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storms and currents in new york harbor

The Rising Currents exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York asked several teams of designers to consider proposals to address the conditions of rising tides and storm surges. As New York prepares to shut down with the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy the importance of waterfront infrastructure planning is underlined.

The 2010 Rising Currents exhibition presented speculations by five teams of landscape architects, architects and urban designers who engaged with landscape conditions and processes to respond to, mitigate and prevent the possibility of flooding in the New York Harbor area.

Considering waterfront infrastructure New York Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) is requesting proposals for New York Waterfront Construction. Change the Course has a deadline of November 15.

[image: Architecture Research Office and dlandstudio]

mapping manhattan – street names

Uncovering The Origins Of Manhattan Street Names, Past And Present

Lumber Street was one of the first streets laid out beyond the city wall. It corresponds to the present Trinity Place between Exchange Place and Liberty Street.

The street first appears on Manhattan maps beginning about 1695, prior to the granting of the surrounding land to Trinity Church in 1705. The church yard was situated along the east side of Lumber when the original church was constructed facing Broadway near Wall Street. In 1761, the church ceded the land that ran along the line of Lumber Street to the northern boundary of the church property, which bordered on the farm of Leonard Lispenard near present day Leonard Street. Lumber Street was renamed Trinity Place after the church in 1846.

The name Lumber Street probably has its origin in the street’s position near the waterfront, near lots where goods were piled. It is interesting to note that early New Yorkers used the names Lumber and Lombard interchangeably for the street, creating some confusion. In 1792, the Common Council officially noted the problem and ordained that the street officially be called Lumber.

And confused they were; a city directory from 1807 warned, “Care should be taken to understand the difference of the spelling of Lombard and Lumber, as the want of attention to this has led many strangers astray.”

While to the modern English-speaker, Lumber and Lombard may not seem so similar as to cause confusion, one can imagine the words sounding very much alike when spoken with the British-tinged inflection of an original Yankee.

crossing lines

Image: Grand Central Station, New York City

Architect and urban designer Petra Kempf makes lyrical drawings that explore the dynamism and metaphorical possibilities of lines. Crossing Lines presents six of her most recent drawings from the series in situ as well as Kempf’s interactive game You Are the City, where viewers examine the changing palimpsest of historical and geological layers within the city. Kempf’s drawings are part of her continued exploration of the changing and shifting conditions of cities in both general and specific terms. Inspired by the writings of philosopher Gilles Deleuze, Kempf examines how our understanding of the city—in visible and tangible forms—must also be dynamic and fluid.


below the surface in liverpool

Bookings are now being taken to enter the mysterious underground Williamson’s Tunnels [1]. As described by the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels, they are a labyrinth of tunnels and underground caverns in Liverpool that were built in the first few decades of the 1800’s by a retired tobacco merchant called Joseph Williamson. Although there are many theories, the reason for their construction is not known with any certainty. The Friends website suggests that they may have been constructed from pure philanthropy, offering work to the unemployed of the district, to religious extremism, the tunnels being an underground haven from a predicted Armageddon.

A public square named after Williamson can be found in the centre of Liverpool. Between 2004 and 2007 it was redesigned by landscape architect’s Camlins [2].



growing city / shrinking city

By the early 1900’s Liverpool’s population had grown to almost one million people [1] with a significant immigration from Ireland. Due to the potato famine 300 000 Irish people arrived in Liverpool in the twelve months following 1847  – most of whom then emigrated to the east coast of North America.

New York’s population during that time (1950’s) was about 100 000 more than Liverpool’s, however, it continued to grow until the 1950’s where it peaked at just under eight million inhabitants [2]. Although New York’s population has remained consistent Liverpool’s shrunk dramatically. Liverpool now has almost half the population that it had a century ago.



unexpected guests

New York based Landscape Architect, James Corner, has been invited to work with Fritz Haeg at this years Liverpool Biennial. Their work is part of the Unexpected Guest programme and it sets out 100 propositions for Everton Park [1] in the north of the city. The Unexpected Guest is a programme of public installations and artworks at the Liverpool Biennial this year. The theme explores hospitality extended to strangers: ‘In a globalising world, increasing mobility and interdependence are changing the rules of hospitality. There are different ‘cultures of hospitality’ often increasingly co-existent in the same place.’ [2]

Corner, who once worked in the north-west of England said of the project: “I agreed to do this project because Liverpool is cool.”




buying up liverpool

It appears that Liverpool has become an attractive investment for US businesses and personalities. In April it was confirmed that Miami Heat’s LeBron James was a minor shareholder of Liverpool Football Club [1]. A week later it was announced that the New York Times was the second largest shareholder of the Merseyside club [2]. The Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team which also became Liverpool F.C.’s major shareholder in 2010, has over recent years increased the profile of the English club in North America providing opportunities to grow the already global brand.