The term “concrete jungle” gives off a juxtaposed impression where each opposing word complements each other. Niles Eldredge and Sidney Horenstein use the magnificence of New York City as a case study to show how a city can survive with a support system while deterring the system simultaneously, in the book Concrete Jungle. As people crave the city flavor, they subconsciously destroy the fabric by expanding and living on unnecessary needs.
In general, our lakes quickly fill up with soil, our land contours sink, and our ecosystems disappear. In the case of Manhattan, Hudson River dumping and erosion projects in natural marshes lead to financial success, while Manhattan Island is losing.
Historically, America was connected to Africa and Europe, until Atlantic Ocean divided the land. In Manhattan, these changes caused pre-existing basins, plate collisions, erosions, and destroyed fossils to bury underground. The geological glaciers are reminders that we were once connected to the world. This is an example of a forest primeval, uninfluenced by human activity.
Today, Manhattan avenues follow the parallel direction of rock formation underneath the street grid. The curved streets in lower Manhattan resemble colonial settlements of Europeans, which were once connected to our land. The irregular street grid was shaped by a long history of political disputes and natural land reactions. This is another example of forest primeval and what still exists of today’s concrete jungle.
In Central Park, large boulders are now recreational places. Paths along Fifth Avenue curve down into the park, where grooves lead you into New York’s landscaping, bridges and man-made pond.
We attempt to build what was lost, as we were originally connected to the rest of the world.
This book explores how humanity hopes to control what’s left of forest primeval in the concrete jungles and as an example for others to follow for a sustainable future.