Too often, site remediation involves large fences, closed access, and unsightly machines. Is there a way, through landscape, that we can have accessible, and even beautiful brownfield remediation?
The task here was to research a toxic compound that is often found in brownfield sites, find a site within Toronto that is likely to have the chosen pollutant, compose a photomontage of how a phytoremediation strategy could create an interesting transition period towards the time that the site might become viable for development.
I chose to study Mercury. I found that the species Populous deltoides has the potential to clean sites contaminated with mercury through phytovolatization, a process by which mercury is taken up through the roots, converted to a less toxic form through photosynthesis, and released into the air through the leaves. This is the only known method of phytoremediation for mercury.
The site chosen is a parking lot in the Corktown district of Toronto. The design involves the breaking of pavement and planting a large grove of Cottonwood trees amongst the pieces. Through this grove runs a raised path to allow access through the site. Scattered among the trees are magnified drops of 'mercury' both as a reminder of the past, and an allusion to the process in place to clean the site.