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Design by Committee? Not So Bad If You Live in Jersey City

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The stereotype about avant-garde architects is that they impose their will on a hapless and baffled public. Not so with the recent redesign of a blighted area of New Jersey’s riverfront. The plan was created solely from community input, using focus groups and surveys to determine what exactly they wanted out of a waterside idyll. Only then did landscape architects Starr Whitehouse and nArchitects, get to work. What they produced is a series of green spaces, linked by an “infinity bridge” connecting two major parcels of parkland.

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There are gardens, playgrounds with slides and swings, flowing water, and a dog run, family gathering areas and a pavilion for plays. In short, everything that everyone wanted–and not a whiff of Frankenstein at all, as you’d expect with most publicly designed projects. Creating the park is expected to cost between $25 and $30 million. The Jersey City Waterfront Parks Conservancy, founded in 2007, has been raising money from the community as well as private donors in the area.

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[Jersey City Waterfront Parks Conservancy via Bustler

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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