Design + Remediation

Design + Remediation


Design + Remediation is an online exhibit featuring a compilation of international brownfield redevelopment projects selected for their creative, sustainable approach to site remediation. Each demonstrates that intelligent and innovative design can turn an environmentally-distressed and underutilized eyesore into a beautiful community asset, while saving millions of dollars in project costs and reducing the carbon footprint of development.

The architects and planners on each of these projects chose to incorporate contaminated soil and other materials directly into the site design, rather than hauling them offsite. Removing materials from a site requires significant input of mechanical and manual energy, and the need for transport vehicles increases the carbon emissions associated with cleanup. The energy-efficient technique of remedial capping reduces both project costs and the environmental impact of development.

CCLR strives to encourage and facilitate responsible land use in order to create sustainable communities, limit urban sprawl and conserve green space. The Design + Remediation exhibit is one approach that CCLR is taking to achieve these goals by promoting green remediation and innovative design. By displaying projects that utilize onsite remediation, Design + Remediation demonstrates that with a little creative thinking sustainable brownfield redevelopment is within our grasp.


Union Point Park PGA Design, Mario Schjetnan Oakland, CA 2004

Gas Works Park Richard Haag Seattle, WA 1975

Thames Barrier Park Patel Taylor, Group Signes London, England 2000

Rincon Park Office of Cheryl Barton San Francisco, CA 2000

Millennium Parklands (Sydney Olympic Park) Peter Walker + Partners, HASSEL, Bruce Mackenzie Design Sydney, Australia 2001

Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park Latz+Partner Duisburg, Germany 2002

Westergasfabriek Culture Park Gustafson-Porter Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2003

Alumnae Valley Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Wellesley College, MA 2006

The Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes Mitchell Nelson Group Silver Valley, ID 2005

Waterfront Toronto: Lower Don Lands Michael Van Valkenburgh Toronto, Canada

Fresh Kills Field Operations Staten Island, NY

Ayalon Park Latz+Partner Tel Aviv, Israel

Union Point Park2004 Oakland, CA

Landscape Architect: PGA Design, Mario Schjetnan

Once a natural tidal wetland, this portion of the Oakland waterfront has since served as home to a number of industrial businesses that left petroleum, pesticides, and industrial solvents in their wake. In 1997 the community initiated a campaign to turn the former industrial site into a park. Success in obtaining the land almost turned to failure when it was discovered that it would take as much as $3 million to remove all the contaminated soil. A new plan to safely encapsulate soils under a large lookout hill within the park saved the project. This lookout hill has become a signature feature of the park that exemplifies the creative use of green remediation.

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Gas Works Park1975 Seattle, WA

Landscape Architect: Richard Haag

Envisioned by Richard Haag, Seattle's award-winning Gas Works Park was one of the earliest remediated sites in which materials of environmental concern were kept onsite and incorporated into the design of the project. A gasification plant occupied this space between 1906 and 1956 leaving hydrocarbons and tar. Were it not for the recycling of much of the plant building and surrounding soils, this project could not have been completed because of the great cost of removal. Moreover, the application of green remediation meant that these vast amounts of recycled material were not contributing to secondary environmental issues. Forming a one-of-a-kind park overlooking Lake Union, Gas Works has become a playground for adults and children alike.

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Thames Barrier Park2000 London, England

Landscape Architect: Patel Taylor, Group Signes

The Thames Barrier region formerly known as Prince Regent's Wharf has an industrial history stretching back over one hundred and thirty years. Industry ranging from petroleum distillation to timber treatment has contributed to the environmental concerns associated with this site. While a few hot spots were off-hauled, the bulk of the materials were simply rearranged to reflect the vision of the design team. This profile was then capped with crushed concrete and a geotextile layer and topped off with imported clean soil to confirm the site's suitability for use. The Thames Barrier Park is a prime example of how materials of environmental concern can not only be recycled, they can form aesthetic features crucial to the design of a project.

Rincon Park2000 San Francisco, CA

Landscape Architect: Office of Cheryl Barton

Rincon Park on the San Francisco waterfront has been the site of saloons, restaurants, boarding houses, stables, storage and warehouse facilities, a vehicle depot, and a railroad. A long commercial and industrial history left this underused waterfront property with low levels of contamination. In 1999 the EPA gave $40,000 of assistance to assess the area in hopes of redeveloping it into a park and two restaurants. GAP, Inc. also donated $2 million toward the redevelopment of the park that now features a Claus Oldenburg sculpture perched atop a mound of capped soil, once an environmental concern.

