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VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Our Native Urban Ecology David Mazer

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Volunteer Plants: Our Native Urban Ecology A thesis presentation in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Landscape Architecture in the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island. by David Mazer, 2013 Approved by Master’s Examination Committee:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Scheri Fultineer, Department Head and Thesis Chair, Department of Landscape Architecture ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Colgate Searle, Professor and Primary Thesis Advisor, Department of Landscape Architecture ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Nadine Gerdts, Senior Critic and Secondary Thesis Advisor, Department of Landscape Architecture ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Charles Cannon, Associate Professor and Secondary Thesis Advisor, Department of Industrial Design

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Copyright Š 2013 by David Mazer All Rights Resevered. Printed in the Uited States of America

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An overgrown lot in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn 6

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CONTENTS 17

Statement

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Existing Conditions

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Abstract

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Existing Flora

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Introduction

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Plant Palette

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Investigations

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Planting Strategy

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Precedents

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Site Design

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Site Location

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Site Section

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Site History

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Site Plan

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Site Morphology

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Site Perspectives

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Site Soil, Access and Neighborhood

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Conclusion

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Site Tidal Conditions

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Bibliography

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Existing Sections

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Acknowledgements

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ADD ADDITIONAL PLANT I

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IMAGES

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Michigan Central Station in Detroit photographed by Yves Marchan and Romain Meffre 16


Statement Plants that volunteer themselves within our hostile urban conditions are the only true native flora to our cities, a readily available resource and an opportunity we cannot afford to waste. These plants are that we call weeds are all too slowly gaining acceptance in our landscape. My thesis is an investigation, exploration and demonstration of their immense benefits and resiliencies within an industrial site located in Brooklyn.

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Abstract Throughout history in the Northeast region of America and beyond we have made poor design decisions when planning our cities. Most of our parks and contemporary landscapes are high maintenance. Our urban landscapes drain city resources with the use of complex plantings, meant to create illusions of native and natural occurring landscape. In our current economic climate we should be approaching urban design with plants that are resilient, low maintenance and effectively serve our current urban needs. Plants that volunteer themselves within our cities effectively control erosion, and mitigate pollutants from both air and soil. They are far better suited for our constantly disturbed urban environments than many native species. Over millennia these plants have evolved to meet our demanding urban conditions, in which they now thrive and do so with far less effort, at little to no expense, while providing many critical benefits. This thesis assumes that currently with our city’s severely strained economies, we stand to benefit substantially by freeing up the costs associated with maintaining our current green spaces. This thesis proposes to strategically implement and frame v plants, commonly considered to as weeds, in a space to engage the public, bring awareness to their essential benefits and raise their status.

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Albert Bierstadt In the Mountains 20

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Introduction Native Americans of both North and South America radically altered the landscape of both continents long before Columbus arrived. Through agriculture, hunting and city building, cultures such as the Indians of the great plans and the vast and impressive civilization of the Inka, manipulated landscapes on a vast scale to serve their population. Columbus and early European settlers further transformed the landscape, with plants and seeds unintentionally carried by ship ballast or by deliberately transplanting their own homeland vegetation. When we talk about native verses nonnative plants, how far back are we going? Are we talking about before the 17th century, before Columbus or even further before the arrival of humans? Many species that long ago naturalized themselves to North America have been assumed to be long native. Regardless of what was here first, the current conditions of our cities dictate that we reconsider what we plant and at what expense to our budget as well as our urban ecology. These conditions to a large extent date back thousands of years, as does the evolution of the plants that have positioned themselves to thrive under harsh urban conditions. Rather than exploit these marginalized plants to our benefit, we view them as something to be eradicated. Mutual to both the plant species that thrive in our harsh urban conditions, as well as our urban populations, we stand to gain so much in a unified coexistence. Volunteer plant species are a loaded topic in landscape architecture, met both by hostile opposition and critical support. Weeds, invasive species, terrestrial and alien species are all terms and labels with negative associations

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Inka landforms Inka Landforms 22

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The First Voyage, by L. Prang & Co 24

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for plants that are unsightly, undesired, inconvenient and at times destructive. These successful and opportunistic plants are and have been introduced for the most part by us, both accidentally and intentionally. They are spread via seed or rhizomes, in any number of ways: by birds, insects, wind, natural water systems, transported soils or landfill, as well as vehicular, rail and ship traffic. They can be beneficial for regulating air quality, pollution and erosion control, where other more ‘native’ species cannot survive, they “are among the toughest [plants] on the planet” (Del Tredici, p.10). Michael Van Valkenburg uses plants considered invasive, such as the Staghorn Sumac, as well as other landscape architects on some high profile projects such as the High Line in New York, but these landscapes are the exceptions rather than the norm for urban landscape design. More often than not we seem to need a financial incentive to change our way of think or to break the trend that so many generations before us clung to. At the moment we have hundreds of plant species able to take advantage of demanding urban conditions, while we repeatedly refused to accept them as an unexplored opportunity and resource. There is so much rhetoric about going green and sustainable within our urban practices. It is in our best interest to be looking towards new solutions. A better approach could include installing low maintenance brown roofs instead of green roofs, parks and the design of green spaces that only require minimal maintenance, labor, cost and effort.

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Chinese paint of a Sparrow, artist unknown 26

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The cities of our country cannot return to the landscapes conditions which existed before the Europeans arrived. But we can now reassess how these highly adaptive plants could better serve our current needs, under conditions that we’ve been creating across the globe for thousands of years. In these uncertain and harsh economic times when most cities cannot afford to maintain a classical or even contemporary landscape of the past and present, we are not taking advantage of this opportunity. Rather than exploit these plants for everyone’s benefit, we try to eradicate them with great effort and expense. We cannot continue to plan our Northeast cities in the way we have, with our highly manicured landscape that are ill suited to survive our urban conditions and are beyond our means to maintain. What is the best approach in a design strategy to implement volunteer plants into our urban landscape? How do we go about changing the public perception of these plants as ‘weeds’ or ‘invasive’ and have them gain public acceptance? How can the use of plants that thrive in hostile urban conditions, often in disturbed or poor quality soil conditions, be used to our benefit?

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INVESTINGATIONS - INDOORS VS. OUTDOORS

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Indoors vs.Outdoors In this experiment I brought in four specimens of Ailanthus altissima, known as the Tree-of-Heaven, from a neighbor’s property. I set up daylight balanced lighting and watered them on a somewhat regular basis. At first they just survived but hardly grew in the first weeks. After over two months, one has survived but has not grown, this plant along with three others were placed in a store bought, highly nutrient soil. Interestingly, the plant that thrived was planted in urban soil form the site. I had anticipated that this one would not have fared as well as those planted in a nutrient rich soil. I knew from the onset of this experiment that these plants do well without any intervention in a range of harsh urban conditions, I had assumed that given a higher quality conditions and soil that those would fare better. After several week observations this was not the case. The urban soil dried out quickly, which I made no effort to compensate for, yet this plant thrived and out-grow the other plants, by more than a small margin.

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INVESTINGATIONS - URBAN VOLUNTEERS

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Middle and Eastern Edge off Camp St. - Forest and Meadow conditions


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INVESTINGATIONS - URBAN VOLUNTEERS

Middle and Eastern Edge off Camp St. - Forest and Meadow conditions Urban Wild Volunteers This investigation involved documenting plants on several sites, with different degrees of disturbance and of varying scale. Each type of plant was photographed and then all the sites where compared to analyze what appeared at more than one site. The First site at the Martin Luther King Elementary School had been left undisturbed, with the exception of a pathway and private garden by a neighboring resident. Here the focus was on all accessible edges as well as the interior. This is followed by a residential planting bed, a recently disturbed site located on South Main Street and a typical East Side tree pit. Although no singular plant was found on all of the sites, the most common was Ailanthus altissima commonly known as the Tree-ofHeaven.

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Middle and Western Edge


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INVESTINGATIONS - URBAN VOLUNTEERS

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South Main Street site


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INVESTINGATIONS

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Meeting Street at Congdon - south facing residential site


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PRECEDENTS

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord 40


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PRECEDENTS

fieldoperations.net 42


The High Line James Cornor - Field Operations, Piet Ouldolf and Diller Scofidio + Renfro New York City The New York Railroad known as the West Side line which became the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District and will eventually end at 34th Street. Back in the mid-19th century the railroad that ran along 10th Avenue had fatalities that where so frequent it was known as “Death Avenue”. It was not until 1929 that the New York Railroad was able to being the elevated line which runs 13 miles and consisting of 32 acres. Opened in 1934 in ran through the middle of blocks rather than directly over 10th Avenue. Trains carried manufacturing goods and produce, but only a couple decades later used dropped off due to the trucking industries that heavy increased with the development of highway, the last train ran in 1980. Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the West Side, formed Friends of the High Line as they rallied support for preservation and public reuse of the abandoned railroad in 1999. Their vision was to transform the line that had fallen into disrepair, into a park or greenway for pedestrian use. With support growing, the City of New York set aside 50 million dollars to assist in establishing the park and in 2006 construction began.

The success and praise awarded to the High Line has opened the dialog for other boroughs and cities to follow. Queens is considering the same approach to another abandoned set of tracks of the Long Island Rail Road that has fallen into disuse. More landscape designs are likely to take their cue from adaptive reuse along with highly adaptive planting strategy in an urban context. This is an important step in realizing the potential of discarded or abandoned site and in taking a non-traditional landscape approach to the planting and design. The High Line uses pioneer plants in a highly effective and experiential way, attracting crowds every day of the week –to the point where you have sensation of leaving a stadium after a big event as you scuffle along at a turtles pace. It not only attracts tourists in large numbers, but New Yorkers as well.

James Corner’s landscape firm Field Operations, architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfo and garden designer Piet Ouldolf all worked together to create the High Line. The Park offers a unique elevated crossing down the Westside of Manhattan, unlike any existing park in the city. The plants that had volunteered themselves and thrived over the decades of abandonment make up 210 of the same plant species intentionally implemented by Ouldolf. The tracks and shape of the High Line turn in different directions towards the East and West, while providing areas for sitting, lounging, with moments of lawn and water. The High Line is maintained by both Friends of the High Line and the New York City Parks department. The project has set a new precedent in its adaptive re-use and unconventional planting palette, the first of its kind in New York. It has also help to develop luxury real estate in Chelsea, leading to fortune for developers and a great misfortune to those who have been dislocated with higher demands in rent.

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Versailles - Paris, France André Le Nôtre, Louis Le Vau + Charles Le Brun When one of the classic laws of power was broken, an unforeseen end result would be Versailles. Landscape architect Andre Le Notre’s services were employed by Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finances, Nicolas Fouquet, along with the architect Louis Le Vau and the painter Charles Le Brun to create Vaux-le-Vicome, a vast landscape with a series of impressive gardens in 1657. Four years later when the grounds were completed Fouquet through a lavish party that left the king feeling out shinned and Fouquet was jailed for embezzlement. Louis the XIV then employed the trio to create Versailles. Le Notre was masterful in conceiving his cultivated landscape which had been conceived of as a display of wealth and power in an unapologetic triumph over nature, on a massive scale. Le Notre was well schooled in geometry, perspective and optics and also employed principles of architecture in his use and treatment of plants. He worked in collaboration with Le Vau and Le Bron, borrowing from formalities found in Italian gardens. The Chateau of Versailles had been a hunting lodge that was expanded into the Palace and vast landscape of gardens, pools, fountains and sculptures of bronze and marble, spread out over 1,976 acres. Louis the XIV is represented in sculptures throughout the gardens as Apollo, shrouded in symbolism, myth and even warning to visitors of his time. The gardens are made up of gridded geometry divided by axes and cross axes, canals, over various levels, areas set aside to accommodate outdoor theaters and floral arrangements that were replaced every season. In order to maintain the 3,465 foot canal and 1,400 additional waterworks, the grounds employed a crew of plumbers, but without enough water to run all the fountains at once, so “Boys were commanded to serve as runners when a king or other important visitors toured the gardens, blowing whistles to alert plumbers to turn on the values as the royal entourage approached.” (Rogers p.177).

tural approach based on works of garden designer Jacques Boyceau, as well as architect and engineer Jacques Lemercier, creating a work that Rogers states gave gardens “a new clarity, simplicity, austerity, and refinement. Le Notre’s legacy lies within his treatment of space as abstract, geometrical entity, his understanding of spatial optics, and his expansion of landscape design to a monumental scale.” (p.178) Andre Le Notre challenged approaches of his time and had his hybrid approach adopted throughout the globe, creating a new type of standard. On the other hand Versailles displays a stunning example of ‘worst’ landscape practice. The grounds are an extremely high maintenance landscape. Located just outside of Paris, this project was never meant to be practical. To some degree, usually at a smaller scale, this is still our approach to parks and public spaces. Louis the XIV had vast resources to draw from and choice to have a landscape that would make a statement about power and money. Working with ecologies or having a productive landscape, were not part of the equation. Versailles is so vast in scale that it could have had many benefits for the ecology or at least been more accessible to the general public, but instead it is an elitist approach to landscape that is based on vanity. The public of the 17th Century were likely impressed with the Versailles, it still receives over three million visitors annually. The resources it demanded during construction as well as the ongoing maintenance it requires is staggering. In 2003 the French government pledged 135 million euros or about 182 million in U.S. dollars over seventeen years.

Versailles would eventually inspire thousands of landscapes and reference for gardens, parks and even city plans both throughout Europe and eventually the rest of the world (Rogers p.175). The plan of Versailles even inspired Peirre Charles L’Enfant in his master plan for Washington D.C. Over twenty years in making it was treated as a public works project, employing military and civilian works to change the topography on a vast scale, leveling hills turning marshes into canals. Le Notre broke away from the confines of the renaissance garden and used an architec45


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Brooklyn Bridge Park - Brooklyn, New York Michal Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. During New York City’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s and 80s, the city’s waterfront properties began to open up for development. These projects consisted of Battery City Park, the Westside Highway and redevelopment of the piers alone Manhattan’s Westside. The previously industrialized waterfronts of Brooklyn are currently following this trend with the addition of Brooklyn Bridge Park imbedded with in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo. Most of the piers contained warehouses; all except one were removed to accommodate the park which has been completed in phases, scheduled for completion in 2015. Some of the materials have been salvaged from the site, as well as other sites around New York. Brooklyn Bridge Park spans 1.3 miles, is made up of 85 acres and will cost $16 million dollars to run on an annual basis. It will be the first time that two of the piers, out of six, will be accessible in 60 years.

The way the High Line implements the use of plants that are non-traditional, Brooklyn Bridge Park seems to have lost an opportunity to have explore wetland plantings and other strategies that could have had a more positive impact. Still, this is one model for a sustaining a park and raising the necessary funds that could prove to be successful. Van Valkenburgh uses an adventurous plant palette and is not afraid to use plants that others shy away from. In the future we must adopt more resilient and urban adaptive planting strategies on a city wide scale. Landscape projects like Duisburg-Nord, the High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park are likely to become the norm rather than the exception. At the moment this is a much needed park that does engage the public with the water and is a step forward towards a new definition of a urban park.

