Building Islands: Five Boroughs at Water’s Edge


[Gena Wirth and the ‘Sand Islands of Jamaica Bay’ map; part of the winning entry to the Museum of Modern Art PS1 Rockaway call for ideas with Ben Mendelsohn and Alex Chohlas Wood]

As part of the ‘Archtober’ event series of the AIA-NY and the New York Center for Architecture, this presentation by Gena Wirth and Tim Maly of the DRC talked about how dredging has contributed to the decline and resurrection of islands and wetlands in Jamaica Bay, and how it might offer a way forward for large coastal cities facing sea level rise, loss of habitat, and need for public space. In this case, dredging the harbor for the Panama Canal Expansion Project has given rise to a new opportunity to create wetlands and restore shorelines in the bay and suggest that more innovative practices are possible.

From filled-in shorelines and deepened harbor, to new island bird habitats and toxic site remediation, New York City is built on, and continues to grow, thanks to dredge. Jamaica Bay is a departure point for talking about the complex systems of humans sediment handling practices.