The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn has become one of the most polluted waterways in America.
Our task was to quickly remidiate the environment so that the canal’s ecosystem could recover with minimal intervention.
To begin, we involved the local community to help diagnose why wildlife wasn’t able to flourish.
Despite the resourcefulness of ducks, jellyfish and other species, we identified two key factors impeding them from thriving:
1. No Suitable Habbitats for Supporting Wildlife
2. A Lack of Clean, Desalinated Water
Collaborating with specialists in biology and environmental engineering helped us build a ‘toolkit’ of plants to support a range of wildlife.
To test a specific habbitat, we prototyped modular ‘tubes’ which could contain specific plants, or mussels, and quickly deploy them to see if they were able to survive the environment and attract wildlife.
Our tests showed that Solar Stills were the most effective passive process to clean water.
By testing and iterating we evolved our design, ensuring it captured much more heat and ultimately cleaned more water.
By combing multiple ‘tubes’ into clusters, a habbitat capable of supporting a variety of wildlife could be created. This floating lab would be an island of greenery.
Our biggest takeaway was that separating the island into a bunch of smaller clusters would make transportation much easier and require less support structure.
The project was only possible because of collaboration between our team of designers and the local community, government and experts