Community-Based Memorials to September 11, 2001: Environmental Stewardship as Memory Work
This chapter investigates how people use trees, parks, gardens, and other natural resources as raw materials in and settings for memorials to September 11, 2001. In particular, we focus on ‘found space living memorials’, which we define as sites that are community-managed, re-appropriated from their prior use, often carved out of the public right-of-way, and sometimes for temporary use. These memorials are created as part of traditional mourning rituals and acts of remembrance, but are not limited to formally consecrated sites or the site of the tragedy. They are dispersed throughout the city in everyday and highly public landscapes such as traffic islands, sidewalks, waterfronts, and front yards, demonstrating how ordinary spaces can become sacred. We present several forms of found space community-based living memorials in and around New York City: shrines, viewshed parks, gardens in the public right-of-way, and tree plantings. These cases provide evidence that community-managed memorials are self-organizing, democratic processes which develop independently of state-led memorial initiatives.
KeywordsLiving memorial • Community-managed space • September 11, 2001 • Social meaning • Stewardship • Greening
This research was supported by the USDA Forest Service as a part of the Living Memorials Project, which was created and funded at the request of Congress following September 11, 2001.
- Burch, W. R., Jr., & Grove, J. M. (1993). People, trees and participation on the urban frontier. Unasylva, 44, 19–27.Google Scholar
- Folke, C., Colding, J., et al. (2003). Synthesis: Building resilience and adaptive capacity in social-ecological systems. In F. Berkes, J. Colding, & C. Folke (Eds.), Navigating social-ecological systems: Building resilience for complexity and change (pp. 352–387). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Foote, K. E. (1997). Shadowed ground: America’s landscapes of violence and tragedy. Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
- Lofland, J., & Lofland, L. H. (1984). Analyzing social settings: A guide to qualitative observation and analysis. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.Google Scholar
- Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. (2003a, February 27). The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announce selection of Studio Daniel Liebeskind: Memory foundations as a design concept for the World Trade Center site. Press Release, Retrieved 22 December 2009, from. http://www.renewnyc.com/displaynews.aspx?newsid=41c07ff1-9b1a-41a2-866b-8aa8148b6736
- Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. (2003b, April 10). Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces members of jury for International World Trade Center site memorial. Press Release, Retrieved 22 December 2009, from http://www.wtcsitememorial.org/pdf/04.10.03.pdf.
- Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. (2003c, July 17). Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces final number of submissions for the World Trade Center site memorial competition. Press Release, Retrieved 22 December 2009, from http://www.wtcsitememorial.org/pdf/07.17.03.pdf.
- Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. (2004, January 14). Architect Michael Arad and Landscape Architect Peter Walker unveil winning design for World Trade Center site memorial: Reflecting absence. Press Release, Retrieved 22 December 2009, from http://www.wtcsitememorial.org/pdf/01.14.04.pdf.
- Municipal Art Society. (2003). Imagine New York: Toward the people’s memorial, Summary Report.Google Scholar
- Sirianni, C., & Friedland, L. (2001). Civic innovation in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Sommer, R., Learey, F., et al. (1994). Social benefits of residential involvement in tree planting: Comparison with developer planted trees. Journal of Arboriculture, 20(6), 323–328.Google Scholar
- Svendsen, E. (2009). Cultivating resilience: Urban stewardship as a means to improving health and well-being. In L. Campbell & A. Wiesen (Eds.), Restorative commons: Creating health and well-being through urban landscapes. Newtown Square: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.Google Scholar
- Svendsen, E. S., & Campbell, L.K. (2005). Living memorials project: Year 1 social and site assessment. General Technical Report. Newtown Square, PA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station.Google Scholar
- Svendsen, E. S., & Campbell, L. K. (2006). Land-markings: 12 Journeys through 9/11 living memorials. General Technical Report. Newtown Square, PA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.Google Scholar
- Tidball, K. G., & Krasny, M. E. (2007). From risk to resilience: What role for community greening and civic ecology in cities? In A. Wals (Ed.), Social learning: Towards a more sustainable world (pp. 149–164). Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
- Van der Leeuw, G. (1986). Religion in essence and manifestation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Young, J. E. (1994). The texture of memory: Holocaust memorials and meaning. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar