Kate Orff: Oyster-tecture: Reviving New York City’s rivers with oysters

Featured in the Gaurdian Daily and Harvard Design Magazine 33 Landscape Architect Kate Orff’s SCAPE/Landscape Architecture has created waves in the ecology/ landscape environemtal field with her restoration of damaged habitats and a radical design that is driven by ecological process to generate many levels of urban intervention is an example of the best of Landscape Urbanism’s goals and inspirational for how we might use natural process to regenerate our own decimated shellfish industries

View her December 2010 TEDwomen talk

From her Harvard DEsign Interview : ”

Can you talk about your Oyster-tecture project?

The outlines of the Oyster-tecture project germinated in a paper I wrote on New York’s Jamaica Bay estuary, “Cosmopolitan Ecologies,” an essay in GATEWAY: Visions for an Urban National Park appearing in 2011. Oyster-tecture aims to reset the regional ecology and community participation dynamics by growing thousands of oysters and seeding them out on a public reef and archipelago in the New York harbor. Oysters very effectively purify water and build up reefs to attenuate waves. We are now working in a sort of self-initiated “design development” phase to carry this project through in non-conventional ways, reaching out to politicians and the Port Authority, participating in city waterfront planning revisions, meeting with local oyster-lover groups, engaging people through communicating local history, and trying to get our “Oyster Dock” pilot project funded. The idea was to help start a movement, not do a design.

Oyster-tecture evolved out of a set of smaller projects already under way in the harbor, and we worked with the help of a range of scientists from NY/NJ Baykeeper, enthusiasts from the Gowanus Dredgers, the New York Harbor School, and smaller independent groups. Working with community members (the “Harbor consortium”) and key decision-makers (MoMA, commissioners, etc.), we found a sort of sweet spot of operating between science and design, top-down and bottom-up approaches.”

You can read more about her project in an interview here on  faslanyc

All Images Scape Landscape Architecture PLLC

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