Van Valkenburgh was inspired by a Robert Smithson essay on Central Park and how the civic and pastoral landscapes interweaver. The piers will consist of soccer and football fields, volleyball courts, handball and basketball courts, lawn areas, playgrounds, a pebble beach, an outdoor event space, pathways and constructed wetlands along some of the waterside edges. Van Valkenburgh envisioned the water’s edges and conditions as an opportunity to connect the general public to weather, the registration of tides, wetlands and the services they provide. Boat rentals will further activate this connection to the water. The plan for financing the project is expected to be generated by two large blocks of luxury apartment buildings, and a hotel at either end, for the maintenance of the park, which “…designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, is an attempt to come to terms with the best and worst of our era: on the one hand, concern for the environment and an appreciation for the beauty of urban life and infrastructure; on the other, the relentless encroachment of private interests on the public realm.” states Nicolai Ouroussouff of the New York Times. This is one model for a sustaining a park and raising the necessary funds that could prove to be successful. From Van Valkenburgh perspective “Post-industrial natures” are “unabashedly man made environments to kick start new site ecologies that can thrive in a heavy-use urban setting” (Topos p.93), which acknowledges that fact that urban parks have very different considerations than other environments. These kick start ecologies, even if they’re a token effort a definitely moving in the right direction, but it could be pushed further. 47


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Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord - Duisburg, Germany Latz + Partners

Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord was put in motion after Peter Latz won a completion for the site in the early 90s in his attempt to forge a connection to the past without sterilizing it. Latz’s design addresses the growing problem of Europe’s post-industrial wastelands. Located in the Ruhr District of western Germany, it became a post-industrial bioremediation project with on-site recycling in an attempt to reverse as much ecological damage as possible while providing a much need multipurpose community park. Surrounded by lower-middle class and working class, the site, previously a coal and steel factory was abandoned in the mid-80s by the Thyssen family. The park “forged a connection between areas overgrown with weeds and the ironworks’ industrial buildings.” and has become “One of the region’s most popular attractions” according to Latz + Partners. Places magazine states that it is “A milestone in landscape design, it epitomizes an innovative approach to the urban cultural landscape, one characterized by acceptance of its industrial heritage and dramatically altered natural conditions.” (Stilgenbauer p.6). Much like the Field Operations’ High Line, it celebrates the volunteer plant species that have inhabited the harsh conditions of the site. Duisburg-Nord is about 570 acres in size and designed as a “multi-function park” where buildings have been repurposed to hold cultural and corporate events and is open 24 hours, every day and with free admission. Most of the structures on site where reused and with programs including: footpaths, footbridges, bike trails promenades , rock gardens, expenses of water, a viewing tower, play areas, a multi-colored light installation, community theater, meadows, a small woodland area, alpine climbing gardens along with climbing walls, high ropes course and large diving center. The park caters to the local community, regional visitors, as well as tourists, receiving 500,000 visitors annually. The design was developed in phases over 13 years and reached completion in 2002. In1996 Latz had visions of,” marketing the site as something other than simply abandoned, while trying to maintain its sense of ‘natural’ wilderness” (Beard p.35). There are highly cultivated gardens within the site which is “largely [a] self-determining wilderness” (Beard p.35). At least 200 species of foreign plants form America and South Africa were unintentionally imported and mixed with ore and other minerals that existed on the site. Latz approach from the beginning was to celebrate these volunteer species rather than eradicate them. He even added fields of crushed stone to encour-

age the growth of these plants, believing they would eventually improve soil conditions over time and allow for additional plants to populate the park as well. The vision of Peter Latz with Duisburg-Nord and other projects is highly aligned with my own vision regarding pioneer plants: “In contrast to these highly designed interventions, other large areas of Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord were treated in ways primarily intended to reduce maintenance cost and keep energy inputs low. Disturbed soils on site often have high concentrations of slag, cinder, and the remains of coal or coke. Such extreme biological conditions have resulted in ‘natural’ vegetation growth that reflects the site’s industrial history. Moreover, over the years, seeds from all over the world were introduced along with industrial shipments, leading to a great present variety and mix of native and exotic species-as many as 450 neophytes. These plants now appear at many early stages of natural succession.” - Stilgenbauer p.9 Lazt realized the potential of these plants, especially how well suited they were for the site. The plants that thrive at Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord would not succeed as well in area that retains more native plants. Although they prosper under the extreme conditions of the site, native plants of the region do not seem to be overtaken by these volunteers, just as native plants are not suited for disturbed conditions. Even after all the years that have passed since the early stages of Duisburg-Nord, we advance at a snail’s pace in rethinking our plant palette in urban conditions. We cannot afford to wait for additional works to lead as examples moving forward; rather we must be quicker to change our perspective and acceptance of plants we consider weeds. The success of Duisburg-Nord on a large scale sets a precedent that we have been slow to adopt in this country. It is my expectation that this practice will gain not only momentum in the foreseeable future, but that hundreds of plants that we condemn will be seen as beneficial and appealing.

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Central Park - New York City Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux

Before the creation of Central Park there was very little greenspace within New York City. The Battery, a historic waterfront promenade at the base of Manhattan was one example; along with Jones’s Wood, 160 acre picnic area alongside the East River between 66th and 75th streets and Green-Wood Cemetery. Residential squares in New York City that existed were mostly off limits to those who didn’t hold adjacent properties, while major cities in England, France and Germany all had parks that were open to the public. The understanding that the city needed a large scale park was a concept that was widely accepted, especially since many property owners stood to gain financially from the park, including the mayor of the city. Fredrick Law Olmsted first took the position of Superintendent of Clearing Operations for the park, eventually partnering with the architect Calvert Vaux, for the park design competition. Olmsted was a practical choice for his knowledge of the grounds and the fact that he was published and held influence. Approaching their design with formal as well as pastoral and picturesque qualities Vaux and Olmsted submitted as the Greensward Plan. Olmsted believed that a large city park would help civilize the city’s population, be good for everyone’s health and even erase the division between rich and poor within the park. Central Park was designed for scenic strolls rather than recreational sports which was not yet popular among the general public in America. It was intended to have a therapeutic effect on the city population and give a much need break from the towering monotony of the city blocks.

wilderness. Along with a promenade and other formal features, he wanted the park to feel natural rather than the highly constructed and engineered landscape that it actually is. Over time this exactly the effect that it has on New Yorkers and visitors. The park was a monumental success launching Olmsted as an influential force in landscape architect. But over several decades with rising crime, depleting city resources depleting and a significant percent of the population moving to the suburbs, the park fell into decline. It had a renaissance a couple decades later in the mid-eighties with the creation of the Central Park Conservatory who still take charge of maintaining the park and its daily operations. To this day The New York City Parks and Recreation department can’t afford to maintain the Central Park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and a number of larger scale parks which are run by different conservatories. Olmsted was extremely forward thinking for his time and I image if he lived during our time, he would undoubtedly have a different approach to landscape.

Olmsted “was a horticulturist who valued plant display for its own sake.” (Rogers p.339) steered away from making the park gardenesque in style, feeling it would detract from the overall purpose and functionality. Olmsted was well travelled, had been a writer, worked as a surveyor and gentlemen farmer, but “never presented himself as having botanical expertise, preferring plants arrange for their overall artistic effect to those presented as individual scientific specimens.” (Rogers p.339). His vision was for the park to been seen as a whole, instead of fragmented displays of single plants in a formal array. Olmsted was truely ahead of his time in America, envisioning fluid landscapes that offered sequences of views, often unexpected and expansive. He brought rural landscapes to the city where many residents didn’t have access to the country or exposure to the 51


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CMG Landscape Architects

CMG Landscape Architects

Pacific Commons CMG Landscape Architects Fremont, California

Crack Garden CMG Landscape Architects Fremont, California

In this project they use wetland plantings to treat storm water. I would also prefer to design a landscape that not only makes a point of using practical plantings, but performs tasks such as erosion control or cleans water, or both depending on the site.

The takeover of an urban backyard, created by imposing a series of jackhammer “cracks� into a concrete slab. Inspired by the tenacious plants that pioneer the tiny cracks of the urban landscape, the formal rows of the garden create order in the random and mixed planting of herbs, vegetables, strange flowers, and rogue weeds. The project is an exploration of the latent identity of place and the clarity of an intervention; an act of removal exposed the soil beneath and potential for a new garden to emerge. Created in 1999 by a group of neighbors, the Crack Garden was a precursor to the current trend of tactical interventions.*

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npr.com

npr.com

From Weed To Whimsy: Chefs Conquer Wild Foods With Butter And Oil Eliza Barclay, NPR

Taming Those Wild: Stinging Backyard Greens Into Dinner Larkin Page-Jacobs, NPR

From NPR, “In another era, this plate of Spanish mackerel topped with wild tamarack, basswood leaves, garlic mustard, fiddlehead ferns, and knotweed might seem cheap. Not anymore.” Chefs Leif Hedendal and Mark Andrew Gravel received this toothwort root and knotweed in the mail from New England forager Evan Strusinski.**

But Lizarando says she likes that element of danger when she’s on a hunt for wild spring ingredients for pesto. And those weeds plaguing many backyards and parks — like dandelions, purslane, ramps and chickweed — should instead be considered a veritable grocery list, she says.** --These two precedents illustrate the slowly growing acceptance of weeds. With highend restaurants serving these plants and chefs are publishing their receipts, it makes a compelling argument to include them in our cities as a norm rather than an exception for some projects.

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SITE - LOCATION

Site Location The site is situated in the northern portion of Brooklyn, NY, located on the water’s edge within the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The site surrounds the Bushwick Inlet and is bordered by the East River on the West.

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SITE - HISTORY

The Williamsburg Bridge 56

via: ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com


Williamsburg History The neighborhood now known as Williamsburg in Brooklyn first came about when Richard Woodhull bought the land in 1792 to offer New Yorkers a suburban alternative to the city. It wasn’t until a couple decades later that the neighborhood flourished with the construction of a turnpike that connected Williamsburg to the rest of Brooklyn. Following several ups and downs it became its own city in 1852 and eventually became a neighborhood of Brooklyn. It attracted Germa and Austrain businesses and capitalists in the 1930s and eventually large industry such as Pfizer and Astral Oil, as well as publishers, breweries and churches. The waterfront provided docks, shipyards and factories that continued to lead to Williamsburg to further expansion. The Williamsburg Bridge was built in 1903 leading to an influx of the Jewish population form the Lower East Side and later a large Eastern European arrival of Lithuanians, Polish, Russians and eventually Italian immigrants. By 1917 the city blocks of Williamsburg had the densest population in New York City. Housing projects were erected form the mid-thirties through the sixties, followed by a further transformation and by the late fifties with the addition of the BrooklynQueens Expressway. Another wave of immigration brought Puerto Ricans first in the 60s and continuing to attract Hispanic populations of Dominicans and Latin Americans in the 80s which prospered into the 90s. With the loss of manufacturing that followed many became unemployed. Artist in New York are like canaries in a coal mine, they seek larger, cheaper and unrealized spaces as an alternative to what use to be the higher rents in the city. This is what has happened to Williamsburg, with gentrification started in the 90s and by the year 2000 many Latinos and pioneering artist became displaced.

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SITE - HISTORY

Greenpoint - Eberhard Pencil Factory workers 1920 58

brooklynhistory.org


Greenpoint History Greenpoint had been pass from the Native American tribe of the Keshaechqueren and then Dutch West India Company until a majority of the land was acquired by the Praa family in the 1600swho had a network of family farms by the 1700s. The waterfront was then purchase in the 1830s, which brought in manufacturing. The land was privately purchased from the Praa families in 1832 by Neziah Bliss. The land was then survey for and mapped for infrastructure starting with a bridge linking the neighborhood to Queens and Hallet’s Cove Turnpike. With the town laid out and the waterfront still open, ship builders and industrialists began relocated to Greenpoint in 1840. The area then became developed for residential and civic use and by 1850 it became part of Brooklyn. Germans and Irish communities moved into Greenpoint in the 1850s and by the end of the century many Polish immigrants had arrived and still make up a large part of the demographics. Through the 1850s it continued ship building continued as a major industry and contributed to the American Naval fleet during the Civil War. Porcelain, printing, pottery and glass manufacturing was also attracted to the area. As the war came to an end there was drop in demand within the shipping industry, by the turn of the century oil refineries and other industries moved into Greenpoint. The great depression led to many industries closed their doors and by World War II it was many the oil refineries that held onto the waterfront. The middle of the century most of the industries had left altogether. Germans and Irish communities moved into Greenpoint in the 1850s and by the end of the century many Polish immigrants had arrived and still make up a large part of the demographics. By the 1990s the waterfront had fallen into decline and disrepair with the waterfront mostly vacant when the city of New York rezoned the waterfront for residential and commercial use, although it still remains largely unutilized.

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SITE - HISTORY - McCARREN PARK and POOL

McCarren Pool during its height 60

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nytimes.com

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SITE - HISTORY - McCARREN PARK and POOL

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McCarren Pool / Park McCarren Park and McCarren Park Pool are only three blocks from the Bushwick Inlet and is comparable in size at 35 to the 31 acre site I have chosen. Located in both Williamsburg and Greenpoint, he Park was built in 1936 by Robert Moses and was a huge success. But by 1984 the pool was closed and remained vacant until 2005 when it became a popular venue for performances, movies and free and paid concerts which featured live indie bands for several seasons. In 2011 after a 50 million dollar pledge by Mayor Michael Bloomberg the pool was renovated, slightly downsized and reopened to New Yorkers in 2012. During the pools concert days it could hold up to 6,000 visitors, and not all residents where happy about the switch back to the pools original use. From the Times, “All the soul from this neighborhood is going to be gone if these concerts and the films and everything else that happens at the pool is gone,” Mr. [Alexander] Kane said. “Then this neighborhood just turns into any other neighborhood that was settled by artists, and then the artists have to leave.”, this was the point of view of many concert goers. Other locations where eventually substituted as an alternative. Other uses of the park are for a range of sports including a track, 3 baseball fields, a soccer field, a dog park and lawn area to serve the community.

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SITE - CONTEXT

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Greenpoint - Manhattan Ave

Williamburg - with JMZ subway line

South Williamsburg

Williamsburg - Atlas Cafe


Greenpoint

Greenpoint - Driggs Ave

McCarren Park

McCarren Park

Speard: nytimes.com 65


SITE - MORPHOLOGY

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1858

SITE -MORPHOLOGY

via: brooklyn11211.com

Bushwick Inlet: We have radically altered the land, moving it to suit our short term needs. New York is a perfect example of an urban shoreline which has been greatly m anipulated, vast volumes of earth shifted around its perimeter, raised areas leveled, wetland and waterways filled in, soil and water bodies heavily polluted.

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1866

1891

Maps: bklyn-genealogy-info.com 69


SITE - SOIL, ACCESS + NEIGHBORHOOD

Site Soils The Reconnaissance Soil Survey is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Natural Resources Conservation Service), the New York City Soil and Water Conservation District and Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Their survey shown here maps the under soil under 101:

Pavement & buildings, wet substratum-Laguardia-Ebbets complex, 0 to 8 percent slopes: Nearly level to gently sloping urbanized areas filled with a mixture of natural soil materials and construction debris over swamp, tidal marsh, or water; a mixture of anthropogenic soils which vary in coarse frag ment content, with up to 80 percent impervious pavement and buildings covering the surface.

Transportation The site is highly excusable from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. Several subways are within walking distance of the site including the L from train from Manhattan, the G Train which is the only inter-borough between Brooklyn and Queens, and JMZ trains which run between the three boroughs. There are also many buses that run through Brooklyn and Queens. Median Income According to WNYC the median income for residents living around the site averages between $50 – $75,000. This is a development which has occurred since a large scale migration of young artists in the early 90s followed by galleries, restaurants, and shops, then inevitably followed by real estate developers and young wealthy business people. source: nycswcd.net 70


Subway system map

source: mta.info

Bus map

source: mta.info

source: wnyc 71


SITE - TIDAL CONDITIONS

The Tides and Currents of the East River and the Bushwick Inlet The tides of the Bushwick Inlet fluctuate three to four times a day with the difference of up to six feet between high and low tides. The East River acts like a river, but it is a tidal strait connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. The East River flows north with the rising tide and south with the low tide. The flow of the river can change up to four times a day.

iboatnyharbor.com/Currents%20and%20Tides.htm

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noaa.gov 73


SITE - EXISTING SECTIONS

1A

2A

3A

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Fill-in Blvds LOCUST MAP 1B

2B

3B

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SITE - EXISTING CONDITIONS

Vegetation Currently the site supports several volunteer plant species, especially around the fenced-off inlet where Trees-of Heaven, Princess trees, Yarrow, Dandelions, Mugwort and other pioneer plants grow densely. Other locations around the site also support life from any gap, crack or rubble pile where you’ll find plants sprouting. The next few pages feature some of the plants from a site visit as vegetation was beginning to emerge.

Photo: Nathan Kensinger 76


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SITE - EXISTING CONDITIONS

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All Photos: Nathan Kensinger 79


SITE - EXISTING CONDITIONS

Northern edge at Oak and West Streets, which will be the northern entry to the site

Northern section of the site where the woodland area will be, in the distance is the building whivh will become the viewing tower 80


Š David Mazer

Š David Mazer

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SITE - EASTERN EDGE

This is the eastern edge of the site where the volunteer species surround the inlet along Kent Avenue and Franklin Street

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Spread: maps.google.com 83


SITE - EXISTING EDGE CONDITIONS

Scale The site is 31 arces. I’ve comapered it along side Central Park which is 841 arces. Existing Vegetation Currently the site supports several volunteer plant species, especially around the fencedoff inlet where Trees-of Heaven, Princess trees, Yarrow, Danilions, Mugwort and other pioneer plants grow densely. Other locations around the site also support life from any gap, crack or rubble pile where you’ll find plants sprouting. The next few pages feature some of the plants from a site visit as vegetation was beginning to emerge. Existing Edge Conditions The perimeter of the site at the water’s edge is made up of riprap which varies in density and size. At several places the riparp has degrade to the point where erosion has occurred, especially at the point near the oil tanks and around the squared off edge within the inlet.

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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These pages: Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

© David Mazer

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Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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This spread: Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Spread: Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Spread: Š David Mazer

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SITE - EXISTING FLORA

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Spread: Š David Mazer

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Plant Palette Selection There will be several dozen volunteer plant species chosen to be planted within the within designated areas which include a woodland, meadows, a fringe wetland and a moss garden. The following pages are a close look at ten plants followed by the complete plant list for the first season. The information on traits and habitat is taken from Peter Del Tredici’s Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: a field guide. I have added additional habitats in the illustrations on the left hand pages.

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Š David Mazer

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Ailanthus altissima c.Tree-of-Heaven -The tree is famous for its ability to tolerate disturbance and form dense thickets of stems along unmowed railroad and highway embankments. -Foliage reported to allopathic chemicals, suppressing growth of neighboring plants. Place of origin: China Ecological Functions: Air pollution, drought, heat buildup, tolerant of roadway salt, soil building. Habitat: Full sun to shade tolerant. Road salt and highway embankments, cracks where concrete and pavement meet.

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Cracks where Concrete and Pavement meet

Unmowed Railroad Embankments

Chain Link Fence Lines

Vancant Lots

Urabn Meadows

Unmowed Highway Embankments

Pavement and Masonary Cracks

Unmaintained Parks

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Populus tremuliodes c.Quaken Aspen -Most widely distributed tree in North America. Place of origin: Northern, central and eastern North America Ecological Functions: Erosion control on slopes, food and habitat for wildlife, soil building. Habitat: Sunny, dry sites with less competition. Abandon rubble dumps, vacant lots, open woods and thickets, along railroad tracks, unmowed highway embankments.

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Rubble Dumps

Vancant Lots

Along Railroad Tracks

Unmowed Highway Embankments

Open Woods and Thickets

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Paulownia tomentosa

c.Princess Tree

Place of origin: Temperate East Asia Ecological Functions: Heat reduction, roadway salt, erosion control on slopes, soil building. Habitat: Full sun, drought tolerant.. Chain link fence lines, pavement and masonry cracks, rock outcrops, highway and railroad embankments.

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Chain Link Fence Lines

Urabn Meadows

Pavement and Masonary Cracks

Rock Outcrops

Highway Embankments

Railroad Embankments

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Ulmus Americana c.American Elm Place of origin: Eastern North America Ecological Functions: Heat reduction in paved areas, roadway salt, compacted soil, erosion control on slopes, stream and riverbank stabilization. Habitat: Bottomland with moist and sunny conditions. Minimally maintained open space, vacant lots, emergent woodlands, margins of freshwater wet lands, ponds, streams and rivers, chain-link fences lines, roadside drainage ditches.

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Vancant Lots and Minimally Maintained Open Spaces

Railroad Embankments

Roadside Drainage Ditches

Near Streams and Rivers

Chian Link Fence Lines

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Robinia pseudoacacia c.Black Locust -70 Place of origin: Eastern North America Ecological Functions: Heat reduction in paved areas, roadway salt, compacted soil, erosion control on steep slopes, soil improving, food and habitat for wildlife, roadway salt. Habitat: Range of soils –prefer dry, sandy sites in full sun. Minimally maintained parks, vacant lots, waste dumps, emergent woodlands, unmowed highway embankments, railroad right-of-way.

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Minimally Maintained Parks

Minimally Maintained Parks

Vancant Lots

Railroad Right-of-Way

Unmowed Highway Embankments

Emergent Woodlands

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Artemesia vulgaris c.Mugwort -Mugwort is the quintessential urban weed. It thrives on disturbed, compacted soil with high pH and is common in minimally maintained open spaces. Place of origin: Eurasia Ecological Functions: Phytoremediation in degraded landscapes, tolerant of roadway salt and compacted soil, erosion control on slopes, soil building. Habitat: Compacted soil with high pH. Public parks, vacant lots, rubble dumps, soil stockpiles, small pavement openings and cracks, along railroad tracks, highway margins.

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Public Parks

Vancant Lots

Rubble Dumps and Soil Stockpiles

Small Pavement Openings and Cracks

Along Railroad Tracks

Highway Margins

Urabn Meadows

Minimally Maintained Parks

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Cichorium intybus c.Chicory Place of origin: Eurasia Ecological Functions: Roadway salt, compacted soil, food and habitat for wild life, erosion control on slopes, soil building. Habitat: Sunny, dry habitats and soils with a bit of limestone, or an elevated pH. Minimally maintained parks, margins of neglected residential and commercial landscapes, vacant lots, rubble dumps, pavement cracks, chain link fence lines, unmowed highway embankments, median stripes, railroad right-of-way.

Chichory by near a highway 124

nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com


Minimally Maintained Parks

Margins of Residential and Commercail Landscapes

Rubble Dumps

Chian Link Fence Lines

Railroad Right-of-Way

Vancant Lots

Unmowed Highway Embankments

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Leucanthemum vulgare c.Oxeye Daisey Place of origin: Europe

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Ecological Functions: Roadway salt, compacted soil, food and habitat for wildlife, erosion control on slopes.

Habitat: Highly drought tolerant, grows best in full sun. Compacted lawns, vacant lots, rubble dumps, urban meadows, rock outcrops, stone walls,

unmowed highway embankments, median stripes, railroad right-of-way.


Rubble Dumps

Vancant Lots

Rock Outcrops

Unmowed Highway Embankments

Urabn Meadows

Railroad Right-of-Way

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Symphyotrichum pilosum c.White Heath Aster -166 Place of origin: Eastern and central North America Ecological Functions: Roadway salt, compacted soil, food and habitat for wildlife, erosion control on slopes. Habitat: Grows best in full sun in dry, sandy soils 窶田an tolerate compacted soils. Urban meadows, vacant lots, rubble dump sites, small pavement openings and cracks, unmowed highway embankments.

ncwildflower.org 128


Urabn Meadows

Small Pavement Openings and Cracks

Vancant Lots

Rubble Dumps

Unmowed Highway Embankments

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PLANT PALETTE - SELECTED VOLUNTEER PLANTS

Amborsia artemisiifolia c.Common Ragweed -Grows equally well in dry, sandy soil and heavy moist soils with a neutral or higher pH. -When mowed and reduced to 2 inches, will still flower. Place of origin: North America Ecological Functions: Disturbance adapted species, compacted soil, food and habitat for wildlife.

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Habitat: Roadsides with heavy salt, minimally maintained open space, vacant lots, rubble dump sites, small pavement openings and cracks, chain link fence lines, rock outcrops, stone walls.


Minimally Maintained Parks

Small Pavement Openings and Cracks

Rock Outcrops and Stone Walls

Rubble Dump Sites

Vancant Lots

Unmowed Highway Embankments

Chian Link Fence Lines

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PLANT PALETTE Woodlans Plants: Taxus cuspidata c. Japense Yew

Quercus rubra c. Red Oak

Acer negundo c. Box Elder

Paulownia tomentosa c. Princess Tree

Acer pseudoplantanus c. Sycamore Maple

Ailanthus altissima c. Tree-of-heaven

Acer saccharinum c. Silver Maple

Celtis occidentalis c. Hackberry

Rhus typhina c. Staghorn Sumac

Ulmus americana c. American Elm

Berberis thunbergii c. Japnese Barberry Alnus glutinosa c. Black Alder Betula nigra c. River Birch Betula populifolia c. Gray Birch Catalpa speciosa c. Catalpa European europaea c. European Spindletree Robinia pseudoacacia c. Black Locust

Catalpa flowers and foliage 132

whitebuffalobk via Flick

Quercus palustris c. Pin Oak


Meadow, Rubble Pile + Compacted Soils Plants: Equisetum arvense c. Field Horsetail

Hieracium sabaudum c. New England Hawkweed

Elaegnus umbellate c. Autumn Olive

Latuca serriola c. Prickly Lettuce

Solanum dulcamara c. Bittersweet Nightshade

Leontodon autumnalis c. Fall Dandelion

Mollugi verticillata c. Carpetweed

Leucanthemum vulgare c. Oxeye Daisy

Daucus carota c. Wild Carrot

Solidago Canadensis c. Canada Goldenrod

Acheillea millifolium c.Yarrow

Symphyotrichum pilosum c. White Heath Aster

Amborsia artemisiifolia c. Ragweed

Tanacetum vulgare c. Tansy

Arctium minus c. Burdock

Taraxacum officinale c. Danelion

Artemesia vulgaris c. Mugwort

Lepidium virginicum c. Virginia Pepperweed

Bidens frondosa c. Devil’s Beggarticks

Stellaria media c. Chickweed

Cichorium intybus c. Chicory

Chenopodium album c. Lambsquaters

Conyza canadensis c. Horseweed

Hypericum perforatum c. St. Johnswort Acalpha rhomboidea c. Rhombic Copperleaf A feild of Goldenrod

mizuame.sumomo.ne.jp 133


PLANT PALETTE Coronilla varia c. Crownvetch Lotus corniculatus c. Birdsfoot Trefoil Melilotus officinalis c. Sweet Clover Trifolium pratense c. Red Clover Trifolium repens c. White Clover Vicia cracca c. Bird Vetch Glechoma hederacea c. Ground Ivy Phytolacca americana c. Pokeweed Plantago lanceolata c. Buckhorn Plantain Plantago major c. Broadleaf Plantain Polygonum aviculare c. Prostate Knotweed Runex cripus c. Curly Dock Iris pseudacorus c. Yellow Flag Iris Crownvetch close up 134

observeyourpreserve.org

Smilax rotundifolia c. Roundleaf Greenbrier Bromus tectorum c. Downy Brome Dactylis glomerata c. Orchard Grass Dichanthelium clandestinum c. Deer-tongue Grass Digitaria ischaemum c. SmoothCrabgrass Eragrostis pectinacea c. Tufted Lovegrass Lolium arundinacea c. Tall Fecue Panicum dichotomiflorum c. Fall Panicum Phalaris arundinacea c. Reed Canarygrass Phleum pratense c. Timothy Poa annua c. Annual Bluegrass Poa pratensis c. Kentucky Bluegrass Setaria viridis c. Green Foxtail


Wetland + Wetland Edge Plants: Amorpha fruitcosa c. Leadwort Salix species c. Pussy Willow Lythrum salicaria c. Purple Loosestrife Typha latifolia c.Cattail Phragmites australis c. Common Reed

Ferns + Mosses: Onoclea sensibilis c. Sensitive Fern Conocephalum concium c. Liverwort Mnium hornum c. Horn Calcareous Pachysandra terminalis c. Japanese pachysandra Scleranthus annuus c. Knawel

Daniel Fuchs via commons.wikimedia.org 135


PLANTING STRATEGY

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Plant Program: A hybrid park will be created with an extensive plant program. The primary program focuses engaging the public, while the secondary program focuses a horticultural research. During the first two seasons following construction the site will remain off limits to the general public to allow for the volunteer plants to establish themselves without interference. The site’s plant program will have a variety of urban conditions including: designed cuts into pavement and t torn up pavement, piles of rubble and aggregates, compacted soil, compromised soils, as well as a variety of windy, shaded and full sun conditions which will encourage various urban plant communities to illustrate their unique properties. Designing a program of pioneer plants under a range of conditions will allow people to observe how incredible these plants are under such adverse conditions. The plantings will be distributed in a grid formation through the woodland, meadow and wetland zones. This allows for secession of the plants to occur, filling-in and breaking away from the initial grid layout. Existing volunteers around the inlet and northern portion will stay, while some areas on the site will not be programed, allowing for the pioneer plants to naturally establish within the first two seasons. The site will also be home to an indoor and outdoor nursery for plantings used on and off site. The nursery will be open to the public and be a feature of guided tours of the park.

Š David Mazer

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PLANTING CONDITIONS

There are a variety of urban conditions typical of an urban waterfront, which already exists on the site. In addition there will be planting beds located throughout the site. Additionally there will be a hill built from on-site soil to create a drier soil condition.

Wetland Conditions

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Moist Conditions

Planting Beds


Drier Soil Conditions

Rubble Piles as a Growing Medium

Gentle Slopes and Steeper Slopes

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PLANTING STRATEGY - GROUND PREPARATION Pavement Garden + Site: The soil on the site will improve over time by way of specific soil building, and more general vegetation. Compacted soil will be left untouched along the perimeter of the meadows and woodland, as well as moments within the pavement garden. Within other areas of the site, the top soil will be dug up and loosened , starting as shallow as 2 to 6 inches, to as deep as 6 feet to reach ground water.

Groundwater Line

Groundwater Line

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PLANTING STRATEGY - SUCCESSION

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Succession of Plants: The planting strategy for the site will be sparse and allow for secession over time. In the first season woodland, meadow and wetland plantings will be arranged in a grid, which will allow for cataloging of plants which were placed and observation of those which have filled in. Conditions have been created to allow for a range of moist, well-drained and dry soil conditions, creating varying ground condition to appeal to a wide variety of species. By the end of the first season the original grid formation will start to dissolve and a more natural and random growth will occur. Several seasons will allow for the original plantings to blend-in entirely.

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PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT + PROGRAM

The Public Engagement and Programs: The primary focus of the park is to engage the public with the flora, fauna and water’s edge through varying and extreme planting conditions. There will also be guided group tours on weekends and digital tours throughout the week. A guide book will be available, containing the attributes, cautions and descriptions of many of the plants. Amenities will include two cafes with adjacent food courts, as well as food truck venders. Through exposure and interaction with volunteer plant species, the urban flora are framed in a positive light, illustrating their abilities to remediate, regenerate soil, control erosion, provide habitat for fauna, while displaying their resiliencies and how they can thrive within our built environment. The 31 acres of the site will provide the space and conditions to demonstrate this. The hybrid park is integrated within the context of the urban fabric, rather than being a separate parcel. The plants are zoned like patchwork where the visitor can wander in vast areas or fine moments that are partially enclosed and intimate. Some will come for access to the water’s edge and afford views from the site to the city, which can only be accessed by traversing the site and being exposed to the variety plants and scenarios. The objective of placing the flora in this park, under these conditions, is to for volunteer plants to gain acceptance and admiration with the public as well as city planners and designers, and to continue the conversation that has been started with projects like Duisburg-Nord and the more recent High Line. As built urban landscapes and infrastructures will be forced to adapt to global warming and resulting increase in intense storm events –we will need to adapt. Creating a place where people will be in awe of weeds and embrace them for their highly adaptive and unique qualities, will overtime win peoples over.

Angela Lindvall planting bamboo seedlings in Bali 144

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SITE - DESIGN

Design Concept + Intent: The concept of this hybrid park is to create a place where plants can be studied and displayed with a focus on public awareness and engagement. Several of the most of extreme conditions already exist on the site with ground conditions of the site starting with the soil which is polluted, compressed and nutrient deprived. A majority of the site is comprised of urban landfill. During construction concrete and pavement on site will be reused for retaining walls and rubble piles. Additional urban conditions will be introduced within the site which will involve making cuts into the pavement, installing piles of various sized rubble and aggregates, providing vertical growing surfaces, grading the topography to permit wet to dry ground conditions, creating a constructed wetland and fencing off areas.

