The Future of American Infrastructure
Re-imagining the visual future of infrastructure in America through the paradigms facing its geographical volume, social problematics and climatic issues.
Papahnaumokuakea Natural Plastic Urbanism
The Papahnaumokuakea Natural Plastic urbanism is a major infrastructure project on the Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument that proposes to expand the coral resources in parallel to cleaning the plastics on the water through active human development. The monument encompasses 583,000 square miles of ocean waters, as well as ten islands and atolls located to the northwest of the Hawaiian Islands. In an effort to conserve the rapidly declining coral reef, and thinning marine life population, the border limit of the exclusive economic zone was extended on 2016, making it one of the world’s largest protected areas. This action has lowered the rapidity of the area’s decline; however, the areas proximity to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and the prominent currents that bring polluted water into the monuments has demonstrated that the area will not recover without intervention, and is in fact still dying. This project functions by creating a loop where the ocean’s plastic pollution is gathered, processed and reused as building material, and as coral farming structures that in turn extend the coral population. This project aims to shift the idea of passive natural conservation, into an active process of natural expansion. At the first stage of the process, thousands of manned trash collection barges would navigate the waters and deposit the plastic back onto the main infrastructural platform; which in turn would house and process the plastic into small plastic bits, and plastic filament to be used as prime matter. This prime matter would be the basis of operations at the site; it would serve as building material for the expansion and creation of more islands, as well as being used by Mechs designed to 3D print structures for coral faming and research. These structures would be semi-mobile islands that continue to grow into the depths of the ocean, until the artificial coral structures blend with the natural one, creating a new underwater landscape that is fueled by the one above. This project would serve the dual purpose of being a research and farming facility that enables the growth of the region, as well as being a destination that exposes the beauty of this untapped resources, not to preserve what little is left, but to promote its growth parallel to humans in a symbiotic relationship between the natural and the plastic.