Vertical Ecologies in Manhattan
By Sam Naylor
The natural environment, this wild urbanism, we as a species evolved in has imprinted a desire for its wild embrace deep within us. But the accelerated march of industrialization has distracted us from our original symbiotic relationship with nature.
During the tail end of the industrial revolution cities, as the center for production and activity, became boons of livability. A desire to escape this urbanity for a pastoral (now suburban) setting was only architecturally rivaled by the three garden city schemes of Wright, Howard, and Corbusier. Their contributions, and subsequently the work of Frederick Law Olmstead has revealed the importance and desire for an ecological experience in the city.
As Americans mobilized in the mid-twentieth century the car was used as a tool to reach larger parks and truly wild spaces; it was also the driver for much of our sprawling metropolis. Only in more recent decades have environmental and eco-psychologists attempted to quantify the negative effects of this lifestyle, and study the myriad benefits interaction with nature can reveal.
Stronger hearts, less anxiety, and a longer lifespan are among many biological and psychological effects proven to exist when we interact more with the natural environment. Today, along with the negative effects of cities on our bodies we are faced with an environmental resource battle as the loom of climate change reveals its effects; and as the time to act quickly diminishes our relationship to nature becomes more important.
Finally, as our reach transforms all parts of the earth to produce for the city, once ‘wild’ spaces are now augmented landscapes and the monitored park is the only remnant of an original ecology.
Producing parks becomes the operative task to improve our bodies and provide psychological relief from the city. The park has the opportunity to reconnect us to the natural environment, both emotionally and psychologically – aiding in the action of a climate change response.
Taking cues from the ambition of skyscrapers and the lucrativity of high end real estate, the proposal seeks to find a potential for the park in the density of our future.
This vertical park includes a penthouse greenhouse, apartments, rock climbing, meadowlands, forests, and campgrounds.
Photos by Sam Naylor
This project was chosen for display at AIA New Orleans
John William Lawrence Memorial Medal
Senior Scholar Award
More photos of the project can be found at: http://sam-naylor.com/wild-urbanism/