OOS 84-3
Post-industrial ecology, the road less traveled

Friday, August 14, 2015: 8:40 AM
315, Baltimore Convention Center
Frank J. Gallagher, Department of Landscape Architecture, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Han Yan, Landscape Architecture, Rutgers The State University, New Brunswick, NJ
Holly Nelson, Landscape Architecture, Rutger The State University, New Brunswick, NJ
Laurie J. Lawson, Landscape Architecture, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Background/Question/Methods: It is well known that demographic transition is favoring urbanization.  Since 2008 over half of the global population now live in cities[i]. Within this context the adaptive reuse of the post-industrial landscape is becoming an issue of increasing debate. The significance of urban green-space, which will increasingly provide the experiential framework required for the development of an ecological identity, is being questioned. This case study focuses on the public process used to plan for the reclamation of an urban brownfield as an ecological park. The question centered on the juxtaposition of the human/ecological risk, the potential ecological function of the naturally assembled novel community, and the need for public access.  The starting point for the discussion was an environmental assessment and research concerning the potential for contaminant transfer. A broad-based approach was used to develop a General Management Plan for the site. Stakeholders included members of the surrounding community, environmental NGO’s and park staff. This open planning process stressed the fundamental relationship between resource significance and visitor experience.  

Results/Conclusions: Even though postindustrial sites lack an ecological legacy and often do not respond predictably to traditional management practices,[i],[ii]  the consensus plan called for the maintenance or enhancement of the existing vegetative communities. Concerns for contaminant transfer were vetted through the interpretation of the site specific data.

[i] Hobbs, R.J., Harris, J.A., 2001. Restoration ecology: repairing the Earth’s ecosystems in the new millennium. Restoration Ecology 9, pp. 239–246.

[ii] Klotzli, F., Grootjans, A.P., 2001. Restoration of natural and seminatural wetland systems in Central Europe: progress and predictability of developments. Restoration Ecology 9, pp. 209–219


[i]  Flavin C., in 2007. State of the World, Our Urban Future, A World Watch Institute Report on Progress Toward a Sustainable Society. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, pg.3.