Repurposing Industrial Sites through Temporary Use

Last year, ReadyMade broke the news about the dumpster pools of Brooklyn—a story that quickly grew wings and took off, gathering attention from corners of the mediasphere as varied as the New York Times, BoingBoing, ABC News and NPR. This year Macro-Sea, the company that conceived and built the pools, is back with a new project, a “psychological recycling center” called Glassphemy! (Read the New York Times article about Glassphemy!, here.) And ReadyMade is teaming up with Macro-Sea to sponsor a contest to get our readers involved in the recycling and design process, too.

Not so long ago, in Philadelphia, a meeting of architects and urban planners was convened by the Community Design Collaborative to think of ‘interim uses’ for empty lots around the city. One of the lots in question was always strewn with piles of broken glass. The architects and urban planners furrowed their brows in thought: would it be possible to create a project that would lure people away from their littering ways, converting the lot for more constructive uses?

A plan is powerful. Lines on a page are often the first step towards realizing the transformation of a space, or a neighborhood. The Community Design Collaborative is driven by this idea.

“Design is not a luxury,” explains Executive Director Beth Miller. The organization was founded in 1991 by a group of architects and planners who wanted to improve Philadelphia neighborhoods. For 20 years, the Collaborative has been coordinating pro-bono preliminary design services for community groups, helping them realize their ambitions while offering pragmatic council.…

Infill Philadelphia: Soak it Up

How can the innovative design of green stormwater infrastructure enhance neighborhoods and the city as a whole? The Philadelphia Water Department, Community Design Collaborative, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are partnering to explore that question through will Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up.

This design initiative will feature charrettes, workshops, and exhibition, and a competition to support the adoption, adaptation and implementation of green stormwater infrastructure in the Philadelphia region.

These programs and events will promote the principles and methods outlined in Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia’s innovative 25-year plan to protect and enhance the city’s waterways by managing stormwater primarily through green stormwater infrastructure. Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up will promote design as a key part of the equation for a more sustainable Philadelphia.

The design initiative will:

  • Provide design, construction and development professionals in the Philadelphia region with meaningful, hands-on experiences working with green stormwater infrastructure methodologies that can be applied to their everyday practices.
  • Demonstrate the benefits (economic, environmental, market, etc.) of green stormwater infrastructure to local public officials, developers, design professionals and community organizations.
  • Encourage the greater use of sustainable site design, green stormwater infrastructure, and Low Impact Development.
  • Recognize innovation and creativity in creating high impact design using green stormwater infrastructure and Low Impact Development.
  • Accelerate the process and implementation for three real-life sites.

Philadelphia is a national innovator in stormwater management planning and policy. With Green City, Clean Waters and other plans and policies like Philadelphia 2035, Greenworks Philadelphia, and Green 2015 that have complementary goals, the City is well-positioned to explore the design and aesthetic possibilities of green stormwater infrastructure, improve community well being, change the way we think about infrastructure, and provide national models for American cities.…