A proposal to use "algae pontoons" that could capture carbon emissions along urban arteries was declared the winner as the winner of WPA 2.0, a competition sponsored by the UCLA Architecture and Urban Design think tank cityLAB. Riffing off the intentions of the original 1930s Works Progress Administration, the competition looked for ways that public works projects could be reimagined and redefined for the country's future—especially in the light of the $150 billion planned to be allocated to utilities and infrastructure development in the U.S.
"Carbon T.A.P.// Tunnel Algae Park" was designed by PORT Architecture + Urbanism, with offices in Chicago and New York, and works like a carbon-emissions recycling center that creates greenspace at the same time. The pontoons would attract carbon dioxide from cars and other vehicles and use them in bio-fuel production, and the areas containing the algae would be turned into a vast urban park that included wetlands, aquatic and avian habitats and recreational facilities like bike lanes and promenades. The proposal included a plan for implementation as a "algal-architecture" corridor that follows the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel between Brooklyn, Governors Island, and Manhattan, along a route that the city's famous development czar Robert Moses proposed for cars in 1936.
A symposium held at the National Building Museum yesterday featured the presentations of all six finalists and the announcement of the winner. But here's the really exciting part: These finalists are forging a direct link with the government officials who can put their proposals into action since representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Office of Urban Affairs, U.S. General Services Administration's Design Excellence Program, and the National Endowment for the Arts were all present as well. Today, cityLAB will march these proposals up to the Capitol and present them to the various government agencies as future ideas for U.S. infrastructure.