Sustainability Guidelines for NYC Parks

Panorama, Frozen Lullwater at Prospect Park at Sunset
Panorama, Frozen Lullwater at Sunset, Prospect Park

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) recently released new sustainability guidelines for the design and maintenance of NYC's green spaces, High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC:
High Performance Landscape Guidelines is the first document of its kind in the nation: a comprehensive, municipal design primer for sustainable parks and open space. The product of a unique partnership between the Parks Department and the Design Trust, a nonprofit organization that helped create sustainable guidelines for NYC buildings, High Performance Landscape Guidelines covers every aspect of creating sustainable parks, from design to construction to maintenance, and feature many best practices for managing soil, water, and vegetation resources.
- Press Release, January 6, 2011
The Guidelines, running over 270 pages, cover site assessment; design, construction and maintenance; and soils, water and vegetation. the final section of the manual includes several case studies, including two of Brooklyn's Parks: Calvert Vaux and Canarsie Parks.

Climate change is identified as a major factor, if not the single most important consideration, for the guidelines:
Climate change threatens the stability and longevity of New York City’s infrastructure, buildings, and parks; it also compromises the health and safety of the city’s population. Unless the growth of greenhouse gas emissions is curbed and reversed, experts predict that climate change will result in significant sea level rise, increased storm intensity and frequency, and increased temperatures.

Two factors will exacerbate the impacts of climate change in New York City: the urban heat island effect and the city’s overburdened stormwater infrastructure.

- Climate Change and 21st Century Parks, Part 1, Guidelines

Related Content

Sustainable Gardening


High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC, available as PDF (273 pages)
Parks Press Release: A New Year Launches A New Era In Great Park Design, 2011-01-06


2010 Wrap-Up

This photo of a community garden supporter in front of City Hall was one of my photos illustrating my 2010 guest rant on Garden Rant.
Chard and Carrot

Here's my review and recap of 2010.



  • July 2010: I attend the Garden Bloggers Buffa10 meetup of garden bloggers.
  • Fall 2010: I received my Citizen Tree Pruner's certification.

Most Viewed

According to Google Analytics, from which I've collected these stats, "unique page views" are the number of visits during which a page was viewed. Page views are higher, since the same page may be viewed multiple times during a single visit. Unique pageviews, however, doesn't distinguish multiple visits from the same person or IP address.


Mulchfest 2011: Recycle Those Trees!

The giant tree shredder in action at last year's Mulchfest at Park Circle in Prospect Park.
Park Circle Mulchfest 2010

It's tree recycling season in New York City. Residents can have their trees recycled into mulch for the City's parks and gardens. Note that, although recycling pickup is still suspended after the post-Christmas blizzard, you can leave trees curbside for recycling pickup.
  • Remove all lights, ornaments, tinsel and tree-stands from your tree.
  • Leave your tree unwrapped. Don't put it in a plastic bag.
  • Leave trees curbside starting Monday, January 3 for recycling pickup, OR
  • Bring your tree 10am-2pm Saturday, January 8th or Sunday, January 9th to one of 70 locations citywide.
Residents can also pick up free mulch at designated chipping locations.

Brooklyn Locations

This year's Mulchfest locations for Brooklyn are almost the same as last year's. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are on-site chipping locations.

The Amazing Garden* Columbia Street at Carroll Street Chipping
Cobble Hill Park* Verandah Place & Clinton Street Chipping
Coffey Park Dwight Street & Verona Street Drop-off only
Fort Greene Park* Washington Pk. & Willoughby Avenue Chipping
Green-Wood Cemetery 25th Street & 4th Avenue Drop-off only
Hattie Carthan Garden* Across from Von King Park: Lafayette Avenue & Clifton Place Chipping
Lincoln Terrace Park Buffalo Avenue between East New York Avenue & Eastern Parkway Drop-off only
Maria Hernandez Park Knickerbocker Avenue & Suydam Street Drop-off only
Marine Park* Avenue U & East 33rd Street Chipping
McCarren Park* Driggs Avenue & Lorimer Street Chipping
McGolrick Park Monitor Street & Driggs Avenue Drop-off only
Owl's Head Park* Colonial Road & 68th Street Chipping
Prospect Heights Community Garden 252-256 St. Marks Avenue Drop-off only
Prospect Park* Third Street at Prospect Park West Chipping
Prospect Park Circle* Parkside Avenue & Prospect Park Southwest Chipping
Sunset Park44th Street & 6th AvenueDrop-off only


View Brooklyn MulchFest 2011 in a larger map


Related Content

Mulchfest posts:


Mulchfest, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Partnerships for Parks
Prospect Park Alliance