The Darlington: A Hybrid Park for the Public and Horticultural Study The Darlington is named after William Darlington who was an early advocate for marginalized plants in the mid1800s. Peter Del Tredici references him several times since his observations remain highly relevant over one hundred and fifty years later. Darlington and others including John Josselyn in 1671 with New-England’s Rarities, were aware of many of the benefits and cautions of volunteer plants, while planners, designers and have been painstaking slow in researching and implanting pioneer plants. As we move forward in re-thinking and re-designing our cities for current future conditions, we must not forget the past and others who came before.

The site contains a series of explorative investigations which demonstrate the resiliencies and highly productive nature of dozens of urban pioneer plants. These extreme conditions found on site are typical of any northeastern city which can no longer support the flora that once thrived there centuries ago. We continue to plant trees in our parks that require regular maintenance and our street trees often do not live long, if they survive at all. Most of the general public, landscape architects and other plant specialist view most pioneer species as a nuisance. Rather than allow these overlooked and marginalized volunteer species to be an indicator of dereliction and neglect, this park allows for these plants to be the feature, celebrating their performance under a variety of typical urban conditions. Accessibility will be encouraged throughout the site with a few exceptions. Zones of the woodland will be fenced off for durations of 10 to 20 years and a small section of the pavement garden will not accessible. These fenced off areas will only be accessible to birds, and successional plants. These zones will not be maintained during the fencedoff durations, allowing for pioneer plants to truly volunteer themselves, so that a datum of succession may be observed and studied.

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SITE - DESIGN

Model of the Darlington with North to the left 146


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SITE - LONGITUDINAL SECTION

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SITE - LONGITUDINAL SECTION

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SITE - LONGITUDINAL SECTION

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SITE - DESIGN Franklin S t

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Quay St

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tA ve

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Calyer St.

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West St

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Legend 1. The North Entry and seating 2. Rubble Piles 3. Oil Tank relic and Shipping Conatiner Planters 4. Woodland Zone 5. Pavement Cuts with Tree Species 6. Pavement Garden 7. Calyer St. Entry 8. Aggregate Piles 9. Seating and North Dock 10. North Seating area and Viewing Tower 11. North Meadow 12. Middle Dock 13. Central Entry Building and Seating area 14. Existing Inlet Vegetation 15. Inlet Boardwalk 16. Truck Relics 17. Facility Building 18. South Meadow 19. Cafe and large Seating area 20. Moss Garden 21. Aspen Grove 22. Resource and Educational Building 23. Tank Gardens 24. South Dock and Oil Tank relic 25. Fringe Wetland 26. Wet Feet Plantings 27. Indoor and Outdoor Nursery 28. Unplanted Area

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SITE - DESIGN 9

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North, Middle and South portions of the Site: The Bushwick Inlet is currently both a working and post-industrial site. At the southern Williamsburg end the ground is saturated with petroleum and currently occupied by Bayside Oil, while the northern Greenpoint portion is occupied by warehouses and vacant lots. The oil tank farm will be remediated by way of a constructed wetland with pollution cleansing plantings while the northern Greenpoint portion will focus on soil building and feature a broad program of grasses, meadows, shade plantings and wooded zones. There is seating throughout the site, several paths cross both sections of the site while a singular path connects the upper, middle and lower sections. The site is bordered by a combination of urban commercial and residential use from the east, north and south. The western edge and the inlet are bordered by the East River. The East River is not hydrologically a river; it is a tide strait that acts much like a river with its strong currents. Upper Site: The upper grounds contain several relics such as shipping containers, pavement garden, rubble piles and concrete slab walls as planting opportunities. The soil primarily consists of landfill with a compacted and degraded top layer of soil, rising six feet above the groundwater. The building at {--name streets--} occupies the site where the USS Monitor was built and launched during the American Civil War. Located in this portion is the woodland, meadow conditions, the pavement garden as well as reuse relics which include one of two oil tanks turned on its side for a dramatic entry and framing of the site. Other repurposed relics include shipping containers which are used as large planting beds and a partially demolished building at the water’s edge providing views of the city and site, a cafÊ with indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating is surrounded by a formal arrangement of American Elms, deliberately in contrast to the rest of the site. A sunbathing dock is also situated at the upper edge of the site.

1. 2. 3. 4.

The North Entry and seating Rubble Piles Oil Tank relic and Shipping Conatiners Woodland Zone 4a - 20yr Fence-Off Zone 4b - 10yr Fence-Off Zone

5. Pavement Cuts with Tree Species 6. Pavement Garden 7. Calyer St. Entry 8. Aggregate Piles 9. Seating and North Dock 10. North Seating area and Viewing Tower 157


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Middle Site:

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The middle section of the site features the Bushwick Inlet, which has been severely transformed from its original size, function and shape. The inlet is the last remaining fragment of what was a creek that met the East River, which once supported a salt marsh at its outlet. This is where most of the existing volunteer plants have been left unmanaged, and will remain primarily undisturbed. These plants are only bisected by the pathway created to bridge both the upper, middle and lower portions of the site. Any resilient species will be resituated elsewhere within the site. Wetland plants will be planted in more abundance along the sheltered inlet’s edge. As one moves through the site from the north portion towards the inlet, passing though the meadow visitors will come across the second of three docks that extend over the East River and the inlet. This will allow visitors to not only view Manhattan across the river at a series of locations onsite; but also to see and experience the site from the water’s edge, providing an up-close opportunity to engage in the wetland.

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12. Middle Dock 13. Central Entry Building and Seating area 14. Existing Inlet Vegetation 15. Wet Feet Plantings 16. Inlet Boardwalk 159


25 25 16 20 18 19 25 27 21 24 16

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Lower Site:

The lower portion below the inlet contains very different conditions from the rest of the site. For over a century it has been the home to an oil tank farm, originally Astor Oil, then as Bayside Oil. There have been decades of petroleum leeching. The conditions found here are considered normal throughout much of Greenpoint where the oil industry has long flourished and continues to exist, although the industry has been downsized.

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The lower site also contains relics from the past. Trucks used for transporting oil will remain at the entry as well as adjacent to the pathway which continues through an urban meadow and a grove of Quaking Aspen. A pathway then continues to a large seat ing area which occupies the filling station adjacent to the oil tanks. An adjacent cafĂŠ, a moss garden, series of tank gardens, and finally a large sunbathing, seating and viewin dock complete the lower area of the site. The dock is situated within wetland planting at the southern tip of the inlet; the dock bridges the East River and Bushwick Inlet.

The nursery will provide an important opportunity to raise the plants, and to cultivate the ones which have remediation and performative qualities while diffusing the more aggressive traits of certain species.

16. Truck Relics 17. Facility Building 18. South Meadow 19. Cafe and large Seating area 20. Moss Garden 21. Aspen Grove 22. Resource and Educational Building 23. Tank Gardens 24. South Dock and Oil Tank relic 25. Fringe Wetland 26. Indoor and Outdoor Nursery 27. Unplanted Area

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SITE - THE NORTH ENTRY

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SITE - PAVEMENT GARDEN + RUBBLE PILES

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Pavement Garden + Site: The soil on the site will improve over time by way of specific soil building and other general vegetation. Compacted soil will be left untouched along the perimeter of the meadows and woodland, as well as moments within the pavement garden. Within other areas of the site, the top soil will be dug up and loosened, starting as shallow as 2 to 6 inches, to as deep as 6 feet to reach ground water. Rubble Piles: Rubble piles located within the upper grounds of the site will range from 2 to 6 feet in height, with some reaching as high as 18 feet. The pavement garden will be cut long strips of various widths, starting at half and inch and eventually widening to 24 feet. The depth of the cuts will start at 2 inches and other cuts will reach down as far as 6 feet, the soil will remain as well as the cut pavement as fill for the growing medium. Some strips will have the pavement only broken up and left for plants to volunteer and populate once soil fills in the cracks. Cliff dwelling and rock outcrop plants will occupy the rubble piles, as well as stone-like walls constructed from blocks of concrete, reused from the site. Woodland and Meadow Grid: To jump start and establish vegetation on site, plantings will initially follow in a gird formation of various spacing distances and eventually fill in on their own accord. The woodland will have plants spaced at a distance of 20 feet between each sapling, while the urban meadow areas will have plantings 5 feet apart. The wetland plants will be the most densely planted, as close as 1 foot to each other given their more fragile and specialized nature to give them better chances of long term success.

