daylighting tibbetts brook

Cooper Union Stock Photo

Located just North of New York City, Tibbetts Brook is an ideal location for creating a new blue-belt system similar to the model developed in Staten Island beginning in the 1980s to day-light streams. Tibbetts Brook currently collects the water of its 850 acres into underground sewer pipes, creating a tremendous load on the city’s combined sewer system. An opportunity exists to reestablish a more naturally functioning ecosystem by restoring the stream at grade, a practice commonly known as daylighting. The Institute for Sustainable Design at Cooper Union seeks to assist the DPR and the DEP by providing an assessment and visioning project that explores ideas, precedents, techniques, management & stewardship structures for the project.

On what is now the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Bloomberg & Cuomo Administrations are faced with the pressing issue of compliance with this important legislation dedicated to restoring health to our streams, rivers and harbor. With PlaNYC and the new Green Infrastructure Plan, the City is taking direct action to help ameliorate ongoing pollution as well as to heal prior environmental wounds. It is a challenge to undertake these initiatives because of the cross agency, cross-disciplinary and thus cross territorial nature of certain problems, which require a coordinating body. The Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design is uniquely well positioned to play this coordinating role, and is seeking to assist the city in developing a water management system in which New York’s economic development, its near shore habitat and upland waterways all thrive in tandem. Restoration of this site has the potential to improve citywide storm-water management, rehabilitate at-risk natural systems and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.