NEW MEADOWLANDS: Productive City + Regional Park

New Jersey

Our team focused on the Meadowlands based on a regional analysis aimed at identifying areas that face a broad range of risks. The underlying policy argument is that a federal dollar is best spent when it helps address not just flood risk alone, but rather the combined effects of flooding, heat islands, pollution, social vulnerability, and vital network protection. Furthermore, the Meadowlands Commission is a case study in inter-municipal collaboration, positioning it well for a coalition-building effort.

Our proposal will contribute to a new balance, by rebuilding ecosystems as landscapes for water storage and recreation. These landscapes will add value and create new development opportunities along the edges of the Meadowlands between natural and urban systems. Development adjacent to this ecosystem could become a model for a new kind of co-existence of industrial (logistics) and residential programs. Interweaving these programs and exploiting their proximity will reinforce the growing ties between where people work and live in the municipalities around the Meadowlands.

The concept of a resilient district also entails measures to provide emergency amenities allowing critical supplies, data access, energy and waste management to adjacent communities for a 2-3 week period after a disaster. It also includes a careful study of evacuation routes to high ground. Zooming in, the southern edge of the Meadowlands, the west half of Jersey City, Kearny and Secaucus are strategically located for flood control while also carrying the burden of urbanization pressure emanating from Manhattan. Several project processes are already underway along the Hackensack riverfront. Fitting these into a bigger project, and infusing them with resiliency measures, will unlock this strategic location with benefits for the entire region: a resilient district of residential and logistics, built around a large park. This district also contains critical logistics and utility clusters. In this collusion of these pressures, we believe an important project is possible; and today is the moment to build a coalition for its realization.

Our vision includes a gradual conversion of substantial parts of the Meadowlands into a regional landscape infrastructural park that protects the edges from floods and rebuilds biodiversity lost over the past century; absorbs water; and hosts recreational, civic programs. Along the edges, a mix of new residential density and other uses could take advantage of the park as a civic amenity. This scenario will maximize benefits from the close proximity to Manhattan but keep the area attractive and desirable to a mix of audiences.

Download the boards presented by MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN in 2013.

Go to team page


February 9, 2014 10:16 am
from Ron Subramaniam

Great design, vision and effort to take a regional approach to addressing the issues of Meadow-lands In Bergen County. Looking forward to participating in the process.


March 27, 2014 8:15 am
from Mary Kostus

To me it still looks like to many buildings to close to the water.


March 27, 2014 8:43 am
from Frank

The entire maedowlands should not be developed. They should remain as Tidal land and used for research of our ecosystem.

Why not redevelope the exsiting areas that have buildings in disrepair or unsafe for occupancy.

The Meadowlands has been OVER DEVELOPED as is.

Leave it free from Developement and land fill.


March 27, 2014 9:17 am
from Amy Boyle Geisel

Will the what looks like creeks running along the tidal parks be created? Will dredging be necessary? How deep/wide will the buffers/berms along the tidal park be? Will the design hold up to a 100 year storm or what is the anticipated capacity/storm surge that this design will hold? Aesthetically it looks lovely and the science behind it seems sound but how long will it work? Similar projects in Europe are designed for large future events. Is this?


March 27, 2014 11:51 am
from John Popolizio

Notwithstanding reasonable flood prevention and clean up issues, I’m for a natural green zone with limited development in most areas. Re-introducing natural trees and colorful foliage is wise.

A regional flyway fits my needs.


March 28, 2014 12:06 am
from Jackie Wildstein

I believe the Meadow- lands should be left as a natural area, where nature and birds can continue to exist. The old areas of the Meadow-lands that have been developed are in need of repairs and can certainly use a face lift. Must we build on every bit of land that is free? Traffic is unbearable as it is.. Leave the Meadow-lands alone.

March 27, 2014 3:41 pm
from Patricia Hilliard

I’m very interested in improving and increasing wildlife habitat for human enjoyment and observation. The Meadowlands needs help to make up for the destruction done by industry over the decades.
–Patricia Hilliard


March 28, 2014 4:56 pm
from Robert Watrous NJLLA

The proposal seems like a fluff piece designed as cover for more development. The meadowlands are a risky lowland place to build and it’s already been overbuilt with projects that will some day need a Federal bailout. (All puns on bailout are intended.) We should focus development elsewhere and leave the flood prone lands for wildlife habitat. We have lots of brownfields and opportunities for redevelopment on high ground in Newark, Paterson, Camden, and Trenton. All of these lands have great synergistic potential and are a lot closer to any potential labor force, housing, or mass transit.


