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June 21, 2016

LaGuardia Community College Students Present Concept for New Urban Green Space in Queens

LaGuardia student Julian Palacio (left, striped shirt) explains the concept for the proposed parklet design to (l to r) LaGuardia Professor Dennis D’Amelio; DDC Chief Architect Margaret Castillo; DDC Executive Director for Design and Construction Excellence Rick Bell; DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships and STEAM Lillian Llambelis; DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora; and LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow.

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

Dan Leibel
Junior Public Information Officer

Long Island City, Queens —A team of design students from LaGuardia Community College presented their concept today for the transformation of a block-long strip of Queens sidewalk into a “parklet” with sustainable green space, seating areas and a kiosk able to accommodate vendors. The space, on 47th Avenue between 30th Place and 30th Streets in Long Island City, sits between New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) headquarters and LaGuardia, adjacent to a public parking lot, and is often used as an impromptu lunch and recreational spot for both staff and students.

The presentation to DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora and LaGuardia President Gail Mellow followed a series of four workshops led by Rick Bell, DDC’s Executive Director of Design and Construction Excellence, and other staff from DDC’s Office of the Chief Architect, where the students studied observation, site analysis, drawing, and model building. The students, who study design under LaGuardia Professor Dennis D’Amelio, received instruction and assistance in 3D printing and model creation was through a public/private partnership with NYDesigns, an economic development program of the City University of New York (CUNY) led by Tristen Bel at LaGuardia Community College that catalyzes growth for small businesses and entrepreneurs in design, fabrication, and technology.

“Given our close proximity to each other and the school’s extensive design and engineering programs, President Mellow and I thought that a collaborative design program between DDC and LaGuardia would be a natural fit,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “DDC is highly experienced at streetscape projects and is working on numerous public plazas right now that emphasize environmentally sustainable design that strengthens neighborhoods. The 47th Avenue site offers the possibility to create a smaller scale project right here in Long Island City that could bring the DDC and LaGuardia communities closer together. Some of the next great ideas in public plaza design can be inspired by these students.”

A close-up view of a 3D model of a “parklet” concept for Long Island City, Queens.

Presently, the block-long site consists of a straight row of trees in a bare dirt strip along a short concrete wall that separates the space from a parking lot. The design proposed by the students features a curved wall with numerous setbacks on an environmentally sustainable base allowing for better management of natural stormwater. The design would add additional trees and seating areas to the site, and includes a kiosk that could accommodate restrooms and add space where a food vendor could operate.

“Working with dedicated and talented students brings a fresh perspective to the design process,” said the DDC’s Rick Bell. “We’re happy to share our expertise in such a way that could be inspirational and instructive to the students while potentially improving the built environment for the busy area where DDC and LaGuardia are located. We look forward to working with LaGuardia again in the future.”

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit