Jamaica Bay Great Urban Park

New York, USA

Located on the southern edge of New York City, the Jamaica Bay estuary is home to over 330 species of wildlife. Ownership of this 10,000 park is split between New York City and the National Park Service, and a large number of other organisations are also involved in the conservation of this incredibly biodiverse area. This project saw Buro Happold bring these stakeholders together to develop a conceptual masterplan that will revitalise the park, and create a beautiful new public space for the surrounding communities to enjoy.


In 2011, there was universal recognition of Jamaica Bay’s potential to be revitalised as the next great urban park for New York City, but limited collaboration with regard to land management and provision of services was preventing the development of an improvement strategy. We came on board to align the requirements of the various different stakeholders within one coherent masterplan.

A bird coming in to land on a sandy island in the Jamaica Bay estuary, amongst long grass
Image: Department of the Interior | Don Riepe


Our consultants created a combined New York City and National Parks Service team, and facilitated the agreement of an initial action plan with top line strategies to address restoration, access and transportation, and youth engagement. We also made recommendations as to how joint park management could work, and helped to develop a conceptual masterplan that will see the revitalisation of the parklands for the enjoyment of surrounding communities.

Following a year of planning efforts, in July 2012 a governance agreement was signed by the Mayor of New York and the US Secretary of the Interior. Since then, we have led the effort to establish a permanent non-profit conservancy that will partner with New York City and the National Park Service to plan, develop and programme the new park. We have also helped deliver the new Science and Resilience Institute, which will coordinate the research efforts taking place within Jamaica Bay.

Aerial shot of the Jamaica Bay estuary
Image: Department of the Interior | Don Riepe


By bringing together the diverse stakeholders involved in this project, and bridging their complex array of interests with an insightful and sustainable masterplan, we have been able to secure the conservation of this vital natural resource while also opening it up to the people of New York City.

A child sitting in a bright green kayak on the Jamaica Bay estuary, with two other men in kayaks on the water behind him
Image: Department of the Interior | Don Riepe

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