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SITE - THE VIEWING TOWER

Each level contains a series of planting beds

The first floor has a cafe, seating and a planting bed

The Viewing Tower The Viewing Tower offers views of both the city and of the site. Planting beds located on each floor keep attention on the volunteer plants. The abandoned building has had its walls removed and is open to the elements with the exception of the first floor which is surrounded by glass windows and has a cafĂŠ. Outside, adjacent to the tower is a seating court. With the tables and chairs removed, this space is flexible and can accommodate various events.

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SITE - THE INLET

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The Bushwick Inlet The existing vegetation surrounds the inlet. A boardwalk connects both the upper and lower portions of the site. To the left is a cafe, seating, a moss garden, tank gardens and in the distance are the docks which frame the entry to the last remains of was once Bushwick Creek.

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SITE - TANK GARDENS

Visitors enter an opening to each tank garden which has a thin planting bed that traces each out ring. Another in entry leads to the central planting bed which contains a variety of volunteer planting.

The Tank Gardens: The lower site will have a large oil tank featuring a moss garden. Shade will be provided by the tank itself and by the canopies of trees placed in a large central plant bed within the tank. Three additional tanks will have built-in planting beds around their interior as well as a deeper central planting bed. The tanks operate as both relics and repurposed structures, where visitors experience the vegetation by walking through the outer and inner walls of the tanks.

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Conclusion: Since the Industrial Revolution we have grown parasitic with our host, consuming and exploiting the earth’s resources at an alarming rate. Slowly, we are beginning to accept the need to be resilient and adaptable as we move forward under swiftly changing global conditions. An alliance between us and pioneer plants is critical. With the world’s population gravitating more towards city living and our climate becoming increasingly unstable, it is imperative that we embrace and utilize flora that thrive under these conditions. In 2013 we are still trying to bend nature to our will, when it is us that must adapt and be flexible. We need these plants far more than they need us; they’re doing just fine without our help. Despite our useless attempts to eradicate many of their species, they continue to thrive. Plants that have evolved alongside us in urban landscapes need to be recognized for their resilient attributes and performative qualities. Volunteer plants are the only truly native urban flora we have. The strategic design and implementation of volunteer plants will greatly improve our urban conditions and our quality of life. This hybrid park will initiate a three-way conversation between researchers, the public, and the volunteer plants themselves. It’s a place where the plants can not only be seen within their element, but where the gains of a symbiotic relationship can be studied and explained. The hybrid test site allows for us to understand how these plants work, what cautions to take, and how to better understand the benefits we stand to gain with singular and multiple groupings of volunteer plants. More will be learned from failures than success, and in time we will have a stronger understanding of how to implement these plants in the urban landscape. Landscape architects, horticulturists, city planners and other designers will use the site as a resource. As this becomes a national and even global movement, other cities will start their own interventions with pioneer plants. The focus of the thesis has been the northeastern United States, but rapidly expanding cities such as Beijing are also in desperate need of remediation. Others sites across the country and the globe could all benefit from their own species of pioneer plants, if they are accepted and implemented. We must rethink our approach to the urban landscape. We have no choice. Storm events that cause destruction on a massive scale are now the norm, and death tolls are rising. Hurricane Sandy alone cost the U.S. $30-50 billion dollars. Hurricane Sandy left 100,000 people displaced. Katrina cost tax payers $380 billion in damages, left 172

1,000,000 displaced and had a death toll of 1,833 people**. How many more billions must be spent and lives lost before we change our ways? Our impaired relationship with nature must be repaired before it is too late. The use of volunteer plant species will greatly aid our recovery. They will provide a buffer against major storm events, save us billions in annual costs and even save lives. A critical part of the solution is right in front us all throughout the city, right under out feet peeking up through the cracks.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY Articles and Books: Aitkenhead-Peterson ,Jacqueline and Volder, Astrid, editors. Urban Ecosystem Ecology , Madison, WI : American Society of Agronomy : Crop Science Society of America : Soil Science Society of America, c2010. -- See Article: Reichard, Sarah Hayden. Inside Out: Invasive Plants and Urban Environments, (School of Forestry, Univ. Washington). Anderson, Edgar. Plants, Man and Life, [botanist of the twentieth century], Dover Publication, Inc.: New York, 1952 Bahamón, Alejandro. Ultimate Landscape Design, New York, NY : te Neues, c2005. Baker, Herbert G. The Evolution of Weeds, Botany Dept. UC Berkeley, U.C. Berkeley: California, 1974 Beard, Peter. Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord: The Metamorphosis of an Industrial Site, Blueprint magazine, july/aug 1996, vol no. 130, pp.32-35 Cardwell Diane. New York Times, “City Is Backing Makeover for Decaying Brooklyn Waterfront”, Published: May 3, 2005 Cardwell Diane. New York Times, “Tower Has Its Own Lawn, but Neighbors Still Look for Their Open Space”, Published: November 1, 2011 Christopher, Tom. Can Weeds Help Solve the Climate Crisis? The New York Times: New York, 2008 Darlington, M.D., William. American Weeds and Useful Plants, A.O. Moore & Co.: New York, 1959. Dirr, Michael. Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs, Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 2011. Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants : their identification, ornamental characteristics, culture, propagation and uses , Michael A. Dirr ; illustrations by Bonnie Dirr ... [et al.]. Champaign, Ill. : Stipes Pub., c2009. Fajardo ,Julio, and Francesc Zamora. Star Landscape Architecture : The Stars of Landscape and Land Art Barcelona, Spain: Loft Pub., 2010.

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Web Sites: Hollander, Justin B. and Niall G. Kirkwood, Julia L. Gold.Principles of brownfield regeneration : cleanup, design, and reuse of derelict land, Washington : Island Press, c2010. Hopper, Leonard J. Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards, Architects, Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, c2007. House, Homer Doliver. Wild flowers : three hundred and sixty-four full-color illustrations with complete descriptive text, New York : Macmillan Company, 1934. O’Grady, Jim. New York Times, “Neighborhood Repotr: Greenpoint; For a Fabled Ship, Lost at Sea, Chances of Local Honor Fade”, Published: October 20, 2002 Ramsey, Charles George. Sleeper ; edited by James Ambrose. Construction Details from Architectural Graphic Standards, eighth edition, 1963.

brooklynhistory.org t iboatnyharbor.com/Currents%20and%20Tides.htm huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/04/hurricane-sandy-vs-katrina-infographic_n_2072432. html huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/04/hurricane-sandy-vs-katrina-infographic_n_2072432. html maps.google.com newyorkshitty.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/bwickinlet.jpg nycswcd.net/soil_survey.cfm

Rogers Elizabeth Barlow. Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History, New York : Harry N. Abrams, 2001.

ny.usharbors.com

Sisario, Ben. New York Times, “It’s Been Quite a Pool Party, but the Days Grow Short”, Published: August 1, 2008

SwissRe/via:huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/19/natural-disasters-2012-cost_n_2332618. html

Shah, Behula. The checkered Career of Ailanthus altissima, Arnoldia 1997 Fall

tides.mobilegeographics.com

Stubbendieck, James L. and Stephan L. Hatch, L.M. Landholt ; illustrated by Kelly L. Rhodes Hays, Bellamy Jansen, and Debra Meier ; maps by Kathleen Lonergan-Orr. North American wildland plants : a field guide, Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, c2003.

wiki.answers.com/Q/Which_direction_does_the_East_River_of_New_York_flow

Uva, Richard H., Joseph C. Neal and,Joseph M. DiTomaso. Weeds of the Northeast, Ithaca: Comstock Pub. Associates, 1997.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am especially grateful to my primary advisor Colgate Searle for his ongoing support and for being extremely generous with his time, and to Nadine Gerdts and Charlie Cannon, my secondary advisors, for their extra support and time. Special thanks also to Scheri Fultineer, Daniel Hewett and Lilly Herman. I could not have done this thesis justice without feedback and assistance from Anne West, Matt Clowney, Frank Hammond, David Nielsen, Roy Small, and Christina Vannelli. Additionally, I would like to thank my grandparents, my parents and Peter Ment for their support.

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Volunteer Plants - RISD Thesis  

RISD Thesis

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