American Society of Landscape Architects

  2004 ASLA Professional Awards

Analysis and Planning Award of Merit

Silresim Superfund Redevelopment Study, Lowell, MA
StoSS, Boston, MA
Client: City of Lowell Division of Planning and Development

Displays considerable innovation. . . It is great to see a long-range, phase-in plan. . . Graphics beautifully portrayed for this important plan. . .
           2004 Professional Awards Jury Comments

This project presents a strategy for the social, cultural, environmental, and economic recovery of an existing industrial corridor and highly contaminated Superfund site in Boston. Since the remediation and funding allocation processes are expected to continue for a number of years, the proposal envisions staging events over a period of up to 20 years. These tactics are designed to engage community participation, change public perceptions, generate broad-based interest in the urban landscape, increase political pressure, test proposed methods and strategies on limited sites, and to initiate a longer-term unfolding of improvements and developments. A proposed alternative stormwater processing system, which functions as a new type of ecological infrastructure, establishes a long-term physical framework for this recovery.


Report Cover, with proposed stormwater processing diagram and view. (Photo: Courtesy United States Environmental Protection Agency)

Top: Aerial photo of district, late 1980s, north is to the bottom right. Lowell Connector (highway) is on the right, MBTA tracks cut across center of image. Silresim site is temporarily capped; greenish lawn in top center. East Pond is to the left of it, and River Meadow Brook is to the right. (Photo: Courtesy United States Environmental Protection Agency) Center 3 rows: contemporary photos of district (Photo: StoSS) Bottom: Views of Superfund site during use as legal waste disposal facility; no waste was ever processed. (Photo: Courtesy United States Environmental Protection Agency)

Contamination. The US Environmental Protection Agency has been on site since the late 1970s. A water treatment plant, constructed during the 1980s, pumps and cleans water from the contaminated aquifer, which extends for 16 acres beneath the site and district; it is expected to continue operation for at least 25 years. A viable soil remediation method has yet to be determined; a temporary clay cap has been installed over the cap to protect public health. Diagrams of soil and water contamination invoke a wider set of elements, systems, and issues that broaden the perspective of the study significantlsy beyond the Superfund site. (Photomontage: StoSS; Diagrams: StoSS + TRC Environmental)

Analytical Mappings. Historical mappings (top) depict the site as a very rich and constantly evolving set of environmental and constructed conditions. Mappings of existing infrastructural and hydrological systems, as well as areas of least resistance (paper streets, public rights-of-way, ecological resources, infrastructural corridors, fallow lands, properties in tax arrears, contaminated areas), allow for the emergence of a framework of infrastructural corridors and conduits that take on new roles: ecology, recreation, identity, etc. (Photo: StoSS)

Long-term framework plan envisions a series of new physical infrastructures that re-works and expands circulation, establishes an alternative stormwater processing system, re-makes the image and identity of the site, engages the nearby residential neighborhood and highway corridor, and outlines use zones that can be flexibly developed in small- or large-lot configurations. (Photo: StoSS)

The recovery strategy as timeline. Events and interventions are staged for a period of up to 20 years, accounting for forecasted remediation timelines and funding initiatives; tactics are designed to engaged community participation, to change public perceptions, to generate broad-based interest in the urban landscape, to increase political pressure, and to test proposed methods and strategies. The implementation strategy has five critical components: events, catalysts, scaffolds, incubators, and operational networks. (Photo: StoSS)

Events (0-2 years): temporary and interim events, designed to raise public awareness of the site, its diverse resources, and the clean-up process, as well as to allow participation in the site's recovery. (Photo: StoSS)

Catalysts (0-5 years): interim installations, demolitions, and small-scale constructions that physically re-make the image of the site, thus attracting investor interest, bolstering funding plans and allocations, and initiating other transformations. (Photo: StoSS)

Incubators (2-10 years): small-scale business ventures geared to providing short-term returns but serving as long-term models for or generators of new business expansion and redevelopment. (Photo: StoSS)

Scaffolds (5-20 years): physical infrastructures and frameworks that require significant public and private investment, re-making the circulatory, infrastructural, and ecological foundations of the district. (Photo: StoSS)

Scaffold / Bioremediation Terraces cleanse stormwater from the western half of the district. (Photo: StoSS)
Scaffold / East Pond Water Processing Park cleanse stormwater from eastern half of the district and provides new play fields and civic spaces adjacent to residential neighborhood. (Photo: StoSS)
Scaffold / East Pond Park: sport / bioremediation terraces (top); wetland terraces (bottom). (Photo: StoSS)

Operational Networks (project duration): strategic coalitions of public, private, non-profit, community, and special interest organizations and agencies that change with individual initiatives and lessen the pressure on the city government to single-handedly move the project forward. (Photo: StoSS)
Potential build-out scenarios: implementation phasing (top) and infill development options (bottom). Long-term build-out and implementation depends, in part, on fiscal and funding variables and on the course of short-term events, catalysts, and incubator development. (Photo: StoSS)

Awards Press Release |  Awards Home