Cultivating Contamination: Floating In-Situ
Krause, Sophie Marie
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Despite its Superfund designation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the nation’s most toxic hazardous waste sites in 2001, Seattle’s Lower Duwamish Waterway (LDW) remains polluted, with a legacy of industrial contaminants persisting in its bottommost sediment. Acknowledging that the permanent removal of this sediment by dredging would provide greater certainty to its cleanup effort, EPA’s final Record of Decision (ROD) for the LDW relies on less effective methods, citing the cost of dredging as a limiting factor. Still working to undo the past hundred years of this contamination, the LDW also faces a costly and floodable future from rising sea levels, with frequencies and magnitude of flooding in its lowest lying neighborhood of South Park estimated to increase as annual flooding events are projected to become monthly events by 2035, and daily events by 2060. Analyzing these constraints through the framework of strategic foresight, this thesis presents a design scenario that strategizes how contaminated dredge can be treated and re-purposed as construction fill for creating nearby flooding infrastructure along the South Park waterfront, as a cost-effective driver for optimizing converging waterway projects. Inverting the formula of form -> function -> material amidst a future of resource scarcity and climate change adaptation, this scenario connects the dots between what the LDW has today (treatable dredge) and what it needs for tomorrow (fill for flooding), proposing the design of a hybrid, living floodwall prototype, as landscape infrastructure that is more ecologically and community performative. Re-framing waste as source, and constraint as opportunity, this scenario responds holistically to a world that now asks landscape infrastructure to do more, with less, and at the same time - resiliently. It is a project built on compromise and dirt.
- Landscape architecture