Heritage + hybrid landscape

H+N+S finalist in “Reimagine the Canals” competition

From the inception of the New York State Canal System in 1825, the canals have created new opportunities for New Yorkers in how they live, work, and play. As the Canal System enters its third century of operation the competition “Reimagine the Canals” was launched, that seeks the best ideas to become an engine for economic growth and world-class tourism.

News Sept. 18, 2018, Amersfoort

Out of 145 entries, H+N+S is part of one of seven teams that have been appointed as finalists. The design team consisted of members from Cornell Design, Ricard Pie Ninot and Cornell Cooperative Extension and H+N+S Landscape Architects. This collaboration resulted in a landscape-based strategy called “Upstate Archipelago” 

Climate change will likely increase the occurrence of natural hazards and threaten the resiliency of food production and wetland ecosystems of Upstate New York. “Upstate Archipelago” considers the declining historic towns on the waterfront that are threatened by these trends, and that can again become connected through the canal, offering a vibrant system of small towns for locals and tourists alike.

Problem statement map

The strategy focuses on the design of hybrid landscape infrastructures along the canal that combines floodability, experimental agriculture, and responsible leisure as means to enhance biodiversity, safety, healthier environments, and economic resiliency. 

Four tools in the hybrid landscape toolbox
Toolbox map
Clyde waterfront
Hybrid agriculture frameworks
Mine excavation as flood mitigation

In each floodable area, a combination of actions of the hybrid landscapes tool box, would multiply the canals’ potential, and should both convey the singularity of each location and use signs to show how it pertains to the entire navigable system, with built and landscape elements in a legible way.

Upstate archipelago

The result of the competition is expected in early October this year. The winning team(s) will be rewarded $2.5 million to see their plan developed further and executed. Read more about the competition and the other finalists here: Reimagine the canals