This is the Green School's map of the New York City water system. The students used HabitatMap's "Go With the Flow" toolkit to master maps based research methods and apply them to uncover the workings of New York City's water storage, filtration, delivery, and disposal infrastructures. They learned that the water system in place today has been shaped as much by social forces - people's habits, needs, and demands - as it has been by people's labor and the physics of water itself.
Creek Speak is an oral history project that uses HabitatMaps to present the stories of people and places near Newtown Creek. To listen to peoples stories or read about some of the places they mention simply click on a marker. The Creek Speak Project is not intended to prove causality between the environmental burdens in Newtown Creek neighborhoods and public health concerns. Rather, its purpose is to highlight and document the experiential knowledge of individuals who are inside narrators of day-to-day life in these communities.
Every day, nine million New Yorkers discharge 1.5 billion gallons of liquid waste into their sewer system. Underground and out of sight their urine, feces, and food scraps combine with litter and pollution from the street. This nasty brew then navigates 6,000 miles of pipe towards two possible futures: decontamination at one of 14 treatment plants or discharge into New York Harbor via one of 494 sewer overflow outfalls. A sewage overflow can be triggered by as little as a tenth of an inch of rain, which essentially means that almost every time it rains, your toilet flushes directly into New York Harbor.