click to read detail: derive.pdf
During the Circle Line tour, I was most interested in the relationship between riverfront construction and the river itself. How has the river been commodified throughout history, and what is its role now? The construction of luxury apartment buildings along the river show that riverfront views are highly sought after. Parks are built along the river to enjoy nature and the scenery. Are we as a culture (in this city, specifically) interested only in the view that the river gives us? We appreciate it, but often mostly in the cosmetic sense. These parks allow for appreciation of its beauty, yet they also increase the amount of tourism to the waterfront, thus bringing along many issues such as improper waste disposal – polluting the waters that we are there to “appreciate.” We commodify the river for its views, equate it to and exploit it for its high economic value, yet do not properly “repay” our dues to it, in many areas. My main contemplation throughout this “derive” was what is our current relationship to the river. Is it a positive one? How can we improve this relationship? Is building right up to the water’s edge an irresponsible idea?
Question: what is your opinion on riverfront/waterfront construction? Do you believe our relationship with the rivers in New York City is exemplary of commodification?