Environmental Sustainability Made Tangible

The Mannahatta Project

In this podcast, Richard Evans talks with Eric Sanderson, a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and artist Mary Miss, about their boundary breaking projects that make environmental issues personal, visceral, and tangible for New York City residents.  Their projects are grantees of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2011 Cultural Innovation Fund award and part of a cohort of 16 organizations being documented by EmcArts/ArtsFwd over the next two years.

In this 23-minute podcast, Sanderson talks about his project Mannahatta 2409, a new interactive website that allows every citizen to create their own vision of a sustainable New York City at a block by block level and share it with others.  The goal of the project is to engage the public’s imagination in one of the greatest challenges of our generation: designing the sustainable city.

Mary Miss talks about 1000 Steps of Broadway, her project that brings artists and scientists together to create a series of physical interventions at key points along the 225 block corridor of Broadway. The goal of the project is to redefine the role of artists in creating a more environmentally sustainable New York City, a task typically left to government agencies.


Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Sanderson is the author of “Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City,” and curated an exhibition based on the Mannahatta Project on display at the Museum of the City of New York. Sanderson also guided creation of this website that allows users to explore Mannahatta in comparison to Manhattan today (see Explore page).

Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time.  She has developed the “City as Living Lab“, a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts, with Marda Kirn of EcoArts Connections.

Richard Evans is the President Emeritus of EmcArts, where he directs program design, research, and strategic partnerships that place a particular emphasis on innovation, adaptive organization change, and effective ways that the arts and culture field can respond to the demands of a new era.