Millennium Parklands (Sydney Olympic Park)2001 Sydney, Australia

Landscape Architect: Peter Walker + Partners, HASSEL, Bruce Mackenzie Design

This former domestic and industrial landfill contained asbestos, industrial hydrocarbons, acid sulfate soils, and petroleum waste. Peter Walker and Partners found a creative way to recycle and save money by burying the majority of the waste in pits or building it into clay-capped mounds forming the profile of the park. The Millennium Parklands, constructed for the 2000 Sydney Olympics is the largest project of its kind in Australia.

Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park2002 Duisburg, Germany

Landscape Architect: Latz+Partner

Thyssen Steel Works from 1899 to 1985, this site has been exposed to arsenic mud, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. In the early 1990's the Internationale Bauausstellung Emscher Park Initiative held a competition to renew this section of the Ruhr Valley. Landscape Design firm Peter Latz + Partner won the competition and began work designing a landscape park in 1991. Determined to maintain the steelworks as an industrial landmark, Latz incorporated the existing buildings into his design, transforming walls and chimneys into climbing sites and a gasometer into a dive training pool. With one exception, all areas of environmental concern were contained onsite, either buried underground or capped with topsoil. This employment of recycling techniques minimized both environmental and monetary clean-up costs.

Westergasfabriek Culture Park2003 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Landscape Architect: Gustafson-Porter

The site of this culture park was occupied by Amsterdam's largest gasworks from 1885 to 1967. This industrial heritage introduced aromatics, tar compounds, mineral oil, cyanide, and asbestos. Original plans to excavate and remove materials of concern would have cost in excess of 300 million euros. Instead, designer Kathryn Gustafson developed a plan requiring minimal removal by utilizing an asphalt cap contained with sheet piling. Final clean-up costs were reduced to below 15 million euros and secondary environmental issues associated with the transport of such a large volume of material were avoided almost completely.

Alumnae Valley2006 Wellesley College, MA

Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

Winner of an ASLA General Design Award of Excellence, this former parking lot has been transformed into a lush valley landscape. Environmental concerns consisting of lead paint, oil, and coal-tar byproducts were dealt with by a combination of phytoremediation, removal off-site, and burial onsite. This project showcases the creative use of a combination of remediation strategies, working together to minimize costs and maintain a positive environmental balance.

The Trail of the Coeur D'Alenes2005 Silver Valley, ID

Landscape Architect: Mitchell Nelson Group

In the late 1800s major ore discoveries in the Coeur D'Alene mining district led to the development of a railroad line used to transport ore to the smelter. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and zinc were released along the length of the railroad. As a part of a legal settlement, the Union Pacific Railroad Company partnered with the EPA, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, and the Coeur D’Alene tribe to undertake a Rails-to-Trails conversion of this Superfund site. Now, with the rails removed, the paved trail serves a dual purpose as a remedial cap and as a 73-mile bike path. The design also adapted historic structures for trail use. The trail was named winner of the 2006 EPA Region 10 Phoenix Award for achievement of excellence in brownfield redevelopment.

Waterfront Toronto: Lower Don Lands Toronto, Canada

Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh

This industrial port site is being transformed into an urban estuary, designed to renew the area's natural beauty while creating a thriving commercial waterfront. Remnants of the site's industrial history prevail: heavy metals, dioxins, petroleum hydrocarbons, and chlorinated hydrocarbons. These environmental challenges will be bio-metabolized and capped with recycled dredge soils from the harbor.

Video: Sustainable Urban Design on Toronto's Waterfront

Fresh Kills Staten Island, NY

Landscape Architect: Field Operations

Fresh Kills is one of the world's largest domestic landfills and was slated for capping in the late 1990s. Two of four mounds were capped in 1997, but the remaining two were left open for dumping until 2001 when they were filled with excavated material from the September 11 tragedy. Plans to cap the remaining two mounds and turn the entire site into a park and monument for 9/11 are under way. The cap will consist of 5 layers and a landfill gas collection system will be used to generate domestic energy. In this case the use of green remediation will not only prevent the unnecessary expenditure of energy, but will in fact, produce new energy.

Ayalon Park Tel Aviv, Israel

Landscape Architect: Latz+Partner

The site of Israel's largest landfill, Hiriya, is in the process of a large-scale green remediation plan that will transform the 16 million cubic meters of waste into a 30 hectare recycling park. Leachates from the landfill will be cleaned in a constructed wetland and used to irrigate the park; biogas will be transformed into energy; and aggregates from the onsite construction will be used for slope stabilization. Over 60 wells have already been drilled at the site to collect methane and produce environmentally friendly electricity. The park, now under construction thanks to the Baracha Foundation, will eventually incorporate a biological waste treatment plant, a garden waste recycling system, a battery collection facility, a tire recycling facility, a biogas fueling station, and a facility for the treatment and recycling of construction materials.