As with every major city, New York creates a huge amount of waste. Disposing of it requires a variety of environmentally damaging processes, such as landfill and transportation. To try and minimize the impact of waste disposal, Present Architecture has proposed a series of composting islands along the city's waterfront.

The Green Loop is a network of ten islands that each comprise a composting hub and public space. A minimum of one island in every borough would ensure parity and minimize the distance that garbage trucks have to travel. The composting facilities would process organic waste and the finished compost would be carried away by trains and barges.

As well as processing waste, the islands would contribute to New York's Vision 2020: Comprehensive Waterfront Plan by improving public access and developing waterfront facilities. In a city that is highly built up, the Green Loop offers the potential for adding 125 acres of green space to the city.

The concept is one of a number developed simultaneously by Present Architecture directors Evan Erlebacher and Andre Guimond. Erlebacher explains that the idea was inspired by New York's pilot program for curbside organics collection and the assumption that every borough would need a composting hub.

"We set out to design something desirable that people would actually want to have in their communities," Erlebacher tells Gizmag. "Green Loop doesn't float, but instead is similar to a pier in construction. New York City has less open space per person than nearly every major city in the country. Adding a number of large, high quality public parks in every borough would benefit everyone."

Erlebacher is aware that the Green Loop is a radical concept and recognizes that there would be major challenges in getting it off the ground, financing in particular. He explains, however, that gaining support from citizens, grassroots community organizations, city and state government agencies is the priority.

"There's no doubt that Green Loop is an ambitious plan, but it's a feasible answer to a real problem," he says. "New York City is already piloting a program for the collection of curbside organics and all of that organic waste will have to go somewhere to be processed."

View gallery - 9 images