In June 2013, Fellows of the Forum for Urban Design toured the first phase of construction on Governors Island. Led by Jamie Maslyn Larson, Principal of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, and Leslie Koch, President of the Trust for Governors Island, the Fellows took a sneak peek at over thirty acres of new landscape being developed on the island, including the “hammock grove”, a revitalized historic district, and new ball fields.

While the original aim of the design was to attract New Yorkers to a geographically isolated park throughout the year, the West 8 design team has also had to wrestle with the island’s resiliency in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Through clever landscaping and the introduction of new elevation around the island (including a new park of hills to be as tall as 80 feet), the island will remain largely unaffected by future storms.

Phase I of the island’s makeover broke ground in June 2012 and is expected to be completed by 2013. With plans for new development zones and other new parks on the southern half of the isle, Governors Island will be a world-class work-in-progress in the coming years.