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Phytoremediative urban design: Transforming a derelict and polluted harbour area into a green and productive neighbourhood

Wilschut, M., Theuws, P.A.W., Duchhart, I.
Environmental pollution 2013 v.183 pp. 81-88
Noccaea caerulescens, Thlaspi, biomass production, case studies, experimental design, heavy metals, landfills, landscapes, phytoremediation, polluted soils, social benefit, soil remediation, urban areas, urban development, zinc
Many urban areas are polluted by industrial activities and waste disposal in landfills. Since conventional soil remediation techniques are costly and unsustainable, phytoremediation might offer an alternative. In this article, we explore how phytoremediation can be integrated into the transformation of urban post-industrial areas, while improving public space. Buiksloterham, a polluted and deprived industrial area in Amsterdam, serves as case study. Buiksloterham is polluted with heavy metals, with Zinc (Zn) concentrations being the highest. A regression-model for Alpine Pennycress (Thlaspi caerulescens) is used to estimate the time needed to remediate the site. This reveals a conflict in time between remediation and urban development. A research by design experiment shows how to overcome this conflict by dealing with polluted soil innovatively while emphasizing spatial and aesthetic qualities of the phytoremediation plant species. The resulting landscape framework integrates phytoremediation with biomass production and gives new ecological, economic and social value to Buiksloterham.