Why do I think this project is relevant? As you can see in the images below, there are similarities between the Wadi Hanifah project by Moriyama & Teshima, which has just been nominated for an Aga Khan award, and my site: Both are located on the urban periphery of highly populated areas (Wadi Hanifah is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), both are bordered by a busy highway, and both are dealing with issues of polluted land and waterways. The scales and geography may differ (Wadi Hanifah is much larger and the Marsa Open Centre is located adjacent to a port rather than a river) but the situation is quite similar. Moriyama and Teshima used in situ bioremediation at the Wadi Hanifah site where they treated polluted lands on site using methods based on processes that occur naturally in the environment. The Marsa Open Centre is highly polluted both in the water that flows into the harbour and in the ground due tothe (former and existing) industries that surround the site. This pollution clearly has to be addressed in my project in conjunction with the housing/community centre proposal. It is my feeling that healing of land and reconnection with ecosystems goes hand-in-hand with social rehabilitation. I favour an in situ method over removing whatever toxic material may exist in the land and water. This is a much less invasive and energy-intensive method and it also creates opportunities for environmental education along with a sense of ownership. I also believe it would be irresponsible and extremely short-sighted to simply "cover up" or remove the problem (pollution in the ground and water), passing it onto future generations, rather than deal with it in a positive way.
Bioremediation, such as the kind used at Wadi Hanifah, has the potential to both improve the quality of the land around the MOC as well as the lives of the people who use it.
All photos: Moriyama & Teshima Planners except top right (Google Earth)
Drawing source: The Globe and Mail,13/01/2007