Monday, November 30, 2009

Manifest Destiny in D.C. Landscape Architecture

LOOK HERE: A TASTE OF DUBAI, right on the Potomac River! Via Greater Greater Washington, Nikolas Schiller points us to a 112-year-old plan to turn the Potomac River's former tidal flats into a United States-shaped park complete with visions of a nation that stretches down through Mexico and Central America. Down near Panama, there's a convenient canal leading to an interior Tidal Basin-like lagoon, complete with a Cuba and a mini-Eastern Seaboard that ends at the foot of the Washington Monument at today's Constitution Avenue (right where the Potomac levee's missing gap is at 17th Street NW). Missing from the manifest destiny/landscape architecture proposal are Alaska and Hawaii.

According to a previous incarnation of The Washington Times, the park would have had some elevation to represent the Rocky Mountains, about three feet high.

Over in Dubai, do the World Islands constructed in the shape of the globe have any elevation? What about the Maldives? (Speaking of the Maldives, here's a great weekend Financial Times interview with the nation's president, Mohamed Nasheed, who recently held a cabinet meeting underwater to demonstrate the threat his low-lying archipelago faces from climate change.

» "A Projected Relief Park Map of the United States – The Washington Times, March 28, 1897" [Nikolas Schiller via GGW]
» "Afternoon tea with the FT: Mohamed Nasheed" [FT]