Thursday, January 22, 2009

aqua.URB.anism || NY Moon WATER Issue

Interactive Map of the Water Systems of Manhattan, via New York Moon

The current edition of the New York Moon, “an internet-based publication adhered to the lunar phases of the real waxing, waning moon,” is dedicated to Water:

It billows in the lower atmosphere; it falls in drops or sheets or buckets or cats and dogs; it is drunk; it is sprayed over the breadbasket fields; it is peed; it slices down sluices, levels locks, tumbles through turbines in hydroelectric dams, courses through cataracts and rumbles over Mosi-oa-Tunya tunneling out its gorges; it vaporizes; it is cried; it fills the vast fields over which tankers and pirates zoom and under which manta rays skate; it gives and sustains Life (see, Fertile Crescent, primordial ooze); it also takes it away (see, Ophelia, Kursk); it is composed of three atoms — Hydrogen, Oxygen, Hydrogen; it envelops Dead Sea bathers, bears away bits of Venice and serves as boundaries to be crossed only if the intention is to helm the Ship of State past the treacherous waters of the shining Cyclades. It runs off.

Thus states the opening page of the issue. A few of the issue’s articles demonstrate the delicate balance between water and urban areas. “The Sick Waters of Voronezh” gives a first hand account of the intimate relationship between a Russian city and its water supply throughout history.

One of the amazing features of the issue is an interactive map of the “Water Systems of Manhattan” demonstrating Manhattan’s natural hydrology with overlaid maps from 1865 and today.

Beneath New York’s lattices of concrete, iron and landfill lie dozens of organic waterways. Using data from an 1865 sanitation map and contemporary satellite photographs, this projection depicts Manhattan as a vascular organ, whose obscure operation has had a powerful bearing on the fate of the city…Created for the department of sanitation, the map was a reminder that natural water systems, entombed beneath modern accumulations, hidden from view, could still have monumental effects on the functioning of city life. Indeed, structural engineers and city planners continue to consult the Viele map as the authoritative survey of Manhattan’s water systems.

Other interesting articles include a story which casts Wall Street as a waterlogged version of Pompeii and a proposal to extend IKEA’s flatpack/fabrication logic “beyond the limits of conventional architecture to the biological construction of fauna inhabiting the watery zones surrounding the city.”

note: found via BLDGBLOG.

See Previous: Water Worlds

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