Navy Yard Hospital Memorial Landscape
A plot of land that was once used as the final resting place for 2,000 U.S. marines and navy crew is being transformed as part of a larger plan by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI), which is developing unused space around the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a lush waterfront. The 1.7-acre former naval cemetery will become the Navy Yard Hospital Memorial Landscape, a meadow of native plants with raised pedestrian walkways, designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Rogers Marvel Architects.
The bodies of sailors were transferred nearly a century ago, but BGI worked to create an outdoor environment that honours the site’s history. Pedestrians will move through the park on raised wooden walkways that will hover over a meadow of indigenous New York species. The landscape of native plants will welcome pollinators such as bees, moths, and butterflies. The former graves will be outlined with elevated, illuminated steel frames. As the meadow grows, the new ecological system will thrive.
Researchers at the BGI have partnered with The Green School of East Williamsburg and Brooklyn Community Housing and Services (BCHS) to study the effects of nature on stressed communities. Using the open space and eco-meadow as a laboratory, ninth-grade students at the new Green School are learning about soil science, hydrology and biology. The project will also engage BCHS residents in on-site programmes run by the Horticultural Society of New York, encouraging them to interact with the nature available in their nearby community.
Researchers will evaluate both groups throughout the lifetime of the project, measuring their reaction and response to the natural space as it develops. The primary objective is to evaluate how exposure to a nearby natural site impacts people’s engagement with their surroundings, society, and school. Construction will start in 2015, and research will continue beyond the site development phase.
CITYGREEN, January 15, 2015.