On September 12, 1609, Henry Hudson first set foot on the land that would become Manhattan. Today, it’s difficult to imagine what he saw, but for more than a decade, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson has been working to do just that. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City is the astounding result of those efforts, reconstructing in words and images the wild island that millions now call home. By geographically matching an 18th-century map with one of the modern city, examining volumes of historic documents, and collecting and analyzing scientific data, Sanderson re-creates the forests of Times Square, the meadows of Harlem, and the wetlands of downtown. His lively text guides readers through this abundant landscape, while breathtaking illustrations transport them back in time. Mannahatta is a groundbreaking work that provides not only a window into the past, but also inspiration for the future.
Reconstructs the ecological history of Manhattan through period maps, archeological discoveries, and computational geography to create pictures and descriptions of Manhattan from 1609 to the present day.
The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England
Author: Christopher L. Pastore
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Christopher Pastore traces how Narragansett Bay’s ecology shaped the contours of European habitation, trade, and resource use, and how littoral settlers in turn, over two centuries, transformed a marshy fractal of water and earth into a clearly defined coastline, which proved less able to absorb the blows of human initiative and natural variation.
The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition
Author: John Waldman
Publisher: Fordham Univ Press
Heartbeats in the Muck traces the incredible arc of New York Harbor’s environmental history. Once a pristine estuary bristling with oysters and striped bass and visited by sharks, porpoises, and seals, the harbor has been marked by centuries of rampant industrialization and degradation of its natural environment. Garbage dumping, oil spills, sewage sludge, pesticides, heavy metals, poisonous PCBs, landfills, and dredging greatly diminished life in the harbor, in some places to nil. Now, forty years after the Clean Water Act began to resurrect New York Harbor, John Waldman delivers a new edition of his New York Society Library Award–winning book. Heartbeats in the Muck is a lively, accessible narrative of the animals, water quality, and habitats of the harbor. It includes captivating personal accounts of the author’s explorations of its farthest and most noteworthy reaches, treating readers to an intimate environmental tour of a shad camp near the George Washington Bridge, the Arthur Kill (home of the resurgent heron colonies), the Hackensack Meadowlands, the darkness under a giant Manhattan pier, and the famously polluted Gowanus Canal. A new epilogue details some of the remarkable changes that have come upon New York Harbor in recent years. Waldman’s prognosis is a good one: Ultimately, environmental awareness and action has allowed the harbor to begin cleaning itself. Although it will never regain its native biological glory, the return of oysters, herons, and a host of other creatures is an indication of New York Harbor’s rebirth. This excellent, engaging introduction to the ecological issues surrounding New York Harbor will appeal to students and general readers alike. Heartbeats in the Muck is a must-read for anyone who likes probing the wilds, whether country or city, and natural history books such as Beautiful Swimmers and Mannahatta.
From 1815 to 1865, as city blocks encroached on farmland to accommodate Manhattan’s exploding population, prosperous New Yorkers developed new ideas about what an urban environment should contain—ideas that poorer immigrants resisted. As Catherine McNeur shows, taming Manhattan came at the cost of amplifying environmental and economic disparities.
This book offers a comprehensive overview of the intellectual developments in urban conservation. The authors offer unique insights from UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and the book is richly illustrated with colour photographs. Examples are drawn from urban heritage sites worldwide from Timbuktu to Liverpool to demonstrate key issues and best practice in urban conservation today. The book offers an invaluable resource for architects, planners, surveyors and engineers worldwide working in heritage conservation, as well as for local authority conservation officers and managers of heritage sites.
Given the realities of climate change and sea-level rise, coastal cities around the world are struggling with questions of resilience. Resilience, at its core, is about desirable states of the urban social-ecological system and understanding how to sustain those states in an uncertain and tumultuous future. How do physical conditions, ecological processes, social objectives, human politics, and history shape the prospects for resilience? Most books set out "the answer.” This book sets out a process of grappling with holistic resilience from multiple perspectives, drawing on the insights and experiences of more than fifty scholars and practitioners working together to make Jamaica Bay in New York City an example for the world. Prospects for Resilience establishes a framework for understanding resilience practice in urban watersheds. Using Jamaica Bay—the largest contiguous natural area in New York, home to millions of New Yorkers, and a hub of global air travel with John F. Kennedy International Airport—the authors demonstrate how various components of social-ecological systems interact, ranging from climatic factors to plant populations to human demographics. They also highlight essential tools for creating resilient watersheds, including monitoring and identifying system indicators; computer modeling; green infrastructure; and decision science methods. Finally, they look at the role and importance of a "boundary organization” like the new Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay in coordinating and facilitating resilience work, and consider significant research questions and prospects for the future of urban watersheds. Prospects for Resiliencesets forth an essential foundation of information and advice for researchers, urban planners, students and others who need to create more resilient cities that work with, not against, nature.