The conservancy’s mission is to steward the preservation, restoration, and green development of the canal and its environs. It focuses on developing water quality, ecosystem improvements, and public access. They want to bolster the community’s green infrastructure in the form of a “sponge” park that can capture and treat storm water runoff from the surrounding streets, while also providing public space to be enjoyed by the community.
Last April 9, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy held a community design charrette in partnership with design team KaN Landscape. The event, which was held at Proteus Gowanus gallery, attracted two dozen residents from the Gowanus/Carrol Garden area, from seniors to kids, youth recently moved to this part of Brooklyn to long-time environmental activists who’ve seen the potential for making the Gowanus Canal a greener, safer and more public destination. Architect Scott Francisco of pilot-projects, helped moderate the conversation, with Hans Hesselein, Gowanus CC project lead, and landscape architects Karine Duteil and Nadej Hocini, who started the evening with an inspiring presentation of models, ideas and possibilities for the “sponge park” site. Through animated conversations and rapid sketching, ideas were bounced around to assess existing resources and skills in and around Degraw Street (small metal shops, community associations, physical infrastructures, neighborhood events and gardening volunteers) and imagine how to leverage those assets to start building a community wish list. Next step: With the information gathered from this participatory event KaN Landscape team is working on making their first design proposals…