On July 19 Governors Island, a172-acre parkabout half a mile offthe southern tip of Manhattan, will open its new centerpiece: “The Hills”—as the four enormous mounds are called—will span ten acres and give visitors amazing views, art installations, and plenty of space for play and relaxation. They’ll also be a model for protecting a city vulnerable to climate change-powered storms and sea level rise.
When the Trust for Governor’s Islandimagined the site in 2006, the term resiliency wasn’teven in the vocabulary of New Yorkers, says Trust president Leslie Koch. This was years before Superstorm Sandy, after all. But in 2007, Koch and her colleagues selected West 8, a Dutch architecture and landscape design firm known for the attention it pays to the threat of climate change, to lead the project.“We got a crash course in what it meant, before everyone else,”says Koch.