Instructor: Eric Sanderson
The Mannahatta Project changed how New Yorkers see their city, literally and figuratively, juxtaposing the urban, culturally diverse landscape of Manhattan with the forested, ecologically diverse island of Mannahatta, as it existed just prior to European discovery 400 years ago [see Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City (Abrams, 2009), and themannahattaproject.org.] Environmental study seniors work with Dr. Eric Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society, to launch Mannahatta beyond the boundaries of Manhattan and encompass the rest of New York City: from the beaches of Brooklyn to the river valleys of the Bronx, from the seascape of Queens to the forested uplands of Staten Island. Students synthesize materials across a broad sweep of disciplines (including geomorphology, landscape ecology, archaeology and conservation biology) within a geographically uniform, computational framework, based on geographic information system (GIS) analysis of historical and modern documents. These technical geographic operations will be placed in context of practical and theoretical considerations of how the past shapes the present, how the present sets the stage for the future, and how we motivate ecologically-positive futures for New York City and the world.
Watch this capstone presentation on YouTube.