Mertz Library Humanities

Hidden Ecologies: Assessing the Use and Stewardship of Urban Waterfronts

Friday, January 17, 2020

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Photo of a chair washed up on a beachIt is estimated that by 2030 more than 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, the majority of which are located in coastal or riparian regions. Urbanization along waterfront areas has led to widespread destruction of coastal wetlands, shorelines, and reefs, where sewage runoff, dredging, and overharvesting have majorly destructive ecological impacts. However, some studies have suggested that even in polluted areas, urban waterscapes provide recreation, income, and food for significant numbers of people. This talk will explore the uses, perceptions, and meanings associated with urban waterfronts in New York City through a case study analysis of the Coney Island Creek, Brooklyn. The Coney Island Creek is one of the most polluted waterbodies in New York City, yet on any given day in the summer, hundreds of people can be found fishing, recreating, and bathing in its waters. This study contributes to a growing set of research on uses and stewardship associated with urban waterfronts, thus furthering knowledge of how to improve current environmental governance strategies in coastal cities.

Support for the Humanities Institute provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation