In the mid-nineteenth century, Ridgewood Reservoir was built to supply Brooklyn, New York with fresh drinking water. Decommissioned in 1958, Ridgewood Reservoir is now 50 acres of naturalized area with overgrown vegetation, closed off to the public. With a thriving wetland ecosystem and vast forested areas, it is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. However, the existing ecosystems risk being overtaken by non-native, invasive species, revealing a need for improved access to each basin for land management. Desire for ecological preservation and stewardship has been a strong cultural point for the surrounding communities.
In partnership with NYC H2O, a local community organization that oversees the site, we created a design for the Reservoir to address the potential for this site
to become a living study in urban stewardship and responsible plant and wildlife management practices. We propose creating educational walking paths and architectural follies to immerse park-goers in the forested landscapes and uncover the historical, ecological evolution of a beautifully enigmatic but lost site.
The revitalization of historic Ridgewood Reservoir is perfectly poised to address issues of environmental justice, ecological conservation, and historic preservation for the surrounding neighborhoods. Historically marginalized bordering communities will gain access to meaningful public ecological spaces. The project will create a framework for environmental stewardship that ties human and non-human communities together in the era of the Anthropocene.