Animation showing build up of green over time
Manhattan was once an island of marshland and meadows. In the four hundred years since its settlement, infrastructure has taken hold of the island, choking back nature until its existence was limited to carefully gridded parks. What would happen if we were to let nature loose?
Rendering of green spread from below Delancey
Simmering just below Manhattan is a complex and interconnected world of waterways, subway tunnels and abandoned spaces. If we were to create a germination point, an underground park of moss, algae and lichen that fed into these networks, we could inject life into Manhattan's underground. Plant life could escape from the park, infect the underground and spread just below the surface.
gang(GREEN) envisions an underground park that connects to the urban infrastructure
The Delancey Underground, an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal at the intersection between Delancey and Essex, provides an ideal testing ground for Manhattan's future landscape. The East River's runoff has turned the abandoned space into a marsh in waiting, and its connection to the J, M, Z and F subway tunnels and to three sewage tunnels make it a powerful origination point. Imagine subway rides through moss lined tunnels or sidewalk grates through which plants creep from below. There is a latent ecology that has the potential to spread, to take over the undergound and to erupt, interrupting and breaking down the rigidity of the Manhattan grid. If we provide the infrastructure to enable rather than impede Manhattan's greenways, we can invent a new park ecology and typology.
If nature were allowed to fight back, what would be the new Manhattan landscape?
Initial concept sketch
Diagrammatic crack in the street
Eventual growth and takeover
Moments that can occur include moss wading pools, algae trees and swimming pools, and stair crevices
The underground becomes covered with green, allowing the creation of new recreational spaces
Growth along the subway tunnels