preserving the historic character of cobble streets.
Manhattan, New York
We rejuvenated the downtown campus of Pace University through the introduction of new programming, large communal space, and green infrastructure planting. A range of social seating types are introduced to facilitate social exchange between students and faculty, and outdoor artwork is relocated within structured planting beds, creating a highly functional space and dynamic atmosphere. The surrounding architecture creates a seamless connection between indoors and out through large glass windows overlooking the new planting. Detailed grading and material selection ensure that stormwater is collected for use as irrigation. As stormwater is guided over pervious pavers, a paving support system keeps soil un-compacted below and able to maintain optimal air and moisture for robust tree growth, ensuring maximum efficiency of space and healthy trees.
Manhattan, New York
As part of the South Battery Park City Resiliency project, Wagner Park in Lower Manhattan incorporates flood risk reduction mechanisms. The design approach increases the coastal resiliency of both Wagner Park and surrounding areas. The park will be elevated by 10 feet above existing grade, reducing risk from sea level rise and storm surges. The park illustrates how landscape architecture as resiliency infrastructure can build the physical, and social resiliency within a dense urban environment by integrating flood risk reduction and public waterfront amenities. The South Battery Park Resiliency Project is a highly urban and integrated coastal flood risk management project in Lower Manhattan. This project is one segment of the larger and systemic response of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Master Plan. The project area plays an imperative role in the overall flood risk reduction for Lower Manhattan. We used a toolkit-based approach to quickly generate a flood risk reduction alignment combined with design options to communicate with the community and get input.
Lower Manhattan, New Work
The Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency aims to reduce flood risk due to coastal storms and sea level rise from Manhattan’s Two Bridges neighborhood to Battery Park City. Our team developed a long-term strategy aimed at flood risk reduction in Lower Manhattan. The interdisciplinary team undertook a collaborative design process that involved engineers, landscape architects, architects, planners, economists, environmental and regulatory experts, hydrodynamic modeling specialists, and community engagement advisors.
In the Two Bridges neighborhood, the project proposes a variety of landscape infrastructure typologies to install a system of deployable flood risk reduction types into the community waterfront. The project area will continue to benefit from waterfront access and enhanced public spaces.