April 3, 2014 5:10 pm
from Kathy

I 2nd Robert Watrous comments. Make the proposal real; not buzz phrases. Also, look at the sources flowing into the Hackensack and Meadowlands; consult the Dutch; include longterm accountability clauses for the companies that ultimately profit from this project & make them insure with Lloyds of London ( sans the Act of G clause)

April 8, 2014 7:45 pm
from Sally G

Hear, hear! (Read, read?)
I said as much at the Secaucus library, complained about more development that we do not need. (Poor Ariel got an earful on why developing the land is a bad idea all around.)
While politicians salivate at “rateables”, the rest of us know that traffic is already absurd, there is little room for public transportation, and we have lost 85% of our Meadowlands “sponge” over the last century—we need to restore that, not to redevelop what is already overdone. No, we do not need the Sixth Borough of N.Y.C., we do not need more intensive development—and if that is the only way that the federal government will invest, we don’t need their dollars.

March 29, 2014 4:40 pm
from susan gordon

The Meadowlands does not need “a productive city.” It needs the present open space to remain undeveloped and as much of the “upland meadows” created from landfills turned back into tidal marsh. and/or parklands.


March 30, 2014 7:40 pm
from Stacy Makarewicz

I live in a flood prone area. Building and filling up the meadowlands will cause more flooding in the communities surrounding the meadowlands. The meadowlands should remain as tidal land and wild. Focus should be on land that has been developed on previously and is in need of rejuvination. KEEP THE MEADOWLANDS WILD AND OPEN!


March 31, 2014 9:54 am
from Judy A Godwin

I’ve lived in a flood zone for 34 years. Each year the flooding gets worse. The water has nowhere to go now. Developing the Meadowland more will cause more flooding in the surrounding areas. It should be left as Tidal Land. Do not use the Meadowlands for dumping of land fill. Leave it free from any further DEVELOPMENT!!


April 2, 2014 12:06 am
from Iwanka K

The Meadowlands need the Atlantic White Cedars/Cypress to be replanted and reconfigured into a ‘treewall’ of protection with manufactured rooting. What about developing the areas accessibility into a new culture of transportation where only walking, rollerblading, skateboarding, segwaying and hybrid carts can go-go-go. Think nature preserve with ecofriendly programming games to generate revenue i.e.paint ball, segway hide and go seek, disk golf, nightvision bowling and picnicing etc. A Spa might have great potential in the space along with a platinum LEED+ spiritual retreat center for the public where the human lifecycle could be supported in harmony with flora and fauna. If none of those ideas seem worthy then what about smart generation of wind and tidal power for distribution to support the grid.

All these ideas are in hopes of generating some type of revenue for the area in harmony with the environment and a new way of thinking for New Jersey, which could then make the Meadowlands a destination for all.


April 12, 2014 2:34 pm
from Iwanka K

I got to thinking again on energy. What is we harnessed distributed battery power generated by human effort. For example, all bikes could have a battery to collect the energy used to pedal the bike. Then when the bike is returned at the end of the day or sooner contingent on capacity then energy could by transferred into a station to power the needs of the Meadowlands. Ecofriendly maxed.

I also thought about transportation in larger groups, we could look into dirigibles in and out of anywhere in New Jersey or New York or Connecticut or Washington D.C. I think the dirigible transportation might not only be ecofriendly but efficient and worth a pilot project.

Speaking of pilot project, maybe Terre Form could join forces with the Meadowlands Team. You decide Thank you Mitch and Maria!

April 12, 2014 2:37 pm
from Iwanka K

Maria is featured in this

April 2, 2014 7:46 pm
from David Lyon

More construction? First do no harm. Consider the remarkable efforts on the Potomac River to preserve and restore natural areas, adopt land use measures that favor open space over buildings and reduce polution … and is beautiful, our capital’s Central Park.


April 4, 2014 8:01 am
from Helen Manogue

Study and planning by district is critical especially for the Meadowlands area. Apreciate the focus water absorption, recreational/civic programs but wary about new residential density.


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