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.