2014 National Planning Excellence Awards: Urban Design

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn, New York

The Brooklyn Bridge Park transformed 1.3 miles of Brooklyn's formerly inaccessible East River waterfront into a scenic, multi-use space. Once isolated from the community by the elevated Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Brooklyn Bridge Park has successfully integrated the Brooklyn waterfront into the fabric of the neighborhood by creating urban nodes at the park's main entrances and improving access with a new pedestrian bridge. The park was planned with several goals guiding its development, including returning the waterfront edge to the public; creating a multi-use civic space; and connecting with the adjacent neighborhoods.

To date, more than 38 acres have been built. Once fully complete, the Brooklyn Bridge Park will span 85 acres along the East River waterfront. The park has had a transformative impact on the community. Five completed piers, a restored historic carousel, boat ramps, pebble beaches, fishing stations, a salt marsh, playground, sports fields, and educational programs attract thousands of visitors on any given day.

One of the park's major goals is to reconnect New Yorkers with their waterfront. The park's free kayaking program is just one of the many ways Brooklyn Bridge Park engages the community with the river. Photo by: Julienne Schaer.