New York City Skyline with One World Trade from North Mound, Looking Northeast toward Main Creek and the Greenbelt, Autumn, 2018. Photo Credit: Jade Doskow for The New York Times

Environment USA27. August 2020

Old New York Dump Becomes a Park (And Nature Did most of the Work Itself)

Twenty years ago, the last load of garbage arrived at Fresh Kills Landfill, on Staten Island, New York, USA. Today a park has replaced the old dump, which will open to the public in the coming years. Main builder of the park: Nature!

“You start with nothing, and you grow,” says James Corner of James Corner Field Operations. “You take a very sterile or inert foundation and move something in. It’s like lichen. They quickly grow and die, grow and die, creating a rich soil that something else can grow onto. And that’s how ecosystems grow.”

The landscape architect is behind the High Line, a New York railroad converted into an elevated park. With the former landfill, Mr. Corner and his team acted as restoration biologists who jump-started a framework then left the ecology of the site to finish things up by itself. The trash was first covered with clean soils onto which native grasses were planted.

New York Times
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