BQ GREEN: Reviving South Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) was originally proposed by the Regional Plan Association in the mid- 1930s to mitigate traffic congestion, facilitate industrial development and strengthen the connection between the boroughs of New York City. Robert Moses, as chair of the Tri-borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority charted its path through low income residential neighborhoods of Brooklyn & Queens. Construction of the BQE left a trail of divided neighborhoods in its wake. DLANDstudio developed BQGREEN to reconnect neighborhoods divided by construction of the BQE. The design reduces many of the negative environmental, economic and social impacts of the highway artery. With this proposal, the BQE is reconceived as an environmentally and ecologically productive spine that introduces new recreation spaces, ecological strategies, and infrastructural improvements that enhance the urban performance of the trench while transforming it into a true public amenity. 

With support and vision of City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, DLANDstudio is collaborating with NYCDOT and NYSDOT, NYCDPR and NYCDEP to pursue Federal HUD/DOT community development funding to make the vision a reality for an under-served Hispanic community in the south-side Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Two blocks of the trench will be capped to provide playing fields and verdant, flexibile open space for the neighborhood. Highways and other linear transportation infrastructure often occupy very desirable and expensive real estate that can be strategically adapted to increase its value to the community, the city, and the overall ecology of the region.

Chicago Athenaeum & European Centre for Architecture Art Design & Urban Studies: Good Design Award