From Parking Lot to Sustainable Park

April 5, 2022

Permeable pavers helped Hoboken Southwest Park integrate an urban public space with storm protection.

Hoboken, N.J.
Starr Whitehouse

As part of an extensive resiliency plan to mitigate flooding in a Hoboken, N.J., neighborhood, the team at Starr Whitehouse had to design a space that would transform a one-acre parking lot into a one-of-a-kind park.


The selection of products and systems was influenced by the end goal of creating a vibrant and livable space, while meeting the city’s demand for sustainability. The design needed to integrate green infrastructure, capable of managing large quantities of water from intense rainstorms.


Hoboken Southwest Park employs three coordinated systems to reduce the negative effects of stormwater runoff: rain gardens, bioswales and permeable pavers. Two large rain gardens, as well as a grassy lawn, soak up water and filter it through the sandy soils and plants, removing pollutants. Vegetated bioswales channel water from adjacent streets and sidewalks. Finally, Unilock permeable pavers offer the space the hardscape solution necessary in this urban public space, that manages runoff like a landscape.

Here’s how it works. A permeable pavement system is a configuration of paving stones that feature a void space between individual pavers. This surface of paving stones and void space sits on top of a bed of open-graded aggregate base material that serves as a holding area for stormwater until absorbed by the subsoil below. 

Unilock’s Eco-Promenade pavers redirect rainwater back into the subbase and detention system through the open-graded joint material while keeping it away from sewer systems. Beyond eliminating surface runoff and replenishing groundwater, permeable paver systems help to clean the water that passes through them, removing harmful pollutants. It is so adept at cleaning the water, in fact, that permeable paving is recognized by the EPA as a best management practice (BMP) for non-point source pollutants.

In Hoboken, the herringbone paving pattern was achieved with the plank shape paver, while the color selected plays on the building hues in the neighborhood. Exposed granite and quartz aggregates integrated throughout its surface create a striking visual effect with speckles of color and sparkle. This effect is enhanced the longer the product is exposed to outdoor elements.


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