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Habit Habitat Habitus: Central Park Futures

Central Park represents a landmark of urban wildlife, tourists, migrating birds, and unseen dwellers. However, unearthing its historical and geopolitical layers reveals a plantation logic characterized by dispossession, alteration, and control of land in the name of the public good. The Central Park Conservancy—an appointed private entity that manages the park—benefits from commodifying landscape elements such as trees, pavements, and benches and receiving income from real estate developments priced based on their adjacency and view towards the park. This project proposes a disruptive policy of public park stewardship with a park-view tax, removing the need for private management and freeing up the land back to the public—a post-plantation future of deterritorialization, symbiosis, and utter blending between the humans and non-humans of Central Park. Ecological propositions are drawn in a novel tapestry of pollinators, birds, amphibians, mammals, humans, soil, water, and air. Bringing ecosystems into spaces typically dominated by humans, these co-living futures create unusual forms of independencies and interdependencies, allowing unique imaginaries of caretaking models where humans can understand themselves as part of the ecology. Moving away from its exclusive capitalist precedent, we can implement this new model in all NYC parks. A hundred years from now, when boundaries dissolve and roadways become obsolete, one can imagine a sustainable city where fauna, flora, and humans live in an adaptive entanglement of habit, habitat, habitus.