Fresh Kills Park


2,200 acres of natural habitats, activities and circulation routes will comprise the new Fresh Kills Park, a model of public engagement and adaptive reuse that transforms how we experience vast, reclaimed landscapes in the city. The design goal of the Draft Master Plan is to create a framework for development at Fresh Kills over the next thirty years.  This will:

  • Create a world-class, large scale park
  • Restore ecological systems and cultivate a sustainable landscape
  • Create extraordinary settings for a range of activities and programs that are unique to the city
  • Honor the events of September 11, and the recovery effort that took place at Fresh Kills, in a dignified and unique way
  • Build a limited system of ecologically sensitive park roadways to optimize local and regional access to the park and reduce local traffic congestion

The Draft Master Plan is based on the theme of "lifescape, a new parkland for New York City." The Plan is composed of three layers: program, habitat and circulation. A diversity of cultural, athletic and educational programming has been suggested for the site; an ecological restoration of the site composed of reclaimed and newly created wetlands, grasslands and woodlands will offer wildlife habitat as well as natural open spaces for park visitors; and finally, a park roadway, as well as a series of foot, bicycle and equestrian paths will circulate throughout the site. 





Field Operations' winning proposal, lifescape, envisioned Fresh Kills Park as a new form of public ecological landscape; a new paradigm of creativity and adaptive reuse.  lifescape was to be informed by the voice of an engaged public and shaped by time and process. The Field Operations team imagined an ecologically robust landscape, not as a pastoral refuge from the city, but as an active agent within it. Fresh Kills would provide richly diverse settings for wildlife, birds and plants, and serve as a vibrant locus for social life - for all kinds of active recreation, for physical and cultural experience. Because the site is vast and complex, the idea of a landscape developed in stages, unfolding over time - as all life does - was central to the competition proposal and remains at the core of the Draft Master Plan.


Five Parks in One

Freshkills Park will have five main areas: the Confluence (made up of Creek Landing and The Point), North Park, South Park, East Park and West Park. Each area will have a distinct character and programming approach.

The Confluence is the cultural and waterfront recreation core of the park, sited at the confluence of Richmond Creek and Main Creek and encircled by the park road. Two developed areas along this loop are the main activity sites in the park:

Creek Landing (20 acres) will be designed for waterfront activities, including an esplanade, canoe and boat launch, restaurants, a visitor center and a large event lawn for gatherings, picnics and sunbathing. The area will also allow for ample car parking and will be a central point of arrival and departure of park users.

The Point (50 acres) is designed to accommodate sports fields, event spaces, lawns, artwork and educational programming. A long promenade along the water’s edge will support restaurants, a banquet facility and an open–air market roof. Old machinery and artifacts from Fresh Kills Landfill operations will act as outdoor sculptural pieces, and the old barges will be re–imagined as floating gardens. The promenade will be a vibrant social place with seating, fishing piers, a boat launch and great views across the water toward the natural beauty of the nearby Isle of Meadows.

North Park (233 acres, max. elev. 150 ft.) will be characterized by simple, vast natural settings—meadows, wetlands and creeks. Adjacent to the Travis neighborhood and overlooking the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, the area will feature paths and trails for walking, running, bicycling and skating encircling the northern mound. Scenic overlooks and spaces for picnicking, catch–and–release fishing and bird–watching will be provided.

South Park (425 acres, max. elev. 140 ft.) will provide large natural settings and active recreational spaces, including soccer fields, an equestrian facility and mountain biking pathways. Adjacent to the Arden Heights neighborhood, South Park will also host picnic areas, fields and trails. The area is also large enough to house a major sports and recreation center for track and field and/or swimming. The hilltops lend spectacular views across the site and into the distance.

East Park (482 acres, max. elev. 135 ft.) will be defined by the park road that extends from Richmond Avenue into the heart of the site and connects to the West Shore Expressway. The park drive will be sensitively designed as a scenic route integrated into the landscape. The Richmond Avenue side of East Park has been conceptualized as a nature education area with specially designed wetlands, boardwalks and exhibits and public art installations. The large mound in this area lends itself to a variety of recreational uses, from golf and field sports to archery, informal pickup games, frisbee and picnicking.

West Park (545 acres, max. elev. 200 ft.) hosts the site’s largest mound, with the West Shore Expressway to the east and the Arthur Kill to the west. An enormous earthwork monument is envisioned atop the mound in remembrance of the September 11 recovery effort that occurred in this location. Set on a vast hilltop wildflower meadow, the earthwork would be open to the sky and offer spectacular 360–degree views of the region, including a direct line of sight to lower Manhattan.




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