New York City Urban Field Station

Living Memorials

Living Memorials Project

[photo:] Stewards working at a memorial on the Brooklyn waterfront.  Photo provided by Living Memorials Project National Registry.New York City Urban Field Station staff conducted a multi-year research project on the role of stewardship of trees and open space in collective resilience after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Living Memorials Project documented and investigated over 700 memorials nationwide, made them accessible in an online National Registry, and findings were synthesized in articles, reports, presentations, and a multimedia DVD. Research themes examine the emergence of September 11 memorials as part of a socio-ecological process of disturbance and resilience and the ways in which ordinary space becomes sacred.


The public multi-media exhibition Land-Markings: 12 Journeys through 9/11 Living Memorials was on display at the National Park Service’s Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street, gaining exposure to approximately 200 visitors/day for 3 weeks.  The exhibit development was incorporated in the curriculum of 500 undergraduate freshmen at Parsons “The New School for Design”.   It also traveled to the Forest Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in April 2007 and was a part of the September 11 display at the Connecticut Historical Society in September 2007.  The exhibit catalog and DVD is now available free for public use, and the videos can be viewed online.


The Forest Service also created a Memorandum of Understanding with Voices of September 11th to continue to conduct collaborative research and documentation of 9/11 living memorials nationwide.


  • The Trees premieres on WNET in NYC on 9/11/16. This documentary features the story of the design and construction of NYC’s 9/11 Memorial Park and highlights the Forest-Service led Living Memorials Project and work by research scientists Lindsay Campbell and Erika Svendsen.
  • A new Storymap tells the story of 9/11 Survivor Trees as symbols of community recovery. A new 2016 update to the Living Memorials Project National Registry includes information about sites in the New York City region that have been studied longitudinally to understand how stewardship of these sites persists and changes over time.

Research Products