A new Kickstarter aims to build a forest in one of the unlikeliest places on the planet: the middle of Times Square. The idea comes from urban ecologist Mariellé Anzelone, founder and executive director of NYC Wildflower Week, and environmental analyst Hugh Reed.
The project, Anzelone explains in a video on the campaign’s page, will turn a plaza in Times Square into a “large scale, temporary nature exhibit” with real trees, plants, soil and flowers. With the PopUP Forest project, the conservationist hopes to make city dwellers more aware of the fact that nature can, and does, exist in this city — and there are things we can do it make it more hospitable for creatures that call NYC’s trees and bushes home. “Trying to save things in a context where people don’t think they exist at all is…impossible,” she says. “Nature exists in our city, and we do nothing for it.”
If built, the forest will partially block out street noise with wildlife sounds from Inwood Hill Park. After its temporary residency in one of the world’s highest-traffic areas, sections of the forest will be permanently relocated to city parks and forests. The $25,000 funds will go to build a design, prototype and a mini-pop-up in Brooklyn this summer, with the hope that the City and Times Square Alliance will approve a full park in 2016.