Greetings from NYC where we have had a busy four days!
We kicked off our session on urban sustainability with a visit to the SIMS recycling facility in Sunset Park followed by lunch at the Industry City food hall just down the street. Then it was time for our sustainability scavenger hunt, with teams solving clues and then seeking them out around Brooklyn. A picnic in Fort Greene Park and our Awakening the Dreamer symposium capped an action packed day.
Tuesday morning featured a guest lecturer, Marcel Negret, a senior planner with the Regional Plan Association, Pratt graduate, and self-described “water geek.” Marcel shared his insights into NYC’s water infrastructure, the environmental challenges of stormwater management, and some of the ways that urban planners are tackling this issue, including some of the technical considerations that our student teams will need to reconcile as they work on our design challenge. After all of the mental calisthenics of the morning workshop, we wanted to get out into the field for the afternoon, with students splitting up based on their preference of the following neighborhood walking tours: Bushwick (street art and second-hand stores), Harlem (Museum of the City of New York’s Future City exhibit and soul food), or the Lower East Side (East River Park climate resiliency plan and Chinese food). We finished up the day with a brief evening workshop on the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program, which will use as a basis for our design challenge.
Wednesday we went kayaking on the East River from Brooklyn Bridge Park to Red Hook and back. Lots of sustainability tie-ins (such as the Combined Sewer Overflows that we’ve been learning about), but it was also simply a lot of fun, and a great way to see the city from a very different perspective.
Today, July 4th, we largely focused on taking it easy and celebrating Independence Day, with a trip to Rockaway for some beach time, followed by fireworks viewing at Brooklyn Bridge Park.