Saturday, April 17, 2010

coming to a shitty canal near you

Susannah Drake and DLand Studio are behind this marvelous plan to clean up the Gowanus canal. It's called Spongepark.

As far as I know, several of the bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of development have been surmounted, so it looks good for a canal park. Will this inevitably lead to more development around the canal? Doubtless. Cleaner canal=goodbye present character of scrappy Gowanus neighborhood, and hello to more high density development(more luxury condos, gasp!).
Of course it will be nice to combat some of the pollution coming into the canal, especially some of the sewage overflow that enters our waterways during storms. The key strategy to DLand's plan is to line the canal with stormwater runoff swales (think of them as sponges). The swales are comprised of plants that slow down and filter the runoff until it eventually reaches the canal. In this plan the plants act as the bio-accumulators so we don't have to. The benefits are twofold, as redirecting the stormwater from the sewers to the swales also diminishes the amount of raw sewage reaching our waterways thanks to our combined-sewage-overflow infrastructure.

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