The Meadowlands, New Jersey

Winning Project

MIT CAU + ZUS + URBANISTEN with Deltares; 75B; and Volker Infra Design

Integrating transportation, ecology, and development, the project transforms the Meadowlands basin to address a wide spectrum of risks while providing civic amenities and creating opportunities for new redevelopment.

The Meadowpark is a large natural reserve made accessible to the public will offer flood protection. It connects and expands marshland restoration efforts by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, and makes them accessible. Around and across the Meadowpark the team proposes an intricate system of berms and marshes. These protect against ocean surges, and collect rainfall, reducing sewer overflows in adjacent towns. The Meadowpark adds value to surrounding development through its views and recreational offerings.

The Meadowband defines the edge of the Meadowpark, offering flood protection, connections between towns and wetland, and opportunities for towns to grow. The Meadowband consists of a street, Bus Rapid Transit line, and a series of public spaces, recreation zones, and access points to Meadowpark. The Meadowband brings together different systems (such as transport, ecology, and development) and different scales (from local to regional), as well as local residents and visitors from further afield who will gather at this new civic amenity.

The park and the band protect existing development areas. In order to be worthy of federal investment, it is imperative to use land more intensively. We propose shifting land-use zoning from suburban (single story, freestanding, open-space parking around structure) to more urban. Single-story warehouse zones should be up-zoned to become multi-story; areas around the Meadow­band would be zoned to include multi-sto­ry residential opportunities. These decisions over time will enhance the brand and identity of the basin, increase up the value of the land, and the ratable tax returns for the towns concerned.

Within the larger framework of New Meadowlands, we have identified three pilot areas to host the first projects. The northern edge includes sections of Little Ferry, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Teterboro, and South Hackensack. The eastern edge shown here contains Secaucus and a portion of Jersey City. Finally, the southern tip consists of South Kearny and the western waterfront of Jersey City.

Download a PDF of the team’s final competition boards here.

View a PDF of the team’s full proposal here.