New York City-based non-profit CultureNOW has published its Lower Manhattan “Then and NOW Map,” a project of history and urban archaeology that seeks to capture the multitude of stories that have shaped the physical and cultural landscape of the city’s southern end. The map of superimposed timescapes highlights the places and events of historical significance, charting infrastructure development, disasters, crime, and defense trends, and the growth of retail presence.
On one side, Lower Manhattan “Then” superimposes three different historical maps that provide a snapshot of what the area looked like at three critical points: 1800, 1850, and 1900.
Lower Manhattan “NOW” shows the city as it is today and what it might look like in the future, with details about Superstorm Sandy’s impact and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s projected flood zone, which shows a 31-inch rise in sea levels, as reported by AIA New York Center for Architecture.
The project was started by five students, four from Harvard Graduate School of Design and one from City College, who set out to research what happened to the downtown area, and to tell a complex story about its development, according to a press release from cultureNOW. The historical map details city infrastructure such as ferries, horse carriage routes, and elevated trains, with future infrastructure, like the bridge networks, dotted in. The NOW map shows current ferries, subway routes, cultural institutions, memorials and artwork inspired by the history of the area.