New York City Urban Field Station

Freshkills: Landfill to Park Conversion

Attitudes Towards and Intentions to Visit Freshkills Park

[photo:] Kayakers in Freshkills Park. Photo courtesy of the City of New York.In 2009, Urban Field Station (UFS) staff began collaborative research projects with Freshkills Park, which is currently the largest landfill- to- park conversion in the world. With the help of UFS and Freshkills Park staff at NYC Parks Department, David Klenosky of Purdue University is leading a large- scale study of Staten Island (SI) residents' attitudes towards the park entitled, "Attitudes Towards and Intentions to Visit Freshkills Park." Building off his previous work in the Chicago area, the goal is to better understand how SI residents feel about the current public parks and outdoor recreation areas on SI and about the plans to transform the former Fresh Kills Landfill site into Freshkills Park. Research conducted to date has provided only a general understanding of attitudes and concerns about visiting and using Freshkills Park. The research by Klenosky and his colleagues should provide important baseline data for documenting the degree to which behaviors and attitudes change during the evolution of the Freshkills site. Using data from this study, students in the 2012 Columbia University Master of Science in Sustainability Management Capstone Workshop developed a communications strategy (8 mb pdf - You may obtain a free PDF reader from Adobe.) to address public health concerns surrounding Freshkills Park.

Legacies of the Dump

[photo:] The former Fresh Kills landfill. Photo courtesy of the City of New York. "Legacies of the Dump," is a qualitative research project coordinated locally by Urban Field Station and Freshkills Park staff . It is using focus groups with senior citizens and young adults (ages 18-24) to understand Staten Island residents' memories of the former landfill and their fears about -- and interest in -- using the future Freshkills Park. ┬áThe focus groups specifically seek information about participants’ emotions and attitudes towards Fresh Kills Landfill , their knowledge about the future Freshkills Park, their attitudes towards contaminated site reuse at Fresh Kills and in general, and their attitudes towards the City of New York and the process of conversion from landfill to park.

Innovative Urban Afforestation Strategies at Freshkills Park and Beyond

[image:]Ron Zalesny collecting native poplar twig material at Freshkills ParkAnother project in development at Freshkills Park assesses the potential of phytotechnologies (literally “plant technologies”) to improve the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of soils imported to a restoration site in the new park as well as similar sites throughout New York City. Plant Geneticist Ron Zalesny (US Forest Service) traveled to New York City to work with the Freshkills Park, and Greenbelt Native Plant Center, and Urban Field Station researchers Rich Hallett and Nancy Falxa Sonti to identify “workhorse” plant species belonging to the Populus (poplar), Salix (willow), and Panicum (switchgrass) genera. The initial plant material was selected from native Staten Island plant populations, including some on the Freshkills site. Specific varieties of plants with the greatest ability to remove inorganic contaminants from the soil will be determined through greenhouse studies at the Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies in Rhinelander, WI. The long-term goal is to select and plant the most successful plant varieties throughout New York City afforestation sites, creating a more suitable environment for native ecosystems.