It’s been on my mind that I would start a blog about my capstone process this year, and here the moment has finally arrived, on the cusp of spring semester! Last fall, my landscape architecture colleagues at the University of Minnesota and I went through an extensive process to research and begin documenting the information about what would be our capstone site. We were encouraged to match our interests with a site that connected with our interests/passions/foci—in large part so we could and can sustain the work for over a semester.
The site I decided to work on came into my life because i was looking for a coastal site that would be challenged by climate change (sea water rising) had some connection with social justice, and was in an urban area. I decided to choose Newtown Creek, which popped up when I was looking at sites in New York and New Jersey that related to the aforementioned issues.
This week has been focused on accruing base maps and files for our first design charrettes which will be happening next week. Today, I began work reconnecting with the people I originally reached out to in New York to ask questions about the site. My next steps will be asking organizations who are working on Newtown Creek about what they perceive to be future scenarios for the creek—50-100 years into the future. I’ll be looking at the future-focused responses of the Newtown Creek Alliance, SWIM, and River First to align my design response to these goals—essentially connecting the dots through design from the present to a hoped-for scenario.
Before starting an email to Sarah Durand, a researcher who’s been studying the ecology of the creek, I wanted to know more about her, so looked up her information at LaGuardia Community College and came across a series of articles that I had not yet seen regarding her involvement with the clean up: http://ow.ly/sEZJk
As of an article in 2011 (perhaps ancient history) there were plans for wetland restoration along the creek that would be funded. I also read that Dr. Durand has been taking readings of the creeks water quality since 2009.
So, tasked with communication, research, and a portfolio to compile over the next few days, I bid adieu until next week!