El Jardín del Paraíso
El Jardín del Paraíso - Stormwater Capture Park
Since 2002, the Gaia Institute has been working with dedicated community members from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to redesign a local community garden. The board members of El Jardín del Paraíso resolved to incorporate stormwater from nearby rooftops and gray water from adjacent buildings into a novel garden design.
To nullify potentially high lead concentrations in this urban soil, the Gaia Institute used compost rich in phosphorus, iron, and manganese, which binds lead and makes it unavailable to plants and animals alike. This rich soil also increases root growth and the activity of burrowing worms and insects, which together make and keep the soil porous, so that stormwater is captured and held in the soil and stored in the water table below.
By using composted organics together with stormwater and grey water, all of which are considered to be waste products, soil buffers and wetlands can be created that will purify the water while sustaining native plant communities through irrigation of the garden. The aim of this design approach is to provide a model for the sustainable future of this city. As this ecological restoration also mitigates lead in the soil, it provides an encouraging example of how to protect human health by creating and restoring a biologically diverse natural fabric in the center of the urban landscape.
(Image: Details on layering for biogeochemical abatement of lead conatminated soils)
(Photo: Delivery of 40 cubic yards of composted NYC Biosolids, compost contains ~ 0.1 -1% Fe, P, and Mn)
(Photo: Drainage layer of sand included in layering)
(Photo: Preparing the pond with final grading to increase sinuosity and microhabitat)
(Image: A design drawing for the El Jardín del Paraíso Stormwater Capture Park)
The Gaia Institute - 440 City Island Avenue - Bronx, NY 10464