But this heavily trafficked intersection was chosen to receive a green makeover by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and students from George Westinghouse High School.
Fourteen students from the robotics program designed a “green wall” and a water catchment devise. The students also used old desks and metal shelving units and repurposed them for benches, tables and chairs for the plaza.
“This project helps them to understand their community better,” said Janine Kieran, principal of George Westinghouse High School. “They can feel more connected to the area they come to every day.”
The school’s main focus is on technology, and Kieran said that the repurposing of materials to create infrastructure is something that falls right into the curriculum.
“What’s really nice about this particular project is that they are also growing some herbs, and we’ve opened up a culinary arts lab,” she said. “Now our students in the culinary arts will take trips here, pick from here and use it in the food that they make.”
The students began the project less than six months ago, reseraching the space and designing the green wall.
“We had a number of underutilized public spaces in the neighborhood, and we wanted to think creatively how to re-imagine and reactivate them,” said Tucker Reed, president of the Partnership. “We thought who better to help us do that then the energy of the young people here in our community.”
Members of the Partnership worked with faculty at Westinghouse to create a curriculum for the project. In a few months, the design was approved.
“The students of Westinghouse have been very energetic,” said Reed. “We thought we could use this as not only a way to reactivate this space, but to teach the young people in our community how you would go about doing that.”
On Thursday, August 15, students from George Westinghouse High School and the Partnership put the design into action, creating the green wall and installing the chair and tables.
“I joined up because there is nothing better than when you see green inside a very polluted city,” said student Cesar Gomez, 16. “We want to be able to make the space calm all the time.
Already looking to the future, the Partnership is planning on teaming up with George Westinghouse High School again to create sound barriers at Future Plaza with a recent $25,000 grant it received.
“Once this is done, we want it to be a place where we can relax, a place where people can come sit down and have a conversation, because during rush hour it’s very hard to speak,” said Gomez.