NYC is one of the most urbanized areas on the planet, but 20% of the city is still covered in some form of natural vegetation. As a series of islands and peninsulas, NYC is also surrounded by natural and man-made waterways. These natural areas, often city parks, are rarely pristine remnants in original condition, but do support substantial biodiversity. As we will discuss throughout the course, these sites have long and rich histories of human use, degradation, outright destruction, and recreation as novel emerging ecosystems. Human manipulation of the NYC ecosystem dates back thousands of years to the Lenape Indians and their ancestors, but sped up tremendously after Henry Hudson “discovered” Manhattan 400 years ago (as you will hear about from “Mannahatta” author Eric Sanderson at the Sem. 3 Opening Event). Your assignment is to develop a collaborative multimedia web presentation on the environmental history, contemporary issues, and future of a natural area in NYC.
Your multimedia website should contain the following in some form:
- Maps, photos, video, and/or text portraying the contemporary landscape
- Information on the original geographical features, landscape, species, and human inhabitants (if any) before European settlement
- Historical maps, photos, and/or text describing environmental changes in the area over the years
- Explanation of how specific decisions about development led to the contemporary landscape / conditions at your site (hint: Robert Moses will be an important figure for many of you)
- Drawings, figures, and/or text describing how you would better reconcile the demands of nature and human beings in your area in the future (i.e. reconciliation ecology).
You will need to use all resources at your disposal for this project, but the scientific and historical literature will be particularly important. You are required to have at least 10 APPROPRIATE CITATIONS for your project. Appropriate citations are technical journal articles, books, and artworks; only half may be from non-technical popular sources. You may use websites, Wikipedia, etc, for background research, but these do not count towards your graded citation list.
Two excellent resources for finding journal articles are Google Scholar (note this is not the regular Google search), and Web of Science. To use Web of Science, you must be on the Baruch network or log on to the Newman library remotely. Go to the Newman library website, click on the “Find a Database” tab in the bottom left, and type in Web of Science. The New York Public library, especially the branch at 42nd St and 5th Ave and their NYC history website, the Museum of the City of New York, and the NYC Parks Dept websites, will also be important resources.
The course ITF, Ms. Emily Sherwood, is available for consultation on the technical aspects of constructing your presentation. All pictures, maps, etc that you use from outside sources must be properly cited in your presentation. Wikipedia is a good model for how to cite sources on a website. You are not allowed to copy and paste text from websites or other sources, even if it is cited. You must paraphrase and rewrite everything in your own words with the exception of short quotes (i.e. one or two sentences maximum, and only used sparingly!). Please confer with the instructor if you have any questions
Important Dates for Multimedia Project:
Monday, 08/30 You will form a research group with 2-3 other students
Monday, 10/04 Photos / videos of your site (at least one containing group members!) and 10 scientific / historical citations discovered during background work
Monday, 11/08 Rough draft of web presentation with all sections described above
Wednesday 12/08 In-class presentation and discussion of nearly-final project
Monday, 12/13 Final project due (taking in to account feedback from presentation)