When New York City's massive, visible-from-space Fresh Kills landfill closed in 2001, the city began trucking its garbage—around 14 million tons annually—to other states. Former Mayor Bloomberg tried to soften this unsustainable solution with a 2006 plan to transport waste by train and barge instead of trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 192,000 tons per year. Now, with Mayor de Blasio's ambitious "zero waste" plan for landfills by 2030, the need for revamped waste management systems is pressing. Could old-school pneumatic tubes help the City meet its goal? Pneumatic tubes seem like a futuristic waste disposal technology, but they are widely employed in Europe and parts of the U.S., including New York's Roosevelt Island and Disney World. Indeed, some parts of New York used to get mail delivered by pneumatic tubes. How could this system work on a large scale today? ClosedLoops, an infrastructure planning and development firm, has been researching this question for five years. The team hopes to create a pneumatic tube system, the High Line Corridor Network, underneath the High Line park on Manhattan's Far West Side. Now in the pre-development phase, the team chose the High Line to test their prototype because its height eliminates the need to tunnel beneath the streets. Waste would be sucked from the park and nearby buildings and deposited in a central terminal for overland carting to landfills outside of New York. As of December 2015, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority and NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) are on board, and the DSNY (plus the NYC DOT) have offered to support the grant proposal for the project. If trash tubes were installed citywide, it would be possible to track who produces the most (and least) waste, and mete out fee-for-service accordingly. The project will take a few more years to come fully to fruition. In the meantime, there are plenty of places to see pneumatic tubes in action, including your local drive-thru: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benfrantzdale/5022238452
Posts tagged with "DSNY":
The holidays are here when the Coniferous Tree Exception kicks in. This New York City ordinance allows dead pine trees to be sold on city sidewalks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. One true marker of the season's end is the Christmas trees that line those same sidewalks in January, awaiting DSNY pickup. In years past, one artist has revivified these trees, albeit illegally, creating semi-real pine forests from discarded trees in marginal urban spaces. This year, the trees will have a second chance at life in the most popular place for dead New Yorkers: Queens. In 2012 and 2013, San Francisco–based artist Michael Neff rounded up 35 Christmas trees from the curbs of Brooklyn. He hung them with twine from a metal pipe and displayed them under a BQE overpass, at Metropolitan Avenue and North 6th Street, in Williamsburg. Within a matter of hours, the trees were removed and discarded by the city. https://vimeo.com/150815655 This year, Neff is reprising his installation, legitimated and indoors, at the Knockdown Center, in Maspeth, Queens. A time-lapse video (above) shows the installation in process. Working a cherry picker, Neff and his team suspend coniferous trees of slightly varying sizes from the ceiling in a neat grid. In a statement on the exhibition's event page, Neff describes the advantages that a change of venue con(i)fers:
The exhibition at Knockdown Center allows for a much different experience, most importantly time for the trees to shed their needles into halos on the smooth concrete floor below. Paired with the subtle pine fragrance of the trees and the opportunity for quiet contemplation, the exhibition encourages repeated viewing.Suspended Forest is on view from January 9th to January 31st.
Design worth its salt: Dattner and WXY team up for municipal infrastructure on Manhattan's West Side
The New York City Department of Sanitation's (DSNY) Soho facilities prove that design for trash need not be rubbish. On a grey December day, five architects gave a tour of two buildings—the Spring Street Salt Shed and Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage—that comprise DSNY's new facilities on Spring Street at the West Side Highway. The five architects leading the tour included WXY principal Claire Weisz, Dattner Architects principals Kirsten A. Sibilia and Paul Bauer, Dattner associate Gia Mainiero and Rick Bell, executive director of the Office of the Chief Architect at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC). The first stop on the tour was the Spring Street Salt Shed. The structure is a textbook take on "form follows function." Designed to resemble a salt crystal, the cast-in-place concrete shed can hold up to 5,000 tons of road salt. When salt is piled up, Mainiero explained, it assumes an "angle of repose." The roof is slanted to match that angle, with walls ranging from two to six feet thick. While the structure's form embraces salt, the materials were chosen to prevent its corrosive effects: the concrete admixture is self waterproofing and architects applied a hardener to the concrete floor. Trucks drive into the salt shed to pick up their loads, so the lower portion of the walls are plated with steel to prevent errant shovel dings. In New York City, each Community Board (the neighborhood-level governing body) is responsible for its own sanitation. The Spring Street facilities are shared by Community Board 1, 2, and 5, as well as UPS, and a Con Ed substation. The garage can hold 150 sanitation trucks, and contains fueling, washing, and repair stations for vehicles, as well as administrative offices. Though the building is four stories, it feels more like eight, with interior ceilings up to 30 feet high. Citing community concerns about a potentially loud, unsightly sanitation facility in the neighborhood, the DDC and the design team worked closely with area stakeholders to create a facility with curb appeal. Walking from the salt shed to the garage, the architects pointed out the double-skin facade that wraps the 425,000 square foot building. Each floor has a different, but equally cheery, color-code. 2,600, 30 inch wide fins made of perforated, coated aluminum line the exterior. The panels are timed to move with changing position of the sun, though workers can manually override the settings to control light flow. "The color is interesting and subtle from the outside," explains Weisz. "The louvers create a composition and a scrim, yet the facade is very calm." In a nod to surrounding tall luxury developments, the design team treated the roofs of both buildings as facades. A 1.5-acre green roof, planted with 25 different species of succulents and perennials, helps control runoff, cool the building, counts towards the building's (eventual) LEED Gold certification, and could be used as an events space. Party planners take note: there are sweeping views of the Hudson on three sides. Design decisions were made to reduce the overall mass of the garage. At the rear of the building, the roof slants, mirroring the angle of the three lane driveway, one story below.