Amphibious Life of Future Meadowland
Adaptive transition into archipelago 

Instructor: Leena Cho, Alex Wall
Team work with Ziqing Ye, Xuetong Liu
Year: 2018 Spring
Location: Meadowland Area, New Jersey

Site Manifesto

The Native Americans thought of the marshy land they lived in as a resource for food and fur, so they burned, they hunted, and they fished; the early settlers thought of Meadowland as a site for raw materials, so they divided this noman’s land and sell them as properties. As more people moved near Meadowland for its abundant natural resources, these resources became depleted and no longer enough to sustain the constant extraction. Meadowland became a wasteland.

“Such lands are not only unproductive of anything which can subserve any important purpose, but they are productive of numerous evils,” stated in Scientific American in 1868. Wetland became places which needed to be eliminated or “reclaimed” for human use, so people filled, pumped, and dredged.

Not until recently, humans have just started to understand that wetlands are valuable and unique place in our environment, and wetlands do not need to be “fixed” or “improved.” Human action toward wetland turned into protection and preservation.



Meadowland was changing, because of human perception of wetland was changing. When we see it as a resource, we extract; when we see it as a wasteland, we dump; When we see it as worthy, we protect. Meadowland currently is a combination of fenced-off landfill and leisure park space. However, protection of Meadowland can only last so far - when sea level rises, the method we took to protect wetland will become obsolete.

In our project, we are imagining Meadowland to become a place of exchange - human moves in and out, material recycles within the region, new lands emerge as inundated lands disappear. The rising sea level provides opportunities for productivity which constantly evolve with the depth of water level. There will be new jobs to move material, new places for animals to pass through, new parks to see the tidal movement, and new lifestyles to live with water.

To create connections between Meadowland and the surrounding neighborhoods on the higher ground, we are proposing several ecological corridors based on the existing topography and settlement pattern. The increased connections can extend the ecological value of the wetland as well as the value of industrial areas within the Meadowland into the uplands.

Material Circulation
Considering the higher water level in the future, we are proposing a series of operations to recycle materials within the Meadowlands. Through the material exchange and the cut-and-fill of the land, we could both reduce the waste of materials and provide local jobs.

Edge Enrichment
The diverse edges between land and water make great contributions to the local ecological systems. We are proposing the strategy to enrich the edge conditions within the Meadowland to prevent wetland loss from sea level rise.


We chose three sites as demonstration sites for each strategy: Wetlands which are most susceptible to flooding and sea-level rise, industrial site with predominantly large scale warehouses, and residential sites with smaller lots and houses.

(The initial idea of the project was to apply each strategy to each site: Connection to the residential site, Material Exchange to the industrial sites, and Edge Enrichment to wetlands. The above diagram was made based on the initial idea. However, we then realized that it is not possible to separate the three strategies, and instead, we should embrace the complexity of the existing condition and allow the messiness of the landscape strategies to flourish in the Meadowland.)

Understanding Hydropattern

Hydropattern Formation
Wetland Catalog
Succession Section


Landform Transformation

The Study of the Site

Timeline of Meadowland
Historical Operations