Response to Mannahatta

The main attempt by Eric W. Sanderson and Marianne Brown in this project is to trace back the history of landscape in Manhattan by looking into the Britain Headquarters map made in 1782. The importance of this map is to show the transformations in the island’s landscape by comparing it to contemporary maps. The trigger for change of New York was the construction of the Erie Canal, which made possible for the city to be a trading hub for the country. From there, the population started to grow exponentially, and landscape was especially affected. Through the project, we understand the intentions of each transformation in the city, but we can also imagine how the city could have developed differently to become more respectful to its previous ecosystem.
This project adds a lot of knowledge to our methodology in Rikers Island. We are interested in the evolution of the Island, how it came to be this type of environment and what it can potentially become in the future after the closure of its facilities. Learning from the Mannahatta project, we can compare historical maps of the island to modern maps and trace back the transformations. Other potentially interesting maps could be the increase of population, the artificial growth of the island using landfill, or map historical locations of prison in New York.

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