2016—present: Park design & neighborhood plan for Southeast Philadelphia commissioned by neighborhood coalition led by SEAMAAC. Goals include forming a broad resident coalition, creating a new design for a 4-acre, 134-year-old park, strengthening nearby businesses, preserving affordable housing, and ensuring current residents have a say in the neighborhood development
Project sponsors: SEAMAAC, Councilman Mark Squilla, Friends of Mifflin Square Park, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative
Project partners: Bhutanese American Organization–Philadelphia, Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, United Communities Southeast Philadelphia
Consultant team: Hector urban design, planning & civic arts with Alexa Bosse & Marc Norman (design & planning), V. Lamar Wilson Associates (civic engagement)
Newark Riverfront Park Segment 2
Following two decades of resident advocacy for access to the Passaic River, the second segment of Newark Riverfront Park includes biking & walking paths, a floating boat dock, bright orange boardwalk made of recycled PVC plastic, and settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise and environmental education.
Client City Of Newark (Mayor Cory A. Booker & the Municipal Council); Essex County (County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. & the Board Of Chosen Freeholders); & The Trust For Public Land (Anthony Cucchi, Erin Daly, Scott Dvorak, Colleen Graves, Carl Haefner, Jane Kim, Donna Kirkland, Simone Mangili, Jennifer Patrick, Leigh Rae, Carrie Sargeant & Tracy Terry)
Landscape Architecture Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture, LLC [Since Renamed Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architects], Nyack, New York (Lee Weintraub, Anderson Demoraem, Gio Diaz & Adra Bubesi)
Urban Design Newark Planning Office (Damon Rich)
Engineering & Environmental Services Hatch Mott Macdonald, Iselin, New Jersey (Joseph Koehler, Jennifer Kohlsaat, Robert Lin, Ellen Moore & Roy Redmond)
General Contractor Tomco Construction, Mount Arlington, New Jersey
Construction Manager Mast Construction Services, Inc., Little Falls, New Jersey
The park manages a steep grade change from the roadway to the tidal river, then` goes beyond the river’s edge with a floating dock inserted among the remains of historic wooden bulkhead.
Site conditions 2009
To register the presence of the park in spite of the steep grade, sixnextra-long wooden piles were installed, today known as the Orange Sticks.
Newark Riverfront Park Signage
The design process for Newark Riverfront Park revealed the additional scope requirement of “making the park tell the stories of the struggles to create the park.” To answer this call, a set of signs grows from the physical armature of the park to introduce the characters and conflicts that create Newark Riverfront Park.
Newark Planning Office & MTWTF in consultation with Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture (Damon Rich, Glen Cummings, Pedro Gonçalves, Marion Bizet, Kate Dewitt, Aliza Dzik, Daniel Köppich, Jiwon Lee, Laura Silke Berg Nielsen, Andrew Shurtz Chris Caceres, Erika Hill, Elizabeth Macwillie, Natalia O’Neill Vega, Alicia Rouault & Sumorwuo Zaza)
At six points on the steel rail along the Orange Boardwalk, which is usually punctured by regular pencil-sized holes to prevent overheating, the rail is water-jet cut with drawings that tell the stories of the park, its people and infrastructure. Visitors to the park can create rubbings of their favorite signs.
Park railings rise up to offer park navigation, rules, and an oversize size showing the entire city in relation to the river. At the front entrance to the park, the railing is cut in the profiles of characters from other signs to introduce the stories that come together on the site.
Plan It Newark!
An exhibition and video for Newark residents curious about how development happens in their neighborhood and city, featuring a scale model showing every block in Newark! In a place whose planning history is marked by sweeping state violence and tenacious grassroots organizing, these projects aim to illuminate the true story of development in Newark and support the ongoing energy of its community-planning traditions. Dedicated to every block in Newark!
The project is a collaboration between the Newark Planning Office and the NJIT College of Architecture and Design with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Project Directors: Damon Rich, Tony Schuman and Jae Shin
Newark Safe Space
“We wanted to learn how to make safe space in Newark for LGBTQ young people. This poster collects what we learned when we talked to experts, studied other cities, and investigated possible solutions for Newark.”
The February 2015 adoption of Newark Zoning & Land Use Regulations (NZLUR, affectionately known as NUZZ–LER)changed the fundamental rules for building in Newark for its over 400,000 residents and workers. Following a decade of advocacy by residents, community-based organizations, and developers for zoning reform, the Newark Planning Office, led by Hector partner Damon Rich, worked for two years under three mayors to design and implement new regulations for a more sustainable, more prosperous, and more democratic city.
The city’s first comprehensive zoning overhaul since the 1950s, NZLUR eliminates out-of-date uses such as leather tanneries and pool halls and addresses current ones including urban agriculture, wind and solar power installations, and large-format retail. To support Newark’s residential neighborhoods and active manufacturers, NZLUR remaps boundaries, redefines zones, and clarifies manufacturing and industrial definitions for potentially noxious uses. To better control stormwater and prevent combined sewer overflows, NZLUR sets a maximum percentage of pavement and impervious land cover.
Replacing previous codes that left design unaddressed, NZLUR uses an innovative combination of Euclidian and form-based codes to establish common-sense standards to leverage Newark’s competitive advantage as a walkable city, including windows, fence heights, and how buildings connect to the street. NZLUR endorses the National Association of Transportation Officials innovative Urban Street Design Guide to improve the quality of the city’s shared spaces.
NZLUR improves the planning process by using graphics, design, and interactive tools to make the code more accessible for development professionals and laypeople, and includes dozens of procedural improvements to the operations of the Planning Board, Zoning Board, and Landmarks & Historic Preservation Commission. For the first time, applicants are asked to post notice about development applications on the site of proposed developments. By fortifying the public planning process, NZLUR produces higher-quality development that better serves the city and increases its value.
The constituency for zoning reform, critical to NZLUR’s adoption, was strengthened by the development and deployment of the Newark Zoning Workshop, a set of interactive educational activities delivered through community-based organizations and other forums. By demystifying the operation and limitations of zoning, more interests were brought into the process. The American Planning Association awarded the Newark Planning Workshop its 2015 National Planning Award for Public Outreach. The American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter awarded NZLUR Outstanding Implemented Plan of 2015.
Newark Planning Office project team: Damon Rich, AICP PP, lead author, Michele Alonso, AICP PP, Perris Straughter, AICP PP with support from Jennifer Lee, Natalia O’Neill Vega, Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC (preliminary coding), and Regional Plan Association (Zenon Tech-Czarny, mapping)
This 2.5-hour workshop offered by the Newark Planning Office introduces Newark’s planning and zoning process: the rules for what you can build and where you can build it. If you’ve ever wondered how decisions are made about what gets built in Newark, this workshop will begin to answer your questions and prepare you to participate in the first comprehensive revision of Newark’s zoning laws in 50 years. The workshop covers 3 main topics through hands-on knowledge-building group activities: + Zoning for Use + Zoning for Design + Development Review Process.