Community-Based Memorials to September 11, 2001: Environmental Stewardship as Memory Work

  • Erika S. SvendsenEmail author
  • Lindsay K. Campbell


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.


Living 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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NYC Urban Field Station, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research StationBaysideUSA

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