Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City
The Fall 2009 Environmental Planning Lecture
So right up front we have to acknowledge that today's talk brings with it some extra attention. The Mannahata Project has a highly visible website with data as well as plenty of attention from the NY Times and WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. Rutgers alum Kate John-Alder recently wrote a review in the Architect's Newspaper. If you want depth, you should start with Kate's review. This is just a LiveBlog...
MuirWeb and Mannahatta - making the invisible, visible
Mannahatta, the isle of many hills
It all started with a map found
His work at the World Conservation Society (Bronx Zoo) led him to this map that went back before the usual early histories
. . . . Father Duffy
NYC was the first megacity - Now there are 18, soon there'll be 27
1782 or 1783
Fort Kniphausen - Fort Washington
What if we could take the streets off and go further back in time.
Sanderson's team made an historic DEM, added spotty data, and ran a human habitat model
. . the best places were around Collect Pond, near Chinatown and City Hall
. . . similarly they could look for Lenape field where they might have grown the three sisters - corn, beans, and squash
. . . they could model the 55 different ecosystem types that came up as most likely - he thinks of these as being the neighborhoods for plants and animals - more than Yellowstone has on a per acre basis
Sorry, no PowerPoint comas today. This was an ArcGIS dependent presentation.
He enjoys looking for similar landscapes to the original places
- Hempstead Plains Grassland
- Coastal Appalachian Oak-Pine Forest
- Rocky Headwater Stream
- High and Low Salt Marsh
Animals were plentiful
- Beavers were probably o all 66 miles of streams
- Heath hens
- Deer and maybe elk
- Black bear
- Reproductive resources
It features a density of relationships that make it robust, dynamic and resilience
The MuirWebs are named for John Muir (a real shaper) who said:
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
With Markley Boyer he then illustrated the best estimation of how it looked.
The old and new are both pretty special. Can it last for another 400 years?
As his epilogue, he points out how humans need more than Food, Water, Shelter, Reproductive resources, we also need Meaning. But have we spent so much time worrying about Meaning that we have neglected the others?
What if we brought back the streetcars and added greenroofs? Can we think regionally again?
The #1 agricultural county in the US used to be Queens. Can it come back?
What would it look like then?
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