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Brooklyn Bridge Becomes A Walkable Greenspace With Lush Mini ‘Forests’ In Winning Redesign

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

Brooklyn Bridge Becomes A Walkable Greenspace With Lush Mini ‘Forests’ In Winning Redesign

The Brooklyn Bridge is known for being a beautiful piece of NYC history…but also incredibly cramped and crowded for those who dare to cross it (especially on a weekend)!

Now, though, a new design has been chosen to help reconfigure the bridge for a new era.

Back in February, the New York City Council and design group the Van Alen Institute launched a competition for a better design of the bridge, coinciding with its 150th anniversary. They wanted “visionary ideas that would improve every aspect of the Brooklyn Bridge experience: access, the journey across, understanding of its history, landmark status and extraordinary engineering, and the meaning and pleasure that visiting one of the globe’s most iconic public spaces should deliver,” according to their announcement.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest

And designers from all over the world delivered! After receiving over 200 creative submissions, a jury selected finalists and then a winner was voted on by New Yorkers, who chose a design that would bring some much-needed green life to the iconic bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest

The winner is titled “Brooklyn Bridge Forest,” and features sustainably-sourced wood for a new promenade plus some beautiful “microforests” that pedestrians will be able to walk through.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest

This design proposal includes, according to their website:

  • An expansive wooden promenade for pedestrians and bicycles that will help permanently protect 200,000 acres of precious rain forest
  • New green spaces based on the original biodiverse forests on Manhattan and Brooklyn that invite public dialogue, remembrance and co-creation
  • Pop-up market spaces in the historic anchorage/approach vaults to be used by local vendors and neighborhood services (like Recycle-A- Bicycle)
  • An immediate “phase zero” strategy to get bicycles moving on the lower deck of the bridge while longer term changes take place

See the full presentation here:

The contest was set to “spark a new public conversation about New York City’s infrastructure,” so there aren’t set plans to construct the new design anytime soon, but City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the proposals were a “crucial first step to get New Yorkers thinking about how to adapt not only the bridge, but also our streets and public spaces for future generations and stay true to our goal of creating an environmentally sensitive, bike friendly city that prioritizes pedestrians over cars.

“While we review these bold long-term visions for the Brooklyn Bridge,” he said, “the DOT should act with urgency to implement changes on the Brooklyn Bridge and on other East River crossings to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians as soon as possible.”

In other news: NYC Has Installed ‘Checkpoints’ At Bridges & Tunnels To Enforce Cuomo’s Travel Quarantine

featured image source: Brooklyn Bridge Forest; Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw and Silman; New York and Montreal