Hoboken Southwest Park

Hoboken, NJ

In a flood-prone corner of Hoboken, Starr Whitehouse led an interdisciplinary team of engineers, designers, and cost estimators to craft a resilient core of stormwater detention systems tucked into a community-designed urban park. Developed with residents in an intensive series of design workshops, the park’s interlocking social spaces enliven this former industrial neighborhood, enhancing... Continue Reading

In a flood-prone corner of Hoboken, Starr Whitehouse led an interdisciplinary team of engineers, designers, and cost estimators to craft a resilient core of stormwater detention systems tucked into a community-designed urban park. Developed with residents in an intensive series of design workshops, the park’s interlocking social spaces enliven this former industrial neighborhood, enhancing the community that it defends. Densely planted rain gardens crossed by wood deck paths frame the park’s interior. A granite amphitheater accommodates scheduled and impromptu gatherings, stepping up to a grassy knoll ideal for soaking up the sun. A sculpted dog run creates a social node, while a perimeter pedestrian mall supports outdoor markets and food trucks. To capture stormwater, Southwest Park employs three coordinated systems: open-jointed pavers supported by tough, hollow tree cells infiltrate rainwater in paved areas of the park interior, filtering it through a gravel bed before it percolates into the soil; in unpaved areas of the park, water is soaked up by the grassy lawn or one of two large rain gardens, passing through sandy soils and native plants to filter out pollutants; finally, water from adjacent streets and sidewalks is channeled through vegetated bioswales in the public right of way, filtering through hardy plants and sandy soil that can withstand tough urban conditions. During heavy storms, excess runoff is directed to three below ground detention basins. From here, an automated sensor allows controlled outflow into the combined sewer. All together, the park is capable of detaining up to 190,000 gallons, a volume far beyond the ten-year storm it was designed for.