National Park Experts and Urban Designers Explore the Future of Gateway National Recreation Area and the Nature of New York City

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 11, 2006
Contact:  

Alexander Brash, NPCA Northeast Regional Director, 212-617-2989
Kate Orff, RLA, Professor, Columbia University GSAPP, 212-462-2628

 



National Park Experts and Urban Designers Explore the Future of Gateway National Recreation Area and the Nature of New York City

WHO:  Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), Van Alen Institute (VAI), and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).  Underwritten by The Tiffany & Co Foundation.

WHAT:  “Nature Now:  The Urban Park as Cultural Catalyst.”  The conference is free and open to the public—no registration required. 

WHERE:  Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall, Columbia GSAPP, 1172 Amsterdam Avenue, New York City, 10027

WHEN:  Saturday, October 14, 2006, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

WHY:  The Nature Now symposium will focus on the role of urban parks in imagining new relationships, cultures, and habitats. Scientists, geographers, designers, historians, and park managers will discuss the current state of Gateway National Recreation Area and our urban landscape. Speakers will address the nature of New York City, the evolution of the National Park Service, and the converging fields of design, science, technology, and art to engage new realities and to drive landscape change.

Daniel Botkin, the keynote speaker, is an internationally renowned scientist who studies life from a planetary perspective, a biologist who has helped solve major environmental issues, and a writer about nature. He has directed research on wilderness and natural parks in many parts of the world, from Africa and Siberia to Minnesota; and his book, No Man’s Garden: Thoreau and A New Vision for Civilization and Nature (2000), discusses the character of nature and the relationship between people and nature. Other speakers include Matthew Gandy, author of Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (2003), historian Ethan Carr, and landscape designer Anuradha Mathur.

Created in 1972, Gateway National Recreation Area was established as a unit of the National Park System to provide recreational opportunities for the 22 million residents around New York City. Over the last three decades, large sections of the park remain essentially untouched, suffering from chronic funding shortfalls, decrepit buildings, and dwindling visitor services.  Modern recreational facilities are needed to welcome park visitors and to create an environment suitable for native species to flourish. Thirty years after Gateway’s creation, thousands of acres with great potential lie fallow.

Since 1919, the nonpartisan, nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System.  NPCA, its 300,000 members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit:  www.npca.org.

The Columbia Graduate School of Architecture Planning, and Preservation is a design school that includes Architecture, Urban Design, Historic Preservation, Urban Planning, and Real Estate Development programs, and is committed to the global evolution of the 21st century city.  For more information, visit:  www.arch.columbia.edu.

The Van Alen Institute is an independent New York-based cultural foundation dedicated to informing debate about design in the public realm through a program of competitions and related fellowships, forums, publications and exhibitions.  For more information, visit:  www.vanalen.org.

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