The Gowanus Lowline “Connections” Competition dealt primarily with the topic of urban development in postindustrial lands and whether designers could establish potential overlaps between the needs of the Gowanus Canal Community and the needs of site regeneration and watershed based planning design parameters. Since the Gowanus Canal is categorized by the EPA as a Superfund site, designers needed to be innovative about how to intertwine cleansing processes with the provision of quality urbanscape. Two entries were considerably successful in this regard: the honorable entry “Domestic Laundry” proposal by AGER Group, and the First Prize winning entry titled “Gowanus Flowlands”.
According to AGER Group, the “Domestic Laundry” project (featured above), uses a variety of bioremediation and site cultivation methods like the “Flushing Basin” or cleansing wetland, “Curtain” or vertical filter, “Mattress” or microbial matrix medium, and “Pillow” or soil cleansing berm” among other techniques. Their goal was also to involve and connect people to place in “the processes of site remediation”, which makes this proposal very strong with respect to how place making and site regeneration should come together.
In a similar way, the winning entry “Gowanus Flowlands” proposal by Tyler Caine, Luke Carnahan, Ryan Doyle, and Brandon Specketer, suggests the need to “live with remediation”. They argue that “a truly sustainable urban ecosystem depends on creating a vibrant and walkable community that is both ecologically and economically self-supportive. The success of the neighborhood relies on this pair of systems being spatially and functionally complimentary to each other.” With their strategy to “peel up the layers of fertile substrate”, the team sought to integrate a wetland ecosystem that could also organize the circulation patterns of pedestrians and thus successfully connect the water “treatment train” levels with the walkable community.