Gandong Cai, Mingjie Cai October 2018
Award: Honorable Mention
Instead of asking the question “what would Olmsted do today”, a proper question should be “who can be the new Olmsted”. Given that Olmsted not only designed the greatest park ever in the world but also first time defined the concept of modern urban park, the new Olmsted should be the one who gives new definition to urban park on the occasion of eco-terrorist attack.
If the world’s landscape is an interconnected network and the new central park is the hub, then it should act as the control and surveillance center of the system rather than an isolated piece of great artwork. The reconstruction of the “wealth’s backyard” will result in nothing but another attack by the eco-terrorist, who advocated for the awareness of environmental crisis relates to economic activities. Thus, we pretend to be the heads of eco-terrorist and propose a Park Central Action Plan which contains three strategies.
Forest Trade: In the past 18 years, 500,000 Central Park worth of forest has lost -- we are losing 76 Central Park every day somewhere in the world for almost two decades. According to the Forest Trade strategy, when a new tree is planted in the park, synchronously 25,000 trees (the total number of trees the old Central Park owned) must be planted in one of the deforestation areas in the world. The Gaians Bees destroyed the park will become the new pollinator and activator carrier in the robotic era to help new trees grow faster and healthier.
Occupation: The old Central Park was too big and the Manhattan Island was too tight. The Occupation strategy suggests that the Manhattan grid extends into the new park gradually, providing new developable space for the city. The developments are limited to affordable housing and public facilities, and the open space is designed to be shared with the returning local wildlife. The new Central Park doesn’t need a zoo and the exotic animals lived in the zoo should be sent back to their original habitats. The Occupation strategy will raise funds for operating the park and planting trees in the world, as well as sending the exotic animals back.
Central (Control) Valley: The old park was gone and the new one is not a replica. However, the collective memories are brought back to space through art installation and visual infrastructure in several important historical spots, which are linked by a South-North trail calls the Central Valley. Here the live data -- the shrinking forest area in the world, the new trees planted under the action plan and so on -- are showing on digital screen and visitors’ mobile devices. Walking through the Central Valley is a dual sensual experience of reviewing the good-old-days of Central Park as well as understanding the park’s new character of global surveillance center.