Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Eve S. Mosher, Greening the City of New York, One Artwork at a Time

Ms Mosher recently completed her first public artwork, a sea change, in which she marked the line of global warming storm surge with a delicate line of light in Brooklyn parks and along streets in such diverse waterfront neighborhoods as Greenpoint, Dumbo, Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island. Her continuing work will have her mapping out the storm surge line along the waterfront of Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and The Bronx.

Her goal for the project was to bring global warming into the real world for New Yorkers. Mosher says, "New York, with it's extensive coastline is particularly at risk for the affects of global warming - the rise in sea level, coastal erosion, salt marsh depletion, and the increase in the drought-flood cycle." Ms. Mosher was also concerned about being a "harbinger of doom without offering solutions." To offer those solutions, she teamed up with local environmental organizations to develop a public awareness campaign which consisted of a website as well as posters and workshops around Brooklyn. The campaign promoted cheap and easy ways for New Yorkers to have a positive affect on global warming which included simple tips like using compact fluorescent light bulbs, buying local produce and reducing car trips.

Ms. Mosher already has plans for her next project, which she says is an urban take on an infamous earth work in which 10,000 trees were planted in Finland. Ms. Mosher plans to have New York residents greening their rooftops. She says these oases provide not just a wonderful social space (she calls it "the stoop for the 21st century"), but has a measurable affect on the "heat island" affect in New York.


Lisa Hunter said...

I love her ideas. There was actually a U.N. committee a few years ago that debated whether to establish New York as an 'urban biosphere" with all kinds of eco-friendly initiatives, such as the rooftop gardens.

What lots of people overlook, though, is that cities actually ARE very ecologically friendly. People walk. They take public transportation. They share dwelling space. In contrast, suburbs have acres of asphalt.

An ecology study recently examined how many parking spaces would be required if a NYC skyscraper (I think 4 Times Square) relocated all its offices to a suburban office park. The answer was something like 2,000 parking spaces (and, of course, the actual Manhattan building has none).

So yes, New Yorkers, plant foliage on the roof. But pat yourselves on the back while you're at it.

esm said...

I agree, cities are ecologically friendly, but mostly not really by design, more as an afterthought to the neccessities of urban life. There are so many more things that we can consciously chose to do to improve our environment. Most New Yorkers (although not so many city employees apparently) take the train, it's easier and cheaper, and most live in small apartments not because they want small apartments, but because thats what they can afford. Just think what could happen if we actually put a little effort into it.
Here's a relevant quote off the "Big Green Apple" guide site:
"By most accounts, New York is already America's greenest city, simply because people live in smaller homes and rely on public transit. But with the help of Ben Jervey's comprehensive guide, New Yorkers can now take that unconcious environmentalism and extend it with a few powerful modifications of their ways of life. If they do, then someday Gotham will join places like Oslo and Stockholm as truly ecological metropolises." -Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
So green the roof, change your lightbulbs, insulate your home or apartment, buy a bicycle (and use it!), reduce/reuse/recycle, compost, buy local and then pat yourself on the back.