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Spring Brook Environmental Park

This brief report on design opportunities for Spring Brook Park in Bloomfield, NJ is the outcome of a one semester long investigation by three graduate students in landscape architecture at Rutgers, The State University.

This academic design exercise is unusual in several ways, beginning with the significance of the site as a brownfield to greenfield redevelopment. Bloomfield is like test case for urban development, as well as environmental and resiliency issues that present challenges for New Jersey. The former Scientific Glass property is among the very last parcels of land to be available for residential development in a rapidly growing town. As in many New Jersey commuter towns in the vicinity of New York or Philadelphia, that growth has increased pervious coverage, leading to substantial flooding issues. Further, the transformation from a relatively low-density suburban settlement pattern into a higher density urban situation reduced available open space and increased the visitor pressure on remaining parks and recreation facilities. In this situation, the council of Bloomfield made the bold decision to stop residential development of the site which was already under way. The Borough bought the property and designated it for open space use. Not everybody in town agreed with that action, therefore the ongoing design and planning process is somewhat controversial. The substantial cost to acquire the property is causing the community to secure construction funding from outside sources, affecting the project timeline.

In this situation, Rutgers faculty agreed to supervise three landscape architecture graduate students in a semester long independent studies project, investigating design opportunities for the former Scientific Glass property. The report at hand documents the student’s approach to analyzing existing information, details their understanding of spatial context, and explores design opportunities. Outcomes are three individual designs which illustrate opportunities for a future Spring Brook Park. We hope that this academic design exercise may foster a more informed discussion about the future of the site and will help to rationalize the current local discourse.

Project Duration


Rutgers Principal Investigators


NJ